Q. When is a game not a game?
A. When it's really an excuse to watch some porn.
I recently stumbled across Ghostly Desires being offered by one of my preferred ebay sellers. It claimed to offer a haunted mansion, seven beautiful women, and a final wish to set them free. The whispy figure on the cover sealed the deal. Being the hopeless game purchaser that I am, I lashed out and acquired it.
I shouldn't have bothered.
Cortland Manor, bordello to the local lads, burned down in the fire of 1911, and the seven women who lived and worked there perished along with it. The manor was rebuilt, but the spirits of the women still inhabit its rooms. You are implored by the madame, Lexiana O'Brien, to set them free by fullfilling their one last ghostly desire.
That's about it for plot, although Lexiana will appear in most locations to fill you in on the particular room and its spirit inhabitant. She will also point you in the direction of the puzzle that needs resolving to access the particular trapped spirit.
Puzzle is putting it a bit high. Given the age of the likely participants, they are more of a short pause. Assemble an 8 piece valentine jigsaw, complete the tune to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, match the 10 or so pairs in a game of concentration. Very mundane and not at all inspiring.
But of course you aren't playing this "game" for the puzzles are you? What you are really after is the ghostly desire that follows.
What could each one be? Perhaps a new life in another city? A kind word and an intelligent conversation? Maybe a night off?
Nope, it's sex.
There is sex in the hot tub, sex at the piano, and sex with the buxom wench that delivers the sushi (interestingly, instead of ringing his mates afterwards, the recipient rings his mother). I can't remember the other three. Three to four minute full motion videos, with lots of heaving and groping and thrusting and flouncing "congratulate" your puzzle solving ability. All accompanied by a little soft mood music.
Your final challenge is to free Lexiana herself. Start by clicking on her clothing piece by piece until it's all gone, and then use your little cursor "hand" to enable her to feel the touch of a man one last time. Do a good job and it's game over.
Lest you be too flustered to be able to remember the tune to Twinkle Twinkle, or too impatient to be bothered, there is a book in the library that automatically solves the last attempted puzzle for you. And lest you need to quickly hide what you are doing, click on the little exclamation mark and the screen is replaced by a fake windows desktop with desktop icons titled "charity gala" and the like. Two little touches that show that the makers were really thinking about their audience.
I could tell you about the graphics in Ghostly Desires, the save game system, the lack of subtitles and all the other things we usually cover in a Quandary review. But why bother? If you intend visiting Cortland Manor, I have already told you all you need to know.
NOTE: 'Certain' screenshots have been omitted from this review as children visit this site. And, no, we won't make them available privately :)
Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2006.
All rights reserved.
Windows 386 processor (486 recommended), 4MB RAM (8MB recommended), 2x CD ROM, 8 bit graphics card (16 bit recommended), 8 bit sound card (16 bit recommended)
(runs on Macintosh also)