The 11th Hour (video game)

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The 11th Hour
The 11th Hour Coverart.png
CD Cover art
Developer(s) Trilobyte
Publisher(s) Virgin Interactive
Distributor(s)

Trilobyte

Designer(s) Rob Landeros
Graeme Devine
Artist(s) Robert Stein III
Writer(s) Matthew Costello
David Wheeler
Composer(s) George Sanger
Series The 7th Guest
Engine Groovie[1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X
Release date(s) Windows
  • NA: November 30, 1995
  • EU: 1995
Mac OS
  • NA: January 1, 1996
Genre(s) Interactive movie, puzzle adventure
Mode(s) Single player

The 11th Hour is a 1995 interactive movie puzzle adventure game with a horror setting. It is the sequel to the 1993 game The 7th Guest. It was developed by Trilobyte and used a later version of the "Groovie" graphic engine than that used by The 7th Guest. The 11th Hour also features the music of George "The Fat Man" Sanger and Team Fat.

Gameplay[edit]

Overall, the gameplay is similar to its predecessor's with the same puzzle-based game play structure, but with the additional element of a treasure hunt.[2]

The story takes place 60 years after the events of the first game. It is now 1995 and the player, as Carl Denning, is an investigative reporter for the television series "Case Unsolved." Robin Morales, his producer and lover, has mysteriously vanished while gathering background information surrounding a series of grisly murders and disappearances in the otherwise quiet little town of Harley-on-the-Hudson. Denning's only solid lead is a portable computer called the GameBook delivered by persons unknown to him postmarked Harley, NY.

The gameplay begins when Carl steps into the mansion, with short videos of Robin's investigation and the mystery behind her disappearance viewed from the GameBook throughout the game. Most of the videos are short and vague by themselves. However, once the hour has struck, all the videos accumulated in that hour are strung together to form a ten-minute movie that clears most of the confusion. The plot divides into two unequal parts; Carl's journey around the Stauf Mansion and Robin’s investigation into the events in town.

Story[edit]

The story takes place 60 years after the events of the first game. It is now 1995 and the player, as Carl Denning, is an investigative reporter for the television series "Case Unsolved." Robin Morales, his producer and lover, has mysteriously vanished while gathering background information surrounding a series of grisly murders and disappearances in the otherwise quiet little town of Harley-on-the-Hudson. Denning's only solid lead is a portable computer called the GameBook delivered by persons unknown to him postmarked Harley, NY.

The gameplay begins when Carl steps into the mansion, with short videos of Robin's investigation and the mystery behind her disappearance viewed from the GameBook throughout the game. Most of the videos are short and vague by themselves. However, once the hour has struck, all the videos accumulated in that hour are strung together to form a ten-minute movie that clears most of the confusion. The plot divides into two unequal parts; Carl's journey around the Stauf Mansion and Robin’s investigation into the events in town.

The game opens with the game's protagonist, Carl Denning, watching the evening news. The newscaster reports that police have called off the investigation of Denning's "Case Unsolved" producer, Robin Morales, who was last seen investigating the Stauf Mansion several weeks ago. The reporter suggests that Morales' disappearance may be linked to several recent murders and disappearances in the Harley area, as well as reporting on a rumored relationship between Denning and Morales. Carl clicks off the television just as the doorbell rings. When he goes to the door, he sees a white van drive away, and finds a package on the front porch, which contains the GameBook. Carl sees Robin frantically begging for his help on the GameBook screen, as well as a mysterious looking mansion.

Carl then gets on his motorcycle, apparently heading towards Harley-on-the-Hudson where the mansion is located. While Carl drives, various flashbacks depict the blossoming relationship of Denning and Morales, which sours when Morales becomes convinced that everyone believes she slept with Carl to become his producer. When Carl implies that it’s true, she tearfully ends their relationship. Carl arrives and gains entry to the Stauf Mansion with the help of the GameBook. It is at this point that the two plots split up: with Carl wandering through the house having ghostly visions – which include frightened teenage girls, a butler, and the ghost of Martine Burden – and sees brief pictures of Robin’s investigation in the GameBook.

Robin investigates a string of murders at Harley-on-the-Hudson over the last few years. At the local diner she talks to the waitress Eileen Wiley who, after breaking into the Stauf Mansion one night, allegedly had her hand chewed off by a dog. Eileen is also the only person publicly known to have survived an encounter with the mansion. Robin remains unconvinced of the dog story. Meanwhile, a young woman named Marie is having a sexual liaison with married businessman Chuck Lynch.

