Mansion of Hidden Souls
|Mansion of Hidden Souls|
North American boxart
Vic Tokai (US)
|Platform(s)||Sega CD, Saturn|
Mansion of Hidden Souls, also called Tale of the Dream Mansion (夢見館の物語 Yumemi Yakata no Monogatari) in Japan, is a point and click adventure video game released for the Sega CD, developed by System Sacom and published by Sega in Japan and by Vic Tokai in the United States. It has a similar format to other puzzle computer games such as Myst, Uninvited and D. It was first released on December 9, 1993 in the United States and on December 10, 1993 in Japan.
One night two siblings—Samantha and Johnathan—come across a butterfly while exploring a grassy field. Enchanted by the butterfly's haunting beauty, Samantha chases after it. Johnathan follows reluctantly, repeating Grandmother's warnings about ghosts who roam the area and turn people into butterflies. The butterfly leads Samantha into the Mansion, where she becomes trapped: as Johnathan, the player must explore the Mansion, overcome several puzzles, and escape with his sister before the pair of them become permanent residents.
While exploring the Mansion, the player encounters several ghosts, who appear in the form of butterflies:
- A pampered young girl. She seems friendly at first, but is actually a conniving brat.
- An Australian butterfly collector. He seems anxious for the boy to become a butterfly and join the collection.
- A painter, who is in a perpetually dreamy, absent-minded state.
- An Eastern European tavern wench. She cackles menacingly and seems amused by the children's predicament.
- A piano-playing southern belle, who longs to touch the keys again.
The gameplay is very similar to that of D: the player travels between areas via 3D pre-rendered first-person full motion video sequences, pressing the action button whenever he finds something of interest. Doing so sometimes reveals an important item, such as a key or matchbox, which is added to his inventory. Also like D, the number of actual puzzles is fairly small: the player spends most of the game exploring the mansion and searching for important items.
The game was met with generally positive reviews. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a 7.6 out of 10, calling it "An interesting first-person perspective game with fluid graphics and great sound effects." Scary Larry of GamePro described it as a solid The 7th Guest clone, especially praising the use of sound effects to enhance the horror.
The Mansion of Hidden Souls, titled Real Dream Mansion: Someone Behind the Door... (真説・夢見館 扉の奥に誰かが・・・ Shinsetsu Yumemi Yakata: Tobira no Oku ni Dareka ga) in Japan, is a sequel for the Sega Saturn. The game was developed by System Sacom and published by Sega, and was released in 1994 in Japan, and in 1995 in North America and Europe.
Compared with the original game, the later Saturn version was met with negative reviews, as critics found it failed to capture the strong qualities of the original despite being on a more powerful system.
According to Sega Saturn Magazine, the Japanese release of the Saturn version "received a rather lukewarm reception". In a later review of the PAL release, they said that though the graphics are considerably improved from the Sega CD version, the game completely fails to pull off the intended spooky atmosphere, and is also far too easy. Scary Larry of GamePro similarly commented that though the Saturn version has better graphics than the Sega CD version, it lacks the tension and eerie atmosphere. In particular, he remarked that the disembodied talking heads of the Saturn version "will make you chuckle instead of cower" and that the music is not as effective. A review in Next Generation was more positive, focusing on the ways in which the game improved the graphics and expanded on the content of the Sega CD original. They concluded "In spite of its shortcomings, Mansion of Hidden Souls remains intriguing and engaging - it's just not a good game for newbies to the genre." Maximum called it "a great-looking game, let down by the linear nature of the adventure".
- Saturn version release data, GameFAQs.com.
- "The Mansion of Hidden Souls Review - St1ka's Retro Corner (Sega Saturn)". YouTube. May 3, 2018.
- "Mansion of Hidden Souls Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (57): 44. April 1994.
- "ProReview: Mansion of Hidden Souls". GamePro. IDG (59): 48. June 1994.
- "Maximum Reviews: Mansion of Hidden Souls". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 147. November 1995.
- "Mansion of Hidden Souls". Next Generation. Imagine Media (12): 177–8. December 1995.
- Hickman, Sam (December 1995). "Review: Mansion of Hidden Souls". Sega Saturn Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 82–83.
- "Mansion of the Hidden Souls". Sega Saturn Magazine. Emap International Limited (1): 18. November 1995.
- "ProReview: Mansion of Hidden Souls". GamePro. IDG (87): 80. December 1995.