Review by Alfred Giovetti
Price: $55
Release: August 1996
Genre: 3-D Animated Adventure
Developer: Sierra
Music: Brian Min
Programmer: Sean Mooney
Producer: Oliver Brelsford
Designer and Writer: Jon Bock
Artist: Jon Bock
Publisher: Sierra Online, P.O. Box 53008, Bellevue, WA 98015-3008
Phone: 800-757-7707
requirements: Windows 95, 486 DX, 66MHz, 12 MB RAM, Windows 3.11 or DOS 5.0, mouse, 2X CD ROM drive, 20 MB free hard drive space (Recommended: Pentium, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD ROM)

Introduction: To call a game Myst-like has become a meaningless cliché, but Lighthouse is clearly Sierra's answer to Myst. How can you describe a game that still rates in the top ten after over 2 years of sales? Myst defies all records since it still sells in the tens of thousands of games each month.

Lighthouse uses the same clarity of image and great careful artistic locations to explore and experience that we saw in Myst. Add into the wonderful mix a group of fascinating and interesting mechanical contrivances and you see where Lighthouse goes beyond the original Myst concept.

Plot: The plot has that familiar ring. The protagonist has sought out the solitude and quiet of the mysterious and foggy Oregon coast, and soon finds him or herself embroiled in solving a heinous crime. This time the unspeakable crime is the kidnapping of an adorable and spectacularly rendered baby girl named Amanda. Our first knowledge of Amanda comes when we are asked to baby sit the daughter of a Dr. Jeremiah Krick, who has opened a portal leading to another world

And of course you must solve the mystery, enter an alien parallel world and save the girl from the evil villain's clutches and foil his nefarious plans to . . . Well, hopefully we all will know the plot and like it later in the game.

Inerface: The compass arrow shows your direction of travel. Access the inventory by clicking on the bag icon then on the item you wish to remove from the bag. The selected item becomes the cursor. The control panel is activated by the lighthouse icon in the lower left screen, where you can save, restore, quit, start a game, or select language preference. (My daughter who is studying French was practicing playing the game in French to help her studies - Ed.)

Graphics: The graphics were rendered on Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) computers with Autodesk 3D Studio, Lightwave, and Alias Animator. Graphics and animations show the same ultra detailed three-dimensional (3-D) renderings and character animations that one would expect from a Myst killer. The Biovision motion capture unit, filmed motion capture cyber-actor, Donald "Kosmo" Hom for the motion capture animation. The graphics have a moody and surreal feel to them.

Voice actors: The dark being is played by Kerrigan Mahan, the computer and French editor by Marc Eckelberry, Dr. Krick by Phil Proctor, Liryl by Romy Cutler-Lengyel, Mom by Leigh French, Editor by Andy Goldberg. There are three sets of voice actors who act out the four voice parts in the game in English, French and German.

Jon Bock, who is the producer of Lighthouse, has worked with Sierra since 1989 on projects such as Space Quest 6, Outpost, Phantasmagoria, and King's Quest 7. Bock also has 18 years experience in art, film, video, computer graphics, and game design and two degrees in art and film production. In many ways, Lighthouse resembles worlds created by science fiction writers Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and others who Bock reads avidly.

Puzzles: Puzzles range from physical puzzles like restoring power to the house, operating strange vehicles and machines, and using tools, to brain teasers. The puzzles are woven into the story in the same style that Sierra game players are used to. Meaning that the puzzles logically fit into the story. The puzzles also have multiple solutions which is a welcome change from most puzzle games that only have one solution.

There are many endings and paths to those endings. There are often multiple solutions to the same problem. The amount of replayability of the game is enhanced by this approach.

Music: The original unique music score, scripting and recording is set to add to the mystery, suspense and alien-ness of the game. Lighthouse comes on two CDs and is reported to be more difficult than Myst.

Sound effects: The hinges creak and the birdman shrieks and a whole world of other equally stunning sounds.

Help: A very short 20 page manual helps to assist in game navigation, but we found the manual to be far to cryptic.

Hints: Read all papers picked up in the game, especially the Doctor's Journal pages found in the Doctor's house.

Use fresh fish to distract the monster guard at the fortress long enough for you to gain entry.

Message from Jon: Al, I quickly added a few changes to your text for accuracy, I hope this helps. Erik Twelker has access to screen shots, and a 1.5 minute computer animated trailer on NTSC video that you may want to show on your TV show. Thanks for your interest, Jon Bock

Al: Jon, we certainly expect to cover your lovely product on the television show. And thanks for the hand, Al

Preview references
InterAction, Summer, 1996, pg. 18-21.
Brian Workman,
Julie Gordon, Computer Player, volume 3, number 7, December, 1996, pg. 74, (70%).
Jason D'Aprile, PC Games, volume 3, number 12, December, 1996, pg. 126, 78%.