The 11th Hour (video game)
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|The 11th Hour|
CD Cover art
|Publisher(s)||Virgin Interactive Entertainment|
|Artist(s)||Robert Stein III|
|Series||The 7th Guest|
|Genre(s)||Interactive movie, puzzle adventure|
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.
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.
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.
Robin investigates a string of murders at Harley-on-the-Hudson over the last few years. She tals with Eileen Wiley, who was the only person publicly known to have survived an encounter with the mansion, but at the cost of her hand. Next she talks with Chief Martin and his acquaintances and finally the wheelchair bound Samantha, who reveals the sinister nature of Stauf mansion. Something had raped Samantha and Eileen when they snuck inside as teens and made them pregnant. Samantha had a back alley abortion, while Eileen could not bring herself to do it. Her evil child Marie and Thornton's nurse was behind all the recent violence.
Hearing about Robin's activities, Marie pressures her husband Chuck Lynch to murder Robin. Instead Chuck kills Chief Martin by mistake. He takes all the evidence away to the mansion, but is attacked by Julia Heine who is possessed by Stauf. Robin ventures into the mansion, where she experienced ghostly visions and hauntings from her past, until she meets Stauf, who revealed that the murders were necessary to feed the house. Robin gives in to Stauf's enticement and is taken control of.
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.
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, it was very late to market and failed to meet sales expectations upon its release. Early into its development, a port to the 3DO was planned, and a release date of May 1994 was announced, but it was pushed back to March 1995, 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".
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.
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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." A reviewer for Next Generation also found the game much too similar to its predecessor, particularly as he considered the entire genre of puzzle adventures to be a waste of time. He also criticized that the game has long load times except when running on high-end computers. Arinn Dembo reviewed the game for Computer Gaming World. In 2010, UGO included the game in the article The 11 Weirdest Game Endings.
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
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.
- Game Manual. 1995. p. 35.
The 11th Hour: Sequel to the 7th Guest was created using the Groovie authoring system from Trilobyte Inc.
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- Dembo, Arinn; This Old House: The Sequel to 7th Guest Strikes Perilously Close to Midnight, p. 128. Computer Gaming World, Issue 140, March 1996
- "Maximum Reviews: 11th Hour". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. No. 3. Emap International Limited. January 1996. p. 159.
- "About Time". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 92.
- K. Thor Jensen. "The 11 Weirdest Game Endings". UGO.com. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08.
- Poole, Stephen (1996). "Vaporware Hall of Shame". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997.