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Hey all! Long time no posting! I am still checking the forums regularly, but I was lacking of interesting things to post, until now. I was thinking about Halloween that is coming soon, and when I looked at some decorations, I said to myself : "Hey! Some stuff in Sierra games are scarier than that!". When I was still playing them for the first time, I found some of the scenes or pictures pretty frightening for a pixelized game. Sierra's artists did a pretty good job at that. Jump scares were pretty common in some of the games, and sometimes in the night, I was imagining the death state of Roger, in the state where I left him, haunting me, especially for some games like Space Quest I VGA. So the question that I have for you is : what is, of your point of view, the scariest scenes among all Sierra games, not just Space Quest, and I'll start with my top 3...

 

Number 1 : In King's Quest V, the death music is really well done, but the ways to die aren't all that scary, except for one : the Innkeeper always creeped me out in that game. "Don't worry Graham, the Innkeeper will soon take care of your misery." Gosh, I always found him creepy, but he became even creepier when I found this video, where someone hacked the game animation to reinplement the unused Innkeeper death animation : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJZ4Z1cEEI. I can see why this got removed from the game : it is the scariest pixelised animation I have ever seen in a Sierra game, period.

 

Number 2 : The zombie in Space Quest IV, without a doubt. "GHIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!". I was not used to the "newer" sound effects, and this totally suprised me the first time when this creature came to me with his skeletic face, eyelids maintained open permanently, and screams at the screen. Next thing I know, I'm dead, and the statement that recently appeared in a recent topic about it being future Roger is making it even more morbid.

 

Number 3 : It was hard to decide, but I think my number 3 is the little animation at the end of the transmission between the Eureka and the Goliath in Space Quest V, where it shows Quirk after he turned into a Pukoid, with the creepy sound effect too. I think overall, from my opinion, Space Quest V is the scariest Space Quest game. The Pukoid affair is really morbid, and Genetix just reminds me of the genetic manipulations in today's life.

 

So that's my top 3, I hope to see your feedback soon and see what's the scariest scenes in Sierra games from your point of view. Stay tuned!

 

BlockMaster

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I wholeheartedly agree on SQ5 being pretty creepy stuff in places. The brief sequence on Clorox II is particularly memorable. I'm repeating myself here, but it's amazing how a comedy game somehow manages to do horror better than most horror games. The deserted colony, the foreboding music... the whole place just oozes eerie. Also, props to the makers for introducing the "Oh God, we're getting slaughtered!"-logs as a horror element some time before System Shock made those fashionable!

 

Come to think of it, this may be one of the reasons why SQ5 might be my favourite: If you took the comedy out of the game, you'd still have a pretty exciting, pulpy space adventure with some heavy horror undertones. But as it stands, the tense parts and the comedy work excellently off each other - the jokes are just that more funny when they also serve to relieve the tension.

 

 

As for other scary Sierra stuff: There's obviously the original Gabriel Knight. That had a bunch of good stuff in it (the ending and the deaths of various side characters are pretty memorable).

 

The Manhunter games had some icky EGA-close ups of corpses.

 

Then there are the Phantasmagoria games. The first one is at its scariest when it's being subtle (the best part about it is exploring the house every day to see what has changed) instead of being gross.

 

The second one is actually quite chilling as long as it's about some Joe Schmo who is gradually loosing his grip on reality. Unfortunately, the game goes d6p6e.gif about halfway through by introducing some truly demented sci-fi-shit. It could've been so much better...

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Number 1 : In King's Quest V, the death music is really well done, but the ways to die aren't all that scary, except for one : the Innkeeper always creeped me out in that game. "Don't worry Graham, the Innkeeper will soon take care of your misery." Gosh, I always found him creepy, but he became even creepier when I found this video, where someone hacked the game animation to reinplement the unused Innkeeper death animation : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJZ4Z1cEEI. I can see why this got removed from the game : it is the scariest pixelised animation I have ever seen in a Sierra game, period.

Mother Mary and Joseph! I just laughed out loud at that. That is brilliant. I'd heard about it, but I've never seen it until now. That face is some twisted shit for sure.

