Alright, guys, I want to talk about my favorite game series and why it’s my favorite out of all games I’ve played. I’m talking about the free adventure games created by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw dubbed the John Defoe quadrilogy or Chzo Mythos series.
I love adventure games. Point and Click adventure games were the start of my gaming life as I’m sure it was for plenty of PC gamers out there. To mention a couple of my LucasArts favorites there’s Day of The Tentacle, The Dig (fantastic story, I’ll get back to it another day), Full Throttle, so on..
I found the Chzo Mythos games through one of them many ‘abandonware’ sites out there. While the term ‘abandonware’ is debatable I for one haven’t debated it too much, nor will I debate it here. For the sake of this post that’s irrelevant since these particular games were always available for free. Anyway, I found 5 Days a Stranger in one of these sites and I thought “huh, looks good enough”
I had no idea what I was in for when I started and let me tell you, it blew my mind completely. 5 days is a puzzle game mainly; find stuff and figure out what to do with it, easy peasy. There is only one instance that may lead to death, what would be comparable to a quick time event in a more modern game. Basically you either do the right thing at the right moment or you’re screwed. It’s the only possible death in the game as far as I know. Playing this game to its full potential requires sound to be on and turned up for added creepiness. Checking the TV news each morning and paying attention to paintings on the walls is also a must. It’s not the scariest or goriest of games, but the story intrigued me. So I went looking for the sequel.
I thought 6 Days a Sacrifice was the sequel, because… you know… 5, 6, 7… but no. 7 Days a Skeptic was the sequel to 5 Days and that’s very, very, important. Gladly I poked around the developer’s website before booting up 6 Days and ruining the whole experience for me. It’s important to not touch 6 Days a Sacrifice without playing the previous games or it spoils everything.
7 Days a Skeptic is my least favorite, but also isn’t; it’s complicated. When I first played it my first impression was “Fucking hell, it’s a sci-fi game. I hate sci-fi.”
It is very, very, worth it though. Although this game seems very disconnected from the first; trust that it’s not. The most disturbing feature of this game for me was definitely the EVA suit scenes in which the only sound effect is the character’s own heavy breathing. However, there is plenty of disturbing to go around in this game in comparison to the more tame 5 Days. Unlike 5 Days there is goriness plenty in this game and as a hint to new players; it’s important to talk to everyone and explore the ship well on the first two days. Because after a certain point death will be lurking around every fucking corner. If you don’t know your way around you, my friend, are screwed. That is one thing I didn’t like much about this game too, because I am; as I’ve said many times before, a coward.I don’t like scary deadly stuff coming at me out of nowhere. I’ve died a lot playing this, I won’t lie.
Plot twist at the end though… O.O soo gooood.
I’m fangirling over these games aren’t I? That’s fine. Pretty sure that won’t cost me any readers or anything. >.>
After 7 Days there Trilby’s Notes. Now, Notes is different from the other games and it was the only one I needed a walkthrough to finish, because it’s not point and click; you have to input commands. That was an issue for me and my non-english speaking brain. I remember clearly a bit where I had to pick up a chisel aaand… I had to stand right in front of it and type ‘take chisel’, thing is I had no flipping clue what the word ‘chisel’ meant. So I’m like “fucking hell, what am I’m supposed to…” long story short, I know what a chisel is now. >.>
Despite the difficulties with this new gameplay mechanic, and something that makes colors look all weird on my PC, Notes is my favorite. The game is narrated by Trilby (the protagonist of 5 Days), in journal form, and there are several flashbacks that give further depth to the DeFoe story as well as some other things…
This game as well as 6 Days inspired aspects of my roleplay, of the future RP that I plan on starting once we conclude SOF, and it also influenced some things in my novel which I will not discuss right now, but it has to do with the fact that in the game Trilby’s surroundings inexplicably change from a normal hotel (the setting of this game) to, well… Horrifying shit.
It’s the most complicated game to beat, considering what you have to do to beat it, but it’s the most fascinating of the bunch for sure. The extras from the Deluxe Edition (once upon a time only available through donation to Yahtzee, but later also released for free), also give us the Book of Chzo it is wise to not read this before playing the 4 games of the series, but it is a damn good read.
Then there is 6 Days a Sacrifice. If you played through Notes when you get to this then you might feel rightfully discouraged by that title. The ending of the series was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in storytelling and it left me in awe of how intricate this whole thing was; I had no idea. The story makes no sense on its own, but then it does if you have been playing through this series and picking up on all the details and connections between characters from one game to another. Everything is connected and everything is just a means to a very particular end. From one game to the next everything you’ve done led to this. Yup. There is no ‘good ending’ or ‘bad ending’ to this game. There is just the end.
There is also sex in this game. Not graphic, but still incredibly disturbing sex. I didn’t see that coming when I played for the first time.
What else is there to say really? If you’re a gamer give it a try. I put them up for download on 4Shared and you can get them here. I’ve done this because a) when I recommended this to a friend the download links on Yahtzee’s site were down and b) I needed to do a shitload of fixes to get these to work on Windows 7, the games being a bit old and such; these versions are already fixed and should work okay. The .rar file contains all the games and extras from the Deluxe editions. If you want to play these I suggest you do so in the correct order.
Fully Ramblomatic (Yahtzee’s page) has walkthroughs for all the games in case you guys are curious about the story but don’t really care to waste time trying to figure out wtf to do. 😉
If you want to just see the story and not bother playing at all, the YouTuber Saxcat20 has the best playthroughs of 5 Days and 7 Days, although he is yet to do Notes and 6 Days. Check him out, if you rather.
So that was it for this ramble; check the games out if you want to see exactly what I meant, and see if you don’t agree. If you like them I suggest playing again with Yahtzee’s commentary. It is fun and informative!