If you’d asked me a few days ago whether I thought I’d ever finish Uninvited, I would have said “highly unlikely”. I was getting stuck at just about every point in the game, unaware of what I was supposed to be doing or how to achieve it. If it wasn’t for this blog, I almost certainly would have given up, or at least gone to a walkthrough numerous times just to see what happens. I feel a real sense of achievement for actually getting through it, and while I did get a few hints from readers, the majority of the success came down to sheer perseverance, and a lot of trial and error. At the end of my last post, I was trying without luck to enter the correct combination for the safe in the Magisterium laboratory, and as most of you would know, I was annoyingly close to figuring it out. My lack of experience with safes in general can probably be blamed for me typing 794780 and never trying 79-47-80, but it’s testament to how exacting the game is that I couldn’t use either. Thankfully, apart from one section I’ll talk about later, the rest of the game was solved fairly quickly.
I successfully solved the riddle, but still didn't know the answer
Once I opened the safe and found a jar that was sealed shut, it only took me a few minutes of trying items on it to realise the solution was hitting it with the axe. Inside was a cookie, and remembering the hints the game had been giving me about the mocking demon being hungry (plus Amy K.’s hint about needing something from the Magisterium to get the key), I immediately placed the cookie on the ground to see whether he would take the bait. He did, and consequently ran away for good, leaving the key behind. I knew exactly where the key would be needed, and headed through the trapdoor in the laboratory into the underground caves. It’s here that things get strange (as if they weren’t already)! I ran into a robed man (which I can only assume is “The Master”) in an icy cavern who said “You’ve come. I’ve been waiting for you...for you!” and then he disappeared. With absolutely no hints as to how to progress, I began using all of my items on the ice to see if anything would happen. When I tried Dracan’s star, I got a message telling me “You place the brass pentagon in a nook in the ice” and a fiery creature melted it away. As you can see below, there is nothing on the wall to suggest you should use the star, so this was blind luck.
My character can see the nook. Is it too much to ask that the player can see it too?
The robed man reappeared briefly to tell me to hurry up and get rid of Dracan, so I moved into the next cave section. To my surprise I found Dracan lying frozen, but rapidly thawing. You basically get the chance to try one or two actions before he thaws out completely and kills you, so I tried using a few items on him without success (ie. I died a few times) before having a good look at the cavern itself. As it turned out, the solution was really very simple, as there’s a bottomless pit right next to where he’s lying. I simply moved his body over it and dropped it, then listened to his scream as he fell to his death. It’s here that you need the demon’s key, as there’s no way out of the caves without it. On exiting the caves into the study, I was alerted of screams coming from upstairs that sounded like my brother. Feeling I was on the cusp of completing the game, I rushed up there to see if I could find him. The screams got louder, and when I entered the bathroom off Dracan’s bedroom, the door slammed behind me and wouldn’t open. It’s in this bathroom that I would spend the next half an hour, trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing in there!
There's also a frozen evil sorcerer, but there soon won't be
I figured out pretty quickly that the solution had something to do with the round light fitting, as its description stated that it seemed to have been designed to be gripped, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get to it. Every time I tried I was informed that I couldn’t reach it, so I began thinking of ways that I might be able to reach higher. My first thought was that I could flood the room, but turning on the sink tap didn’t achieve anything and there seemed to be no way to turn the bath tap on. Clicking on the hot and cold knobs was hard enough, given how tiny they were and the lack of cursor accuracy, but then selecting operate after I highlighted one didn’t do anything. I began to wonder whether there was an item I was supposed to have on me prior to entering the bathroom, such as a chair, but had no way to exit the room (apart from restoring). I certainly wouldn’t put it past the game to create a dead end, given that the whole thing is completely unfinishable if you don’t open the mailbox before entering the house. Anyway, I couldn’t think of anything anywhere else in the house that might allow me to reach the light, so started looking at the bathtub again.
I haven't spent that long in a bathroom since the day after my bucks night. There were screams that day too, believe me!
Given the success I’ve had in the game by just trying random things, I clicked one of the knobs and instead of pressing operate, pressed open instead. There may be some types of baths out there that require you to “open” the hot and cold knobs rather than turning them, but I certainly haven’t seen any. Regardless, I was stoked to find the water running and the bathroom flooding as I’d hoped it would. I drowned about ten seconds later! The water rises in level each time you try an action and you’ve got about four actions before the room is full and you die. Clicking on the light on any of the first three water levels results in the same old “you cannot reach the light” messages, but on the second last one it opens, allowing you to climb through the hole just before the room is full. I figured this out after around my 972nd death since starting the game, and eventually found myself in a secret room, with the brother I’ve been looking for sitting in front of me. The description suggested that he was possessed by some sort of demon, so it seemed fairly obvious that it was time to use the cross I took from the chapel. I used it once to cast the demon out and again to send him running.
The only time I was ever certain of what action was the correct one, the game suggests I was guessing.
There you have it! A blow by blow description of the closing moments of one of the more challenging adventure games you’re likely to find. When I finished Déjà Vu, the first ICOM MacVenture game, I felt great satisfaction when I received my Ace Harding School of Investigation certificate, which I earned over a few challenging days. But the feeling I had then didn’t come close to how I felt when I got my Master of the House of Abraxas certificate! I’ve endured over ten hours of bewilderment, trial and error, and illogicality to get that baby and I feel like getting a shirt that says “I Saved My Brother From Abraxas”. There’s very little doubt that the PISSED rating system is going to be harsh on Uninvited, but I really do think that if the puzzles had made more sense (and been a little less obtuse), the game would have actually been pretty good. The atmosphere, and to some extents the story, are effective, and it’s no surprise that more successful adventure games down the track would use the haunted house as their basis (from Maniac Mansion to The 11th Hour). For now, I’m pretty happy to take a step away from the horror and into the sleazy world of Leisure Suit Larry.
Another one for the pool room