Shivers II: Harvest of Souls
Preview by Al Giovetti, 09/22/96
Release: spring 1997
Designer: Marcia Bales
Music: Guy Whitmore
Art: Ron Spiers
Producer: Sierra Online
History: Marcia Bales joined Sierra in 1993 as lead artist and quickly became a designer for Berlitz Live! Spanish and Japanese, Mixed-Up Mother Goose Deluxe, Shivers, and Shivers II. Marcia created storyboard animation for eight years before coming to Sierra, and has worked on Thundarr the Barbarian, Incredible Hulk and Spiderman.
Company line: Welcome to Cyclone, a bizarre little town on the edge of madness in a remote corner of Arizona. It’s not quite a ghost town but hopefully, most of the more despicable characters have disappeared. Unfortunately, so have your friends who were spending the summer here. Vanished without a trace while their band was making some rock videos.
However, still roaming through the empty streets is a masked figure who calls himself Darkcloud. This faceless creature, who preys on everyone’s fears including yours, has been tormenting the town for years. Is this Darkcloud possessed by some evil spirit or is he one of the desperate townfolk you come across in your search for your friends? Or perhaps, Darkcloud is a witch doctor, haunting your every move, leaving messages and puzzles through kachinas -- spirit messengers of Native-Americans.
As you hunt for your comrades, you twist and turn through the game, finding clues to their whereabouts almost everywhere, including in rock videos. But beware. Searching for clues may divert your attention from the danger that lurks underfoot and in murky corners. You can die, you know.
If you’re afraid to venture out alone, we’ve thrown in a ghost dressed in white (what else?) who really tries to help but is twisted enough to sometimes lead you into trouble - deadly trouble.
Sound interesting yet? We’ll be waiting for you at the town limits.
The ultra-realistic, high resolution Shivers sold well for Sierra and became an immediate series, joining the ranks of Liesure Suit Larry, King’s Quest, and others.
Plot: You take the role of one member of a newly formed rock band is spending the summer months in the small Arizona town of Cyclone filming their first music video. You were supposed to meet your pals in the town, but they are no where to be found, and the town is very small. Cyclone has reported a lot of disappearances, the road is blocked into the town by an avalanche stranding the inhabitants , and the long distance phone lines are cut. It is shaping up to be another wasted summer stuck in a hick town with nothing to do and no one to do it with.
The plot is thick with Pueblo Indian lore, insurance scams, MTV, and other story icons. Kachinas, native American spirits, provide the game player with numerous puzzles to solve in order to rescue your friends and the town's inhabitants.
Game play: You wander around town, solve puzzles which include cyphers and codes, and fight the evil in this world. The town has an underground tunnel system (just like Disneyland? - Ed.) and an ancient canyon with coyotes and mystical ancient Indian rock paintings. The movement will involve full freedom in the high-resolution 360 degree game engine.
The inventory has been expanded beyond the original ridiculous one item to an infinite number. Also added due to the clamor of fan ire, was an automatic mapping system, and automatic travel map rolled into one, which will allow game players to move from one place to another without walking all over the environment which is a definite no-no in adventure games.
Puzzles: With the advent of the expanded inventory, more treasure hunt type puzzles can be accommodated for those who like to find items and use them at the appropriate time and place to advance the plot. The game will employ puzzles that require you to decipher and analyze song lyrics and videos to solve them. There are over 50 puzzles that add to the tension of the game.
Graphics: There are a lot of greens, blues, purples and oranges in this strange town. The weird colors paint the surfaces of the ultra realistic three dimensional scenes. There is an abundance of death icons such as hangmen’s trees and penticles.
Music score: Guy Whitmore is working on a Rock and Role musical score that will actually play a role in the game in contrast to the casper milk toast music from the previous game.
Sound effects: "Dynamic sound" is a three dimensional sound that allows you to locate sound as you would in the real world.
Utilities: Automatic travel is supported by a map that allows you to jump from place to place. Automatic notetaking is not supported, but you can use "flashback" to go back and get what you missed.
Multi-player: Chat with others online as you play the game and rearrange puzzles in the game to challenge other online players.
Cheats, Hints, and Walkthroughs:
Future plans: A Shivers III is planned.
Cindy Yans, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 48.
Glenn Broderick, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, March, 1997, pg. 40.
Interaction, summer, 1996, pg. 94
Interaction, spring, 1996, pg. 66-67