7th Guest, released in 1993, is a puzzle/adventure game, its closest relative is probably Myst, which was released a few months later. Unfortunately, 7th Guest is not as timeless as Myst, and the comparison is rather unfair to Myst.
I had high hopes for this game, I remember seeing 7th Guest in the software store windows as a child. I find there to be a bit of a dilemma when rating old games. Should I be lenient in rating because they are old? Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy the game and I feel giving it a higher score because of its age is unfair to other games. So prepare for the details of what utter garbage this game is.
The gameplay consists of travelling to different rooms in the mansion and solving puzzles that eventually unlock new areas with puzzles of their own. There are several problem areas that detract from the game’s enjoyment and playability.
The worst problem with the game is the puzzles themselves, which are extremely boring and repetitive. Most puzzles require brute force work to solve; the solution to most puzzles is simply to keep trying combinations until you get the right one, there is not a lot of reasoning required.
The worst puzzle in the game is a minigame where you must battle the AI that plays a version of “Attax” or “Infection”. In order to beat that particular puzzle, I resorted to writing my own AI. I will admit writing my own AI to solve the puzzle was fun for me, but I’m pretty sure most others would find the puzzle tedious and/or impossible. Some people have posted on various forums that the puzzle has gotten harder over the years because of the advance of computers, giving more CPU power to the AI.
Another example of a terrible puzzle is the maze puzzle, which you should make every effort to cheat at by following youtube videos, because it is a nightmare. It is similar in ways to the Myst rail car puzzle, but with super slow animations and less freedom of movement. The restricted movement makes it so that you have to doubleback on yourself a few times just to be orientated in the correct direction.
This game does have some semblance of a story, however, its extremely cheesy. There are numerous cutscenes with hilariously bad acting and un-hilarious low-brow jokes. Over the course of the game you eventually watch ghosted versions of the previous guests, but you really don’t know if you should be rooting for them or against them.
Bad Game Engine
I’ve decided to stop giving games a separate “technical merit” score and have instead decided to include technical problems and features as part of the gameplay score. That being said, this game loses points due to the slow and semi buggy interface that steps on the playability of the game. There are numerous delays that are unskippable which end up causing you to waste far more time than you ever imagined possible. Theres weird pauses in every minigame and puzzle, odd pauses in movement, unnecessary videos, pauses where the villian insults you, over and over. Saving/loading is slow. Even starting the game takes around a minute.
Overall Score: 40/100
Because of the aforementioned problems and very few redeeming qualities, I am forced to give the game a poor score. Perhaps I would think differently of the game if I played it all those years ago.