 

I don't know if it's "scary" as such, but the alternate Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers ending which plays out if you forget to summon Mosely to the voodoo hounfour is incredibly disturbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hoVRI1MG4I. Dr. John practically bashes Grace's skull in. This was the first ending I got when I played the game, and I don't think I'm alone in that regard. It's really easy to get to the hounfour without alerting Mosely. Something is just off about the way this version of the scene plays out. The game has some pretty grim moments, but few of them compare to DJ destroying Grace's head with one single punch. And that relentless chanting...

 

And, of course, when speaking about Gabriel Knight, there's no ignoring this classic moment from The Beast Within: http://youtu.be/i-Gis_JqFRU?t=9m57s

 

In the third place, from the beginning of Police Quest 4, we have the most depressing dumpster of all time, coupled with the very effective sound of an AdLib card throwing up: http://youtu.be/U-G7C48efH0?t=5m38s.

 

Yeah, now that you mention it, Sierra did have some truly scary/disturbing moments. Looking forward to the ensuing discussion  :D

 

EDIT: I have decided to change my avatar so you can all get to enjoy it several times a day, and my signature because I thought it was a nice fit. Enjoy.

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I never thought making a topic about this would lead to a profile change.  ;) btw, the Gabriel Knight parts were not so bad for me, but the Police Quest dumpster, gosh. If the image is not frightening enough, the sound does the job.

 

You're right Fronzel about Klorox II. It's not really "scary", but the morbid atmosphere is one of the bests in Space Quest games. Especially with the computer logs.

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You're right Fronzel about Klorox II. It's not really "scary", but the morbid atmosphere is one of the bests in Space Quest games. Especially with the computer logs.

 

The Klorox II sequence is definitely a great little piece of sci-fi horror. And the same music lends an equally foreboding atmosphere to the early scenes on Thrakus.

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I feel for me that most of the scary scenes in Sierra games aren't necessarily jump out and freak you out, but rather moody suspensefulness. I agree that Klorox II definitely gave me that feeling...the fact that I didn't know what was coming or what to expect at any point...It definitely gave me the heebity jeebities. Xenon in SQXII is another great example. And although there's nothing really scary that happens, I still remember the first time I wandered around the mansion grounds in The Colonel's Bequest...the mood and coloring are really quite perfect! Phantasmgoria had a few scenes that gave off that vibe, but for the most part, the game is pretty foolproof from dying until the very end.

 

Manannan in King's Quest III used to always freak me out, especially because as a kid I didn't know he was on a timer, which made his appearances all the more frightening for me. I was also afraid of the Dark Forest in King's Quest V as a kid as well. Absolutely most TERRIFYING part for me as a kid (to the point that I would beg my mom or sister to play through that part) was the Troll's cave in King's Quest IV.

 

But hands down, for  me, the only time I distinctly remember jumping and freaking out in a Sierra game as an adult was Shivers. Towards the beginning of the game, you find yourself in a situation where you get attacked by one of the Ixupi, but at the time you really don't know what an Ixupi is or where they reside...It literally jumps out at you with no warning whatsoever. Needless to say, that freaked me out (even though the Ixupi itself is cartoonish and not all that scary...just wasn't expecting it).  Throughout the game afterwards, whenever you're near an Ixupi, this creepy music starts to play, and you get that "Oh crap" feeling and quickly click out of the screen as fast as you can. It's akin to being on a screen in the King's Quest games and all of a sudden the witch or the dwarf or a shark is there. Or the Sariens on the Arcada at the beginning of SQI. You're like "Oh crap...get me off this screen ASAP!!!!"

 

Talk to you later!

 

JDHJANUS

Josh

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I will definitely second (third? fourth?) the Klorox II mood in SQ5. The music had a lot to do with it, but also the desolation and the foreboding realization that something awful happened here. And then that guy's head just silently retreats in the corner, just as you enter the greenhouse. Wow.

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SQXII was always scary. I was terrified of the slime, despite the whimsical music, just from the mere fact that I had to get out of its way. This was back on a Tandy 1000 so Roger had to be just as slow as the slime. The suspense of running away was too much. Also, the escape pod robot and the kissing alien from SQ2.

