Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Uninvited (1991)

Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Developer: ICOM Simulations Inc.

Through the late 80s and early 90s, Kemco-Seika were kind enough to port three of their notable point and click adventures to the NES. Uninvited was my favorite as a child and I’d argue that it remains the best realized of the lot. Modern gamers may find adventure games of this vintage to be incredibly hokey and/or frustrating but this one still oozes atmosphere if you can let yourself succumb to its charms. The potential for dead stops is certainly present, but I have to give Uninvited credit for its non-damning drop system. Attempting to drop items in the designated locations allows you to pare down your inventory to only the most essential items.

In veeeery loose terms, Uninvited is the Resident Evil of this trilogy. You’re trying to find your sister after crashing your car in front of a foreboding mansion. That’s all you’re getting out of me. The presentation is competent, if bare-bones, and is carried along by a wonderful sense of humor that is present not only in flavor text but also some of the puzzle solutions and item placements. There’s even an easter egg for another Kemco game!

On the music front, two of the tracks are among the funkiest and best I’ve heard on the NES. Mega Man caliber. The nothing’s-going-on tunes are perfectly serviceable, but some of the danger cues can be annoying as fuck if you let them grate on long enough.

There was one major thing that impeded my enjoyment of the second half of the game. I’m not going to tell you what it is, though, because upon completion I discovered it was a result of my own stupidity. The great thing is that the problem in question was made tolerable by the game’s insanely convenient continue mechanic. You will always continue one screen back from where you met your untimely demise. Nothing is lost beyond a few clicks worth of work, no matter what befalls you. You only need worry about saving when you want to end a session.

I can’t recommend this game to everyone, but I can absolutely recommend it to anyone with the patience and imagination this genre necessitated at the time. Kemco’s works may not be as beloved as many of Sierra’s ambitious endeavors, but they have a very special place in my heart (and on my wall), regardless.

Buyer’s Guide: Available on Apple IIGS, Mac, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amiga, NES, Famicom, PC (DOS and WIndows), and Windows Mobile (Pocket PC).

4 Seemingly Useful Fruit Bowls out of 5

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