After investigating a murder scene by the local river, she meets Chief Martin who warns her to be careful investigating murders when the killer is still at large, and to not wander in the woods in high heels. He mentions Dr. Thornton, who treated Eileen when her hand was mangled, and offers to drive her to his office. During her conversation with the doctor, he reveals that a second girl, Samantha Ford, was also at the mansion that night. Samantha was left paralyzed from the waist down. Her presence was not mentioned in the reports of the incident, due to her parents' considerable influence in the town.

Marie, who is Thornton's nurse, listens to his and Robin's conversation via the intercom. There is a flashback of her having a pseudo-violent sexual encounter with Chuck, where she first threatens him with a straight razor, the closes it and tucks it into his shirt pocket. Marie visits the dinner after hours, to talk to her mother, Eileen. She and Eileen get into an argument over Marie's relationship with Chuck. Robin runs into Chief Martin again, who has brought her a pair of hiking shoes. Another flashback reveals that Chuck Lynch committed the murder by the river, with the straight razor from Marie, and then he brought the body to the mansion and deposited it just inside the front door.

Robin meets up with Samantha – now in a wheelchair - in her home, which has some kind of remote viewing station of the Stauf house. At first she sticks by the cover story about what happened to Eileen’s hand and refuses to talk about the events at the Stauf mansion. But later she visits Robin’s hotel room and tells her the truth. As teens, Eileen and Samantha went to the house to find two missing boys who snuck in on a dare. While there, the girls were attacked and raped by an invisible force which Samantha insists was the house itself. While trying to leave, Eileen caught her hand in the gates to the mansion and the gates ripped the hand off as they closed. Both girls became pregnant, and Samantha – fearing the child what the child would be if born – had a back alley abortion. This resulted in an infection leading to her paralysis.

Eileen was afraid to go through with the abortion, and instead gave birth to Marie. Samantha tells Robin that Marie was always evil, but that since she has turned 18, hell has been unleashed on the valley and she - as the progeny of the house - has been responsible for all the recent violence. Robin confronts Eileen about the truth and Marie's role in the murders; Eileen denies Samantha's story and her accusation about Marie. Marie also eavesdrops on their conversation. That night, Marie pressures Chuck to kill Robin. When he hesitates because Robin is so well-known, Marie asks if he really wants to say "no" to Stauf.

Chuck then goes to Robin's motel room and accidentally kills Chief Martin who is asleep in the bed. When he realizes his mistake, he tries to remove the knife from the chief's chest, to kill Robin, who is in the shower. When he can't extricate the knife he quickly departs with the chief's body and clothes. He takes the body to the house, but this time while he pushing the body through the front door, he is pulled inside. There he meets Julia Heine, who is now under Stauf's control. She and Stauf taunt him briefly with puns about his name and cuts of meat (i.e. Chuck roast) and then Julia attacks him with a cleaver.

Robin arrives at the house and goes inside, despite Samantha's unheard protests from behind her monitors. There, she experiences ghostly visions and hauntings from her past, until she meets Stauf, who reveals that the murders were necessary to feed the house. He offers to fulfill her deepest desire – power, money, and fame. Samantha shows Carl what is happening, and Robin hears Carl shout his protests, but she shows interest when Stauf’s enticements include her own TV network. Samantha reveals herself to Carl via the GameBook, admitting that she was the one trying to help him save Robin, but that Robin is gone and it’s too late to save her.


Carl refuses to give up on Robin and follows her cries upstairs to meet Stauf, who presents with him a faux game show called "Let’s Make a Real Deal". He offers Carl $600, which he can keep; or he can pay $200 a piece to reveal what is behind each of three doors. He first chooses to see what is behind door number two, which turns out to be a large TV. Next he pays to reveal Marie behind door number one. As Stauf tempts Carl with Marie's sexual prowess, Samantha appears on the TV, warning him not to give in to temptation, and to choose her. Finally, Robin is revealed behind door number three and conveys her love for Carl, pleading with him to choose her. Samantha urges Carl that choosing her will end Stauf and the house forever and choosing the others will doom him. The game player's choice affects the ending:

