Escape from the Haunted House, and this is one haunted house you won't be able to get out of quick enough. An attempt at emulating The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour fails miserably. While I love the cheesy title and the hokey horror it implies, the title is about all that is interesting.
The story is as basic and bone-bare as possible: you are the nephew of a demented genius and are now trapped in his house. The only reason you are trapped in his house is so you can solve all the puzzles and escape. If you escape, the house is yours to keep. But the cost of upkeep alone of such a monstrosity would be prohibitive!
All of this could have been fun if there were any character interaction at all, but there isn't. Nor are there enough animations to keep the player on edge. There are a few, very few, at the beginning of the game that offer a glimmer of hope for some spooky situations, but just as they dissipate, so does the ambiance. What there is, though, are puzzles. Puzzles that have been around since the beginning of adventure gaming: open a safe by pressing the correct buttons, make a generator run by rearranging the gears, activate an electric circuit box. In other words, puzzles that are not even remotely related to and do contribute to the supposedly frightening atmosphere of the game.
The graphics are well-done, and the large rooms of the mansion are sumptuous and extremely colorful, but they often seem as though they were placed without regard to architecture and more for how they could influence a puzzle. To make matters even more frightening, the game is linear, so if you are stuck on a puzzle, then you are stuck forever.
Other than a well-done opening movie and some pretty graphics, there is not much reason to recommend Escape from the Haunted House other than its being so short that an experienced adventure gamer would finish it in under a day.
Final Grade: D
System Requirements for All Three Games:
16 MB RAM