 

In King's Quest, I was always terrified to enter the dark forest screens from the KQ1 remake where the enchanter, ogre, dwarf, and wolf could show up. To this day I avoid those screens because of that childhood fear.

 

To be honest, most of my childhood fears of scenes in video games had to do with being afraid of what would happen and me not being able to handle it (ie- being fast enough or smart enough) moreso than how scary it LOOKED. I'm not afraid of games that I understand in an out.

 

 

....except for the Marine campaign in Aliens VS Predator...I am terrified of that game.

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I agree with most of the Space Quest scenes mentioned.

 

Quest for Glory has some scary stuff, whether you're wandering around at night, sneaking into a house for a burglary, visiting graveyards or tombs, or getting embraced by naked ladies who pull you down and drown you.

 

There's another argument for death in an adventure game: Is it possible to be scary without death? Can anybody think of any scary LucasArts scenes?

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Yeah, walking into any graveyard, especially in QFG, puts my nerves on red alert. I remember the first time I played Colonel's Bequest. As soon I walked into the graveyard a ghost appeared and I just turned tail and ran. After I saved and went back, she wasn't there, nor could I make her reappear. I got spooked by an easter egg.

 

Can anybody think of any scary LucasArts scenes?

 "Day of the Tentacle" creeped me out at first because it was first LEC game I played and didn't know it was death-free. So thanks to growing up with Sierra games, I had a half-expectation that I might get slaughtered by random guests in the motel. Otherwise, LEC isn't too big on terror. I remember a few creepy scenes from "LOOM" and "Grim Fandango", but that was more atmosphere than anything.

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There's another argument for death in an adventure game: Is it possible to be scary without death? Can anybody think of any scary LucasArts scenes?

I'm a big supporter of deaths, as most of you may know, and this is one of the primary reasons. The only LA game I was scared of was Maniac Mansion. It freaked me out when Ed went downstairs to get a snack from the fridge and I was in the kitchen. I was about 5 or 6 and I had already been playing Sierra games before that. I stopped playing immediately after that point lol. My dad just laughed at me. And the dialog was all campy and everything. So no matter how much they tried to play it down, I was still terrified because of what would happen to my character. And it was a real fear because it's possible to fail in Maniac Mansion if all your characters get thrown in the dungeon, right?

 

Sadly, they did away with that because, according to Ron Gilbert's philosophy, it's "bad game design".

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This could be one of the best arguments for death scenes in games. What would a Hitchcock or any thriller, suspense, film noir, horror movie be if there was never any threat of death. Or really a majority of the film genres. A death free/unlosable game is like being a toddler playing a game with a parent who always lets the child win. Possibly fun for the child, but boring for anyone else.

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I agree to a certain extent. But if Hitchcock had worked with death the way Sierra often did, Janet Leigh would just have tripped and hit her head in the shower.

 

Jane Jensen tended to do death the right way. In KQ6, GK1 and GK2, death always adds to the tension and never feels totally unfair the way King Graham's fabulous five-inch falls do.

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I agree to a certain extent. But if Hitchcock had worked with death the way Sierra often did, Janet Leigh would just have tripped and hit her head in the shower.

I refute this. She'd die by falling in the shower if she didn't take precautions first, like installing anti-slip pads in the shower. I submit that every death in a Sierra game is reasonable and has a purpose. Whether they're annoying or not is another matter.

 

Jane Jensen tended to do death the right way. In KQ6, GK1 and GK2, death always adds to the tension and never feels totally unfair the way King Graham's fabulous five-inch falls do.

I've already refuted this before. :)

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But it's not even her own shower! If you make her carry around anti-slip mats to use in random motels, the "Psycho" title suddenly refers to someone other than Mr. Bates.

 

As far as I'm considered, you didn't exactly refute it. You merely pointed out that Roberta wasn't as insane around the KQ1SCI time as she was when KQ5 happened a short time later ;) I do agree with you and Collector that hours of fun can be had by falling out of that tree, though, speaking of "Psycho"!

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I think you can definitely do creepy/scary without death. The game Serena, for example, definitely gave me some serious creepy vibes the first time I played it (and this was when the game was still incomplete in the beta stage!)

