"Shoot a video, solve a mystery..."
The fresh new band Trip Cyclone is entering a contest sponsored by the popular ROKTV station. For the summer, they decided to take a trip to a southwestern town called Cyclone to earn some money and shoot their new videos. You were supposed to meet up with them, but you haven't heard from them in a while, and as you suit up and hop on your dirt bike to see what happened, prepare for a mysterious, graphic monument as Sierra once again produces another quality mystery game.
Shivers 2 is an adventure/puzzle-solver that combines the mystery of 7th Guest with the surrealism of Myst. The game is non-linear, meaning you are free to explore the entire town and solve each puzzle in any order you choose (with a few exceptions). Shivers 2 provides a great interface, excellent graphics, and chilling sound effects.
Shivers 2 left me hanging a little when it came down to actual gameplay (a little on the slow side). And since my personal preference in puzzle games is intellectual (Myst), as compared to try-fail-try again (7th Guest), I found most of the puzzles to be boring, repetitive, and solvable simply by luck.
The interface is very good. It's simple, helpful, and doesn't take up too much room: everything it should be. You use your mouse to point and click on hot objects, examine them, and use them. Pretty standard amongst games of this type.
The graphics are truly well done. Each environment is rendered in 3D SVGA graphics, making a stunning fantasy become a reality. Along with great scenes, Shivers 2 also allows you to pan around in each position. Rather than being limited to stationary scenes like Myst and 7th Guest, you are able to look anywhere you choose simply by putting your mouse cursor in the corresponding area on your screen. This feature is a great addition because it requires you to be more alert - you never know what you'll miss if you don't look up...or down.
This game comes complete with an actual audio CD of Trip Cyclone's greatest hits. I'm not one for cheesy rocker music, but the tracks aren't all that bad. The sound effects are very realistic and never repetitive.
While Sierra did an excellent job on all technical aspects of the game (sound, graphics, interface), the plot and gameplay just left me unsatisfied. The puzzles have no relevance whatsoever to the development of the plot, and the town is completely deserted. There is no interaction between characters, just reading personal notes. Since the non-linear nature of the game makes it hard to really develop a plot in the right order, you go almost the entire game with the same information (except when you read a notebook or at the very end).
I was also very disappointed in the endings. Even though there are three possible, two of them are obvious (win, lose), and the other is just kind of stupid. There is no great finale. You just saw the bad guy disappear, and an ending screen saying you won. Hooray for me.
Apart from all criticism, Sierra does deserve a lot of credit in the making of this game. It takes a lot for an adventure game to really keep my attention, and Shivers 2. So for all of you out there who enjoyed 7th Guest or other mystery games, check this game out - I think you'll enjoy it. However, if you're thirsting for a great adventure game before Riven comes out, this is a far cry from the sophistication of Myst.