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Tuesday, 3 November 2015


After the success of the first Shivers, Sierra put into development a sequel that would attempt to up the ante of everything that went before. Considering it's Halloween (or thereabouts), can it finally succeed in being scary?

Released in 1997, Harvest of Souls had two years worth of development time to contemplate what worked in the original. One that definitely needed an overhaul was the scares. It was previously aimed at teenagers yet, in reality, it wouldn't scare your average Scooby-Doo viewer. Right from the off, you can tell that this follow-up wanted a deeper and darker storyline.

For starters, you are no longer a teenage trespasser with a dubious choice in friends, but a member of the aspiring rock band Trip Cyclone (eagle-eyed fans may spot noted YouTuber Metal Jesus Rocks as a band member). In an attempt to film your first music video on the cheap, the ever-so-90s grunge band descend on a secluded Arizonian town that shares their namesake - Cyclone.

After a particularly cryptic nightmare that could in itself be a staple of late-night MTV, you awake to find your band-mates missing and the town's single mountainous exit caved in. You now have to search for your friends in the eerily quiet town, again solving Myst-like puzzles along the way.

Right from the off, you have the whole town to explore, greatly expanding the size from the original. While you still travel in the first person, the still photo slideshow has been upgraded to a 360° panoramic view. It's quite a nice setup, giving you a sense of realism and direction that the first game lacks. You also have the new ability to carry more than one item, which allows for a greater variety of the types of puzzles. It still prefers to challenge you with logic puzzles, but in this new plot-focused game, they do seem to be more out of place - there's no eccentric museum curator to explain their existence.

Early on in the game, you will find your first Bahos Stick, one of several mystical totems with barely explained powers. Much like the pots in the first game, you can only carry one at a time but it is not so frustrating here. The game is designed in such a way that you'll never encounter two at once. They don't take up space in your inventory, instead replacing your cursor. Be careful, though, as the prayer sticks will also drain your life essence until you place it in it's designated resting place. If you run out, you're dead. Yep, there's dying in this game.

As well as deadly timed puzzles, there are also a number of uninspired puzzles that seem to be a staple of this type of game. The most boring of these is the sliding puzzle - an apparent staple of this type of 90s adventure game. There's more than one too, made all the more obvious due to my complete disdain for them. It's not that they're hard or unsolvable, they're just a tired, over-used pain in the ass. For this reason, it is perhaps commendable that there is an option to skip puzzles with only your overall score taking a hit. I don't recommend using this option for the majority of adventure gamers, but it allowed me to get past such dull sections with my sanity intact.

In comparison to their peers, Sierra tended to choose a higher calibre of actor for their live-action FMV cut-scenes. You can definitely see that quality here, but that doesn't mean it's completely lactose-free. Some scenes are dripping with cheese and stilted dialogue, but it's still of a quality that puts to shame many of their competitors. It says a lot that the acting was not what took me out of the game.

It's not particularly scary, but it's a hell of a lot creepier than the first game. The American Indian mysticism that is the cause of your troubles in both games (and the only real link between the two) provides a great backdrop. It's a shame that not much really happens in between the puzzles. In fact, the scariest thing about it is the superbly realised ambient score that truly does send shivers down your spine. The Trip Cyclone music videos do the same thing, but for completely different reasons.

Is Shivers 2 a better game than its predecessor? In my opinion, no. It's still a good game, but I found the type of puzzles matched the setting and childish frights of the first game. Here, they just seem to cut into the great atmosphere that's been established, taking you completely out of the game. Reviewers at the time tended to disagree with me, preferring the stronger story, darker tone and technical accomplishment of the sequel. In 1997, I too may have felt the same, but I feel the original had better puzzles and a tighter design. That being said, it is by no means bad. Both games are well worth your time and I had a lot of fun playing them.

As of 29th May 2020, Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls is now available to buy DRM-free on Good Old Games.
Buy from GOG

Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls is © Sierra On-Line
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

Like this? Try These...

Shivers  Ceremony of Innocence  Azrael's Tear


  1. We used to play this online..it was one of the first games you could play along with others online and figure out the puzzles together.

    1. It's a very cool concept, and one I think more games could do today. I didn't play it until long after release so I never attempted this feature. I doubt it'll work with the Windows 95 emulation in DOSBox.

      What was also cool is that you could create your own puzzles for some of the games and share them with the community. The manual makes it sound more complicated than it probably is, requiring you to enter specific symbols in a txt file, but again this is a feature that I haven't yet attempted.

  2. I really appreciate the work that went into putting together this installer, and have enjoyed playing the game over the last few days, but I've encountered a problem near the end - after pouring the sacred sand on the picture, a pop-up window asks me to insert CD2 and click "okay" when finished, but no matter how many times I click on it, nothing happens. Have I overlooked some instructions on what to do here?

    1. Yikes! It's just me creating these packages so this just highlights the lack of time I have to test them. My mantra is to make the games as easy to play as possible, which includes minimising disk swaps (which is more fiddly under an emulated Windows 95). I followed some advice that this game supports merging both CDs into one DVD, but it appears I was given bad info.

      I'll update the download as soon as I'm able and include details on how to keep your saved game.

    2. MrE2Me. I've compiled a new installer that should work fine for now - it's being uploaded as we speak. Follow the instructions in the readme to keep you save files.

      I believe the original problem was down to the name I gave the merged disc. I think I've corrected it but I'm afraid I haven't the time to play the game again to test it (I have a bad habit of overwriting game saves). Instead, this version has both CDs separately which requires the fiddly disc swapping. Let me know how well this works for you.


  3. Just an FYI:

    This is version 1.00 of the original release. There was a release a year later by CUC International (the company that later bought out Sierra and got involved in a massive scandal).