  • Samantha: Carl chooses door number two, reaching out his hand to touch Samantha’s on the TV. A moment later he walks through Samantha’s front door, and as they watch the house burn to the ground on her monitors, Samantha reveals Robin was lost the moment she said yes to Stauf.
  • Robin: Carl chooses Robin, as Samantha looks on in disappointment. The story flashes forward weeks later, to Robin watching the news of Carl's body being found in the Hudson River. The newscaster reports that he disappeared on his honeymoon in Harley-on-the-Hudson, after marrying Robin, who is the new president of the Stauf Broadcasting System.
  • Marie: Samantha and Robin look on, as Carl chooses Marie’s enticements. Marie leads him through the door to another room, and as the two have sex, Marie morphs into Stauf. A Stauf/Marie morphing being then taunts Carl while eating cooked ribs, which they claim belong to Carl.

Release[edit]

Although Trilobyte stated in 1993—even before The 7th Guest's became available—that it planned to release The 11th Hour by October of that year,[3] it was very late to market and failed to meet sales expectations upon its release.[4] Early into its development, a port to the 3DO was planned, and a release date of May 1994 was announced,[5] but it was pushed back to March 1995,[6] and ultimately cancelled.

Trilobyte had confirmed that the game would be released on both the iPhone and iPad platforms. The release for iOS was scheduled for Q2/Q3 2011, but in March 2012 Trilobyte postponed the release indefinitely due to "serious technical challenges".[7]

In April 2012, The 7th Guest: Book of Secrets application for iOS was renamed to just Book of Secrets, and was updated to include a walkthrough and script for The 11th Hour, just as it already had for 7th Guest.

In 2012, The 11th Hour was re-released for Windows, as a download from DotEmu.com and GOG.com.[8][9][10]

On October 18, 2013, it was re-released again on Steam, as part of a collaboration between Trilobyte and Night Dive Studios.[11]

Reception[edit]

Reviews of the game upon initial release were mixed. After extensively praising the game's graphics, challenging puzzles, storyline, and atmosphere, as well as the lower amount of gratuitous gore when compared to The 7th Guest, a reviewer for Maximum concluded "However, the bottom line is that 11th Hour is basically a more advanced version of 7th Guest." He gave it 3 out of 5 stars.[12] Arinn Dembo writing for Computer Gaming World gave the game 3 stars.[13] In 2010, UGO included the game in the article The 11 Weirdest Game Endings.[14]

Awards[edit]

The 11th Hour won the following awards:

  • 1995 New Media Invision Awards - Gold-Games Strategy/Puzzle
  • 1995 New Media Invision Awards - Bronze-Consumer Interactive Movies
  • 1995 International Cindy Competition - Honorable Mention - Consumer Games
  • 1995 CD-ROM Today "Rommie" Awards - Best Graphic Adventure

Development[edit]

The makers of the game originally intended for it to contain more adult content in its cut scenes; the script for the game (published as part of a walk-through guide) included several R-rated sex scenes. Rumors immediately surfaced that an "uncut" version of 11th Hour existed, leading to the game makers announcing that the R-rated sequences, though planned, were never filmed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Game Manual. 1995. p. 35. The 11th Hour: Sequel to the 7th Guest was created using the Groovie authoring system from Trilobyte Inc. 
  2. ^ "Next Wave: The 11th Hour". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (78): 144–6. January 1996. 
  3. ^ "The Rumor Bag". Computer Gaming World. April 1993. p. 88. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Keighley, Geoff (22 September 1999). "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Shipping in May". GamePro. IDG (58): 160. May 1994. 
  6. ^ "The 11th Hour: The Sequel to the 7th Guest". GamePro. IDG (68): 145. March 1995. 
  7. ^ "The 11th Hour". 27 March 2012. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.dotemu.com/en/download-game/2788/the-7th-guest
  9. ^ http://www.dotemu.com/en/download-game/2790/the-11th-hour
  10. ^ http://www.gog.com/en/news/trilobyte_games_joins_list_of_gog_com_partners
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Maximum Reviews: 11th Hour". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (3): 159. January 1996. 
  13. ^ Dembo, Arinn; This Old House: The Sequel to 7th Guest Strikes Perilously Close to Midnight, p. 128. Computer Gaming World, Issue 140, March 1996
  14. ^ K. Thor Jensen. "The 11 Weirdest Game Endings". UGO.com. 

External links[edit]