vicrabb's 6 Days a Sacrifice Review
The Chzo Mythos
In 1993, Trilby, a gentleman thief, was escaping DeFoe Manor, a mansion haunted by a murderous spirit he called John DeFoe. He destroyed his body thanks to the two others survivors. Unfortunately, two of the five prisoners were murdered.
In 1997, Trilby, now a STP agent, found one of the survivor dead. He found the idol containing the soul of John Defoe and learned about two realities, the fact that he's the guide for bringing a pain elemental called Chzo and that a man named Frehorn founded a long time ago a sect, The Order of Blessed Agonies, made for this horrible project. Frehorn is also behind the Books of Chzo, where he wrote prophecies... Trilby learned that the three aspects of John DeFoe, the Bridgekeeper, had to be destroyed for creating the famous bridge. The body has been destroyed in DeFoe Manor. The mind, which was the manor itself, is partially destroyed. The soul is intact, in the idol.
In 2385, the crew of a scoutship will bring aboard a floating packing: the grave of John DeFoe. The spirit will manage to escape and to slaughter everyone alive aboard... almost everyone. Jonathan Somerset, the counsellor, will kill the soul by throwing it in the motors.
But, in 2189, Theo DaCabe isn't aware of the DeFoe Manor legend or what will happen in the future. He doesn't know that what has been done and what will be done will travel the time for the final act for Chzo.
Theo is working for the council and well, he has to investigate the Optimology building, a new religion. Unfortunately for him, he's pushed in the lift and fall down into underground lab, where he'll meet two women, prisoners of the sect behind Optimoly, a Trilby-like and a tall man in black.
Everything is set for the destroying of the mind. Unless that the bald guy in red clothes has something to say about it...
6DAS and its text-parser prequels
6 Days A Sacrifice is the final chapter in the Chzo Mythos. Yahtzee, the developer, put a final point in his story, after three games and three countdowns.
Countdowns? Let me just say a word about it, if you're interested in it, I've reviewed it on another game site, MobyGames for being precise. So, what are the countdowns? They were made for introducing 6DAS, as a sort of something to make wait players. They're about the famous three aspects: Body, Soul and Mind. For getting short, the main element is the Frehorn's Blade, a minor item in 6DAS. The Body is about Frehorn and how he'll write his books (and make the blade) in 1779 (Frehorn was one of the playable characters in Trilby's Notes), The Soul is about a cultist who steals the blade in 2189 and The Mind is about the delivering of the artifact to a patient of the New Delhi Mental Institute in 2386. So every chapter of the Chzo Mythos are now tied strongly. The countdowns are interactive stories, I mean, it's a text parser or in another word, you'll have to type command.
After this little mention of the countdowns, I'll just remind you which the previous games were: 5 Days A Stranger (set in 1993), 7 Days A Skeptic (set in 2385) and Trilby's Notes (set in 1997). All of them are free to download, unless you want the special edition for five dollars. Also, the games were made with the AGS Engine, a free engine for making old-school adventure games.
So still a text-parser or back to the point & click?
So, now, remember, Trilby's Notes was a disappointment for gameplay: the famous text parser with QWERTY commands. For 6DAS, Yahtzee came back to the point-&-click game, similar to what you encountered in 7DAS.
Players take control of Theo DaCabe (and eventually "Johnathan" Somerset in a passage set in 2186 - after the delivering of the blade). For moving him, you can click anywhere you want. For using, talking, looking or use your inventory, you have to put your cursor on the desired object/character (the cursor will become a square) and to right-click for opening the menu action and choose what you wanted to do with it/him/her. Theo is also equipped with a diary where he puts every document and a cellphone, which is important for calling Samantha or Janine (the two women). For accessing it, you have to go to the inventory and right-click on them.
You and your brain
I'm happy to say that the game comes back to what suits the most the story but I can't say that puzzles are difficult. It's very easy to see what you have to do... except for getting a password.
