Game Review: Mystery House Possessed (2005, Emily Short)

Mystery House Possessed is an Interactive Fiction game by Emily Short.  It was one of the first IF games to be developed with Inform 7 and it is a classic of its kind.

Your friend Eulalie has died.  As per her instructions, her greedy heirs will be allowed to enter her house and spend the day searching for where she has hidden her diamond necklace.  However, she has also hidden something in the study and, in her final letter to you, she asked you to retrieve it.  She didn’t specify what it was, only that you would know it when you saw it.  And, Eulalie writes, if you happen to find the necklace, that’s cool too!

When you arrive at Eulalie’s house, her six heirs are already present and preparing to tear up the house in their search for her necklace’s hiding place.  It turns out that one of the heirs is a murderer and, unless you can figure out the killer’s identity, everyone in the house is going to die.  Including you!

What sets Mystery House Possessed apart from other interactive fiction games is the amount of randomization involved.  At the start of every new game, not only is a new killer selected but the location of the necklace changes as well.  The movements of the 6 NPCs also change from game to game and you’ll have to keep track of who has picked up each of the potential weapons that have been left around the house.  You might even have to pick up one of those weapons yourself so that you can be ready if the killer comes after you.

It’s a short game, with a clear goal and time limit.  Because of the heavy randomization, it’s also a game that can played over and over again.  Like almost all of Emily Short’s games, Mystery House Possessed is well-written with a careful attention to detail and challenging without being impossible to win.  If you’ve never played an interactive fiction game before, Mystery House Possessed is a good place to start.


One response to “Game Review: Mystery House Possessed (2005, Emily Short)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/7/19 — 10/13/19 | Through the Shattered Lens

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