 

I was also severely freaked out by Ben Croshaw's Chzo Mythos series, and although you can die in those games, you basically go back to right before you die (like in the Manhunter series). Nevertheless, the first time that the hotel transitions to the "other world" in Trilby's Notes, I freaked out (I was playing the game at night with the lights out, so that probably didn't help).

 

Another good example - after hearing about the game Amnesia from Frederik on the Back Seat Designers podcast, I watched a YouTube video of the first 20 minutes or so. Even though none of the creatures that CAN kill you in that game attacked the player character in the time that I watched, I was DEFINITELY creeped out by it.

 

While death definitely adds a level of suspense to fear, you can still use the sense of dread to evoke fear in a player's mind by playing with their heads...Making them *think* there's something there when there's actually not. I mean, even though haunted houses are obviously fake, there's a willing suspension of disbelief that you have to have upon entering to enjoy the experience. Of course there's no one in there REALLY going to hurt you, but if done well, it can still seriously freak you out.

 

In the same way, if you take a game that uses the environment to evoke a sense that something *might* come out and attack you, whether or not you're actually in any danger, you can still seriously freak the player out.

 

Brandon - I played Maniac Mansion as an adult (just a couple of months ago), and those scenes you mentioned still seriously freaked me out in the same way!!! :)

 

Talk to you later!

 

JDHJANUS

Josh

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There's a difference between creepiness and fear. The latter I attribute to failing the game as well as tension/suspense/fright. I'm just not afraid of a game I can't fail in. It can be creepy and tense, but I'm not truly afraid. It affects me differently, personally. This is more subjective, of course. I was not afraid of anything in an LA adventure game. Granted, they're usually geared more towards comedy, but still...if there WERE deaths, I'd be more drawn into an atmosphere like the final areas of Fate of Atlantis (which was already very potent and enthralling!). Also, I know you CAN die in that game, but only from fighting sequences, which you can safely avoid throughout the entire game.

 

But it's not even her own shower! If you make her carry around anti-slip mats to use in random motels, the "Psycho" title suddenly refers to someone other than Mr. Bates.

 

That's why it's a movie and not an adventure game. Picking up everything not nailed down, being over-cautious, and over-preparing oneself is part of the adventure package, in my humble opinion.

 

As far as I'm considered, you didn't exactly refute it. You merely pointed out that Roberta wasn't as insane around the KQ1SCI time as she was when KQ5 happened a short time later ;) I do agree with you and Collector that hours of fun can be had by falling out of that tree, though, speaking of "Psycho"!

Ah but the popular qualms with KQ5 are not with the deaths but the dead ends. I don't have a problem with any of the deaths in KQ5. None as annoying as falling off stairs in an AGI game, anyway. Which, btw, wasn't that common. Walking puzzles existed in AGI games (only in certain places) due to the control method (keyboard arrows). It was a feature to make up for lack of much else that couldn't be done in terms of obstacles to overcome on such a limited engine. When SCI was developed and the mouse-driven interface took over, the other ehancements to the interpreter allowed for other more interesting obstacles, negating the need for such antiquated methods of prolonging game time. KQ1 is a very short game. It's a three-part treasure hunt. That's all that they could do back then. There wasn't room (figuratively and literally) for anything more. As time went on they got more daring (KQ3 was on 3 disks instead of 2, KQ4AGI was on like 5 disks or something instead of 3) until they outgrew the engine entirely and developed something new that they could accommodate their new designs with, as well as the industry/consumer quality expectations and the ongoing technological advances in storage mediums which allowed for bigger games than before.

 

So, walking puzzles, while annoying, were necessary to draw out the game length because, well, there wasn't much else to do. Yes, somebody made an almost complete remake of KQ6 in AGI, but I guarantee you that probably wouldn't fit on even 5 floppy disks. Also, I'm pretty sure that, as a particularly advanced fangame, you probably need to run it in a modern fan-made AGI interpreter. SQ0, for instance, takes liberties that the original DOS AGI interpreter can't cope with and so can't be run in DOS at all.

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