Adventure & Mystery
I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream
Harlan Ellison’s short story I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream is now a CD-ROM from Cyberdreams. You play one of five characters (or, ultimately, all of the five) who are captives of the super-computer AM, a metaphor for run-away technology and Satan all wrapped up into one (voiced, with glee, by Mr. Ellison himself). After over 100 years of torture, AM has decided to let his playthings out of their cages to face some ironic challenges. Each character is guilty of some major moral transgression; if you can figure out how to redeem them, you might minimize their suffering in the long run. The program is not far removed from other adventure games in terms of play-action – the customary look, talk, take, give, and walk commands are the essence of your navigation – but it does display a depth of character and theme rarely seen in similar discs. There’s a solid helping of Harlan Ellison’s twisted psyche here, which is definitely not for the faint of heart. Typical Ellison morality: a gigolo descends into the sewer system and becomes the reluctant king of all the abortions that his girlfriends have flushed over the years. That’s from a different story, but you get the idea. One scenario on this disc places a Nazi doctor back in the concentration camp where he conducted his most horrific experiments. The procedure in progress involves a little boy whose eyes have been removed and placed in a jar, then hooked up to his optic nerves via wires. Just picture the scenario involving the Vietnam vet. To reach the end of the game you’ll have to not only immerse yourself in these hideous, morally repugnant characters, but embrace them; only then will you make real progress. I Have No Mouth is a macabre and interesting spin on adventure gaming.
– February 1996