Indeed, you have to enter a password in the middle of the game for accessing a camera into a restricted area. And believe me or not, you'll not find a paper about it. Just you and your mind. If I hadn't a walkthrough, I would be still turning around the lab. If I hadn't wanted to see what happened when phoning to Samantha after her death, well, I would have never find out how the writer discovered the password. Indeed, phoning to dead Sam is giving you this: c.d. two sev our one (code two seven four one). So, yes, it's difficult to solve this because your mind isn't saying that phoning to a dead person is the key and even if you did phone just for curiosity, well, you don't make the connection easily.
Graphics: half-fail for Yahtzee
Also, if graphics are still the same, I'm not happy with them, except when it comes to DeFoe Manor. Indeed, it's creepy: when it's the lab, it's like everything is clear, you know, disinfected and when it's turning into a dungeon decor, it's not really sticking with the characters or the locals. My only joyful experience was the DeFoe Manor. Despite being a decor used in the first game, the effects for showing that it's a virtual world, well, that DeFoe Manor in 6DAS is in fact what John's mind is reproducing, these effects are sticking in the ambiance and also, DeFoe Manor was much warmer than these Optimology buildings. For me the AGS Engine isn't used at its full potential.
Do re mi fa sol la si do
Soundtrack is good. It never occurred to me that the walk sounds were ripped from Half-Life, particularly in 7DAS, even if I knew that I've heard them somewhere. But the music..., it's a pleasure to hear it. It's perhaps a variant of the piano tune of Trilby's Notes, when the Tall Man played in Frehorn's house but it's really sticking to the story.
I love when there are references to previous games. 6DAS isn't an exception. First, Trilby is back. Well, it could have be a good idea but... Yahtzee did something bad: he reduced Trilby to a secondary character, just a clone of the original, something who is not helping much. Without forgetting that the first clones are hostile and with the sect that tried to kill the real one some centuries ago. Anyway, it's a clear reference to 5DAS, as the virtual DeFoe Manor and as the last name of Sam, Harty, like Philip Harty, the second victim in 5DAS. For 7DAS, it's the passage where you play the hero from the game, who wasn't Jonathan Somerset, as the guy was killed six months before 7DAS but whose name is Malcolm Somerset, Jonathan's son. You have also the explanation of how the spirit did escape the locker in the beginning of 7DAS. For Tribly's Notes, Trilby, the Tall Man, the corpse in the storage room as some documents are just linking the game to 6DAS. If you prefer, 6DAS, as a final chapter, is forced to have a reference to all previous games, for explaining the how and why of the previous events.
That's why I said: "Everything is too complicated at the first play". It's hard to understand everything when you're playing the first time. Why it was so important to Chzo to bring all this pain? Just for changing puppets? Why the Tall Man is behaving like he doesn't want to see the bridge? So many answers that you'll get when you will play a second time and searching every detail. I just say that 6DAS could have been better. Not only in terms of universe who became too complicated but also in terms of graphics, as I've said.
My favorite credits
I want to point a good point: the credits. If 5DAS and 7DAS didn't had proper ending credits, Trilby's Notes was having the story of the Arrogant Man and artwork backgrounds. 6DAS is having pictures from all games: from Somerset playing CSI to Trilby getting into DeFoe Manor without forgetting Theo falling down. It's very colorful and "THE END" written in a screen with the three heroes (Trilby in normal state, Theo after transformation and Malcolm in his cell) is just a great idea. I love this screen. It's a proper way to put definitively the Chzo Mythos behind the players.
Time to close the Chzo Mythos
So, do I recommend 6DAS? Only for those who want to know the end of Chzo Mythos. Even if the gameplay is back to point-&-click, even if some graphics are worthy and even if the soundtrack is great, you'll be feeling that the game was rushed, also, the legend is turned into something ridiculous and Trilby's return is for me not doing justice to the Trilby of 5DAS and Trilby's Notes. In the end of the day, 6DAS could have been better but stays at an average level. You can enjoy yourself for some hours. But it will be less than 5DAS or 7DAS or perhaps even Trilby's Notes if you're a QWERTY user.
If you survived DeFoe Manor, Clanbornwyn Island, Mephistopheles and the text parser, trust me, getting out of Optimoly building is perhaps a bloody path but it's not a matter of survival now. It's just a matter to bring Theo to his destiny. And to please Chzo.