The 11th Hour (video game)
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|The 11th Hour|
CD Cover art
|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 game 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 Game Book delivered by persons unknown to him postmarked Harley, NY.
The game starts 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 the events that preceded it.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 several other disappearances in the Harley area, as well as reporting on a rumoured relationship between Denning and Morales. Worried, but somewhat annoyed, Carl clicks off the television just as the doorbell rings. He receives a mysterious package, inside of which is 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 are shown depicting the blossoming relationship of Denning and Morales, which sours when Morales becomes convinced that her reputation as a producer is being threatened by her closeness to Denning. 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: while he has ghostly visions – which include a young blonde teenage girl, a butler, and the ghost of Martine Burden – and sees brief pictures of Robin in the Gamebook.
Robin investigates a string of murders at Harley-on-the-Hudson over the last few years. At the local diner she meets Eileen Wiley who, while visiting the Staff Mansion, allegedly had her hand chewed off by a dog; Eileen is also the only person to have survived an encounter with the mansion. After the encounter, Robin remains unconvinced of the story. Meanwhile, a young woman named Marie is having a sexual liaison with married businessman Chuck Lynch.
After investigating an old murder scene by the local river, she meets Chief Martin who drives her to Dr. Thorton. Thorton treated Eileen when her hand was wrangled. He reveals that a second girl, Samantha Ford, was also at the mansion that night. Samantha was left paralysed not mentioned in the newspapers due to her parents' considerable influence in the town. It is also revealed that Marie is Eileen's daughter, and Eileen condemns Marie's relationship with Chuck. After Robin runs into Chief Martin again, it is revealed that Chuck Lynch was behind the murder by the river and that he brought the body to the mansion.
Robin meets up with Samantha – now in a wheelchair – who at first brushes Robin off but later on 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 cut 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, on the other hand, proceeded with her pregnancy and delivered Marie, who Samantha describes as pure evil responsible for the recent chaos in Harley. Robin confronts Eileen about the truth and Marie's role in the murders; Eileen disregards her, only for it to be revealed that Marie was listening to the entire 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 Staff.
Chuck then goes to Robin's motel room and accidentally kills Chief Martin who is the bed asleep. He takes the body to the house and is pulled inside. There, he meets Julia Heine who is now under the Stauf's control. Disappointed and finding no more use for him, both Julia and Stauf murder him and sacrifice him to the house.
Robin arrives at the house despite the Samantha's protests. 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 – in the form of her own TV network. Before accepting the offer, she overhears protests from both Carl and Samantha and gives in.
Samantha reveals to Carl via the Gamebook that she was the one helping him. Hearing Robin's cries he follows them upstairs to meet Stauf who presents him a faux game show "Lets Make a Real Deal". He offers Carl $600 or the choice to see whats behind three doors. A large TV is behind door number 2. Marie is behind door number 1 has Marie. As Stauf tempts Carl with Marie's sexual prowess, Samantha appears from the TV warning him to avoid Marie. Finally, Robin is behind door number 3 and conveys her love for Carl. 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 Samantha grudgingly, and as they watch the house burn to the ground through her computer, Samantha reveals Robin was forever lost the moment she made the deal with Stauf.
- Robin: Carl chooses Robyn as Samantha looks on in disappointment. The story flashes forward weeks later, showing Robin watching the news of Carl's body being found in the Hudson River after his disappearance on his honeymoon with Robin. She is now the CEO of Stauf Broadcasting System.
- Marie: Carl chooses Marie, and as the two have sex, Marie morphs into Stauf who then proceeds to eat Carl alive.
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." He gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Arinn Dembo writing for Computer Gaming World gave the game 3 stars. 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.
- "Next Wave: The 11th Hour". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (78): 144–6. January 1996.
- "The Rumor Bag". Computer Gaming World. April 1993. p. 88. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- Keighley, Geoff (22 September 1999). "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Shipping in May". GamePro (IDG) (58): 160. May 1994.
- "The 11th Hour: The Sequel to the 7th Guest". GamePro (IDG) (68): 145. March 1995.
- "The 11th Hour". 27 March 2012. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "Maximum Reviews: 11th Hour". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (3): 159. January 1996.
- Dembo, Arinn; This Old House: The Sequel to 7th Guest Strikes Perilously Close to Midnight, p. 128. Computer Gaming World, Issue 140, March 1996
- K. Thor Jensen. "The 11 Weirdest Game Endings". UGO.com.
- The 11th Hour at MobyGames
- The rise and fall of Trilobyte - Detailed article on the company, including the making of The 11th Hour.
- The 11th Hour at the Internet Movie Database