Game Review: The Haunted House of Hideous Horrors (2002, David Whyld)

You’re a pizza delivery man!  Mr. Desther has ordered a pizza but when you arrives at his house, he tells you that he has a problem with ghosts.  They’re all over his home and he wants you to get rid of them.  And if you don’t get rid of them, he’s not going to give you a tip.  At first, you’re reluctant to get involved but then he offers you £15.  (That’s $18.88 for our American readers.)  You’ll get rid of the ghosts at the risk of your own life and sanity.  And if you don’t do it, Mr. Desther’s pizza is free!

The Haunted House of Hideous Horrors is a short and simple text adventure.  It was designed for ADRIFT 4.0, which is the easiest IF interpreter to program for.  Unfortunately, ADRIFT’s vocabulary is also extremely limited so playing an ADRIFT game can often feel like an extended session of guess-the-verb.  That’s not as much of a problem in The Haunted House of Hideous Horrors as it is in other ADRIFT games.  David Whyld keeps things from getting too complicated or frustrating, though there is one notable moment when you’re told that you’ve entered a room that contains a dead body but, whenever you try to “look body” or “examine corpse,” you get a “There’s no such thing here” message.

There’s only one way to die in this game but you’re given so much advance warning that, if you die, it’ll mostly be due to your lack of reading comprehension.  Once you get used to the natural limitations of the ADRIFT story engine, this is a simple but enjoyable haunted house game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Download the game and, if need be, ADRIFT for free, get in that house, and earn your tip!