    I can't find a changelog between the two versions but just from glancing through the README.WRI in both discs, it seems:

    1. the original plays at 640x480 whereas the CUC release plays at 640x280
    2. the CUC release made some changes to the Create a Puzzle rules
    3. minor (very minor) changes to the duration in the Redbook Audio tracks on cd2

    I don't know if the re-release made any gameplay / bugfix changes so it is still unclear if it's actually better.

    Any one interested in the re-release can download the disc images at old-games.ru

    1. erm.. seems I spoke too soon without looking carefully :D

      There is actually a VERSION.TXT on the release which contains:

      CD #1 new sub number: S174411
      Changes made:

      :\dll\19000.dll -- custom spider puzzle
      :\dll\6000.dll -- norah 2nd hypnotism location moved.
      :\resource.win -- version # updated
      :\setup.exe -- updated
      :\setup.sol -- updated
      :\sierra.inf -- version updated
      :\sierraw.dll -- sigs update
      :\snwvalid.dll -- sigs update
      :\snwvalid.hlp -- sigs update
      :\version.txt -- changes made explanation
      :\win32s\version.dll -- added

    2. Thanks for the info Anon. I try to include the most recent version I can find if my research proves it's worth it. Sometimes I do just stick with the disks I have in my collection.

  4. The game starts. But the animation of the receptionist in the motel doesn't work. He speaks, suptitles work, I can interact with him (give money, etc.) but the guy doesn't move. How do I fix that?

    1. From what I recall, he doesn't move. I assume it was a technical/budgetary/space contraint.

      Here's that moment from a full playthrough on YouTube

    2. UPDATE: Found out this is not the case! Version 3 is out now that fixes the issues.

  5. I'm getting fairly frequent crashing with this - one of which consistently happens every time. I get passed the intro, give the guy the money for the room, then during the animation where you walk into your room, he sortof looks around the room, it pans to the right, and then to the left - and during the pan to the left it crashes every time. It just throws up a "RSHIVERS has stopped working" error and ends.

    1. I'm getting that too. I suspect that the specific video file is a bit off. I didn't notice it because I skipped the animation during my test phase (left click). It appears the game works fine after that.

      Hopefully that will serve you well until I find a solution.

  6. Running Win 10. It finishes installing, but then says:
    "Shivers II has not been totally installed because of the following reason:
    File corrupt or unreadable:

    You will have to run this utility again to completely install Shivers II."

    1. Hello, there's some points regarding this in the FAQ. Most likely it's because it cannot find one of the .bin files. Make sure they're all there in the same folder before installing

  7. My game is frequently crashing almost every time the game tries to play a video. From the dream video at the start after you check in to the motel, to the videotapes you find throughout your game play, and especially Trip Cyclone music videos on the many TVs throughout Cyclone. I can't get any of these videos to play all the way through without a crash. This makes getting the clues from the Music Videos nigh impossible.

    1. Yeah, this one's become a pain. I'm going to try and work on it when I have time (although I do suspect the team at GOG are hard at work on it as they've already got the first one). Version 1&2 used DOSBox Daum, so perhaps using PCEm will be the best option if I can't do anything with the patches.

    2. Thanks for trying. If you don't mind, mention something on the forums when you develop a patch or a new engine to run the game to download. I'll be watching regularly. This is one of my favorite old school games, and I'm starting to wonder if GOG has run into licensing issues with this one that weren't an issue with Shivers I. Anyway, thanks again.

    3. I guess the music involved may cause some issues, but you never know.

      When I update a game, I usually change the 'recommended page' side bar to it. When I've accumilated enough new ones, I gather them all together in an Update post on the main page. I guess I could look into creating a sub-redit or something, but I'm not entirely sure how well I could keep it updated.

    4. I just meant mentioning something here where we've been posting thus far. But if you have your way of updating us, I can check that as well.

    5. Ok cool. The page will have a brief blurb above the Download link about any updates and when they were created. Perhaps that's the best place to look out for them.

    6. I ran into the same problem, game would crash at the end of a video that I want to watch on one of the televisions that are spread throughout the game.
      What I did it replace the video file with a txt file and just rename it to the same filename.
      So for example 2002.VMD is replaced with 2002.txt and then change the extension to VMD.

      Now when I click on a television the game will skip the video and continue.
      I do not know if this will somehow influence my playthrough but so far I have no issues.
      Whenever I run into another video that causes a crash I will do the same, find out which file corresponds to that video and replace the file.

      Is this a great solution? No, because it skips videos that might have clues in them for puzzles. But at least I can keep playing.

  8. Thanks a lot! I haven't played this game in forever because I haven't had a computer that was compatible for many years.

  9. Thanks for providing Shivers II - unfortunately I am having trouble launching it. The initial window appears full screen and black, a bit of music plays and gets stuck and the application freezes. Anyone had this problem and might known a solution? Tried running in DxWnd just in case but same issue.

    1. Tried again a couple of months later and it just worked! Managed to play through though it would crash when watching a couple of specific videos for some reason.

    2. The video crashes is something I haven't quite solved yet, and I've tried several different ISO sources, including my original discs, so I'm unsure where the issue is. Unless a lightbulb comes my way, I've resigned to the fact that this package is better than nothing. Considering Shivers 1 is already on GOG, I suspect it will eventually go there anyway. Their team with all of their resources will likely do a better job than me anyway.

  10. Hi All. I keep getting an error at install where it says:

    Shiver 2 has not been totally installed because of the following reason:

    File Corrupt of unreadable:

    You will have to run this utility again to completely install.

    I have run it a few times, as well as attempted to run the OG game CD for install, and I can't get it to work. Is it possible that my system is Win 8? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. You need to download all files and have them in the same folder before installing. Read the FAQ for more info.

  11. It says on here that the installer was made by you but I can't see the download link to your version for this or the first game :(