Anthony's Film Review
Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls
(Video Game, 1997)
I enjoyed this mysterious, intriguing, and thought-provoking adventure game...
Sierra On-Line definitely knew how to make adventure games, even for titles not part of flagship series such as King's Quest and Space Quest. If you ever see one of Sierra's lesser known adventure games, give it a try. You just might like it. For me, a great example of this experience was when I played Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls. Let me tell you how cool it was.
Shivers 2 is a first-person adventure game set in a mysterious desolate town in Arizona called Cyclone. The story goes like this. A few friends of yours, who are together in a rock band, have traveled to Cyclone to shoot some music videos. While in town, they explore local Native American legends. Pretty soon, they disappear without a trace. When you arrive to find your friends, you find that pretty much the townsfolk are gone as well.
As you explore Cyclone, you learn a couple of things. There is, indeed, some kind of Native American curse present, originating from a canyon just outside of town. You meet the spirit of a woman who explains to you that you must find various prayer sticks, called bahos, and return them to a shrine deep in the canyon. You know nothing about the origin of this curse, but hopefully, you'll find out by the end.
Other than a motel manager you see just once and this woman spirit who pops up now and then, you are all alone. You do learn about the townsfolk from the various places you see, including a food market, a trailer, a house, and a church. It does feel rather lonely to be in a place like Cyclone, which makes getting to know the town's residents a more worthwhile experience. If you explore carefully enough, you can learn about the drama in these people's lives, which may help you solve the mystery of their disappearance.
The puzzles in this game really test your mind. Besides the usual adventure game puzzle involving picking up items to use elsewhere, there are cerebral puzzles, often involving intrically designed locks. These puzzles are medium in their difficulty level. Interestingly enough, you do have assistance from an interesting source in some cases: your musical buddies who just might slip a clue or two into their music videos.
Speaking of music, the soundtrack of this game is just fantastic. It really sets the somber tone of a ghost town. I thought the ambient tunes for the market, the cemetery, the church, the bank, and the auto repair shop were well composed. They definitely give the game a mysterious feel, which enhances the exploration and puzzle-solving you do. There are a few pleasant-sounding tunes to balance it out, like the lovely theme for a house belonging to a woman named Pearl.
Shivers 2 was a game I liked much more than expected. It really took me into a whole new world. Again, don't assume the game is average because it's not part of a major game series. Just rest assured that a top-notch adventure game developer was behind it. Take my word for it. I enjoyed the game a lot. If you want a nice adventure to embark on, pop the Shivers 2 game CD into your computer and dive right in.
For more information about Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.