Shivers 1995 point and click Adventure abandonware PC game review.
Shivers is a 1995 point and click adventure PC game from Sierra Online. The opening FMV shows us that we're playing as a teenager being dared to spend the night in the spooky haunted museum at the top of the hill.
Abandonware PC game Shivers gives you nothing off the bat. Right from the start the whole of "Professor Windlenot's Museum of the Strange and Unusual" is given to you to explore, and you’ve got one endless night to explore it. By exploring Professor Windlenot’s museum you stumble into the main objective of the Shivers adventure game. 15 years prior, two teenagers broke into the museum just like you, but they accidentally opened up nine clay pots, each one containing an evil spirit called an Ixupi. Since then the museum was condemned and left to rot until you showed up.
For a 1995 PC game, I can’t knock Shivers for story or setting. Sierra On-line never shied away from grisly stuff in their PC games and Shivers fits pretty well into their 1995 horror adventure game catalogue. The spooky museum is actually fairly atmospheric. It’s kinda 90s Goosebumps atmosphere compared to something modern like SOMA.
Shivers PC adventure game plays out in first person, like Myst or The 7th Guest. Shivers feels primitive to be honest. I was never a fan of this kind of gameplay but objectively it doesn’t affect the game. Shivers is a memorable adventure game and a different PC game for that presentation, so fair play. As I was playing Shivers PC game I was struck by how much work this would have been. Shivers is made up of over 2500 hand-drawn paintings which were all scanned in. There’s digital work, blue-screened actors and 3D modelling going on, so you can’t knock the work Sierra put into Shivers PC adventure game. Considering Shivers is running in 640x480 they’ve crammed a lot into those PC game pixels.
The sound and music in Shivers PC were well-received at the time and for good reason. Taking advantage of the CD-ROM format, the music in Shivers PC game is one of the best things about it. All sound and music was undertaken by one guy, Guy Whitmore, who went on to make the music for the Blood games and No-one Lives Forever.
The area that the Shivers abandonware PC game starts to fall down is the game. Shivers's museum is like a maze and moving around gets tedious after a while. You have to revisit the same old places time and again and it's not like you can WASD your way around; you're clicking about 500 million times. I said before that objectively this Myst style doesn’t objectively ruin the game but you’re more aware of the backtracking when you’re clicking a million times.
Shivers puzzles are a mixed bag. Some of them are logical, or you can at least figure them out. But the organ, the harp are absolute garbage. Not all of Shivers PC game puzzles are like this, in fact Resident Evil 3 copied one of them so it shows there’s good in here but even the smallest nugget of poo can ruin even the biggest bowl of ice cream.
To trap the Ixupi you need to find the right clay pot and the right lid, for the right Ixupi. If you have the right pot but the wrong lid, you have to pick which one to carry. The locations of the pots, lids and Ixupi in Shivers abandonware game is random, so you’ve got no clear direction at any point. Once you’ve finally caught one, the process starts again. This is easily one of the, if not the, most tedious gameplay loops in any PC adventure game I’ve played. It's not about hating on old games. I like having to take physical notes, draw little maps etc. it’s part of the old school way of playing retro PC games but the randomness twinned with the tedium in finding your way about got to be too much for us.
If you want to play abandonware Shivers, this PC game is not available on GOG or Steam. Shivers is complete abandonware. You’ll need to track down a physical copy like we did. You can find it on abandonware websites, even then I doubt you'll get it running easily without an old PC. In closing, the Mrs enjoyed Shivers for the nostalgia. We enjoyed playing a PC game together and it was fun to play a game I’d ever even heard of let alone played. If you’re new to PC adventure games there’s two dozen games I’d recommend before Shivers. Still, good for a spookout.