Before Ubi Soft were the powerhouse publisher they are today, the long-running French company was mainly known in its country of origin. It developed and distributed some neat games, including Zombi (found elsewhere on this site). In 1988, a spiritual sequel by the name of Hurlements swapped the gruesome groans of zombies with the high-pitched howls of werewolves.
The story goes thusly: after a brief stint in the slammer, Kane gets wind of the whereabouts of a hidden stash of cash from his cellmate. Upon release, he and his girlfriend Lorry decide to hunt down this easy money and head off to Seattle. Little do they know that this small town also plays host to a pack of man-eating werewolves. And the moon is full.
Released originally for DOS and Amstrad CPC, Hurlements (translated as Howls) plays almost exactly like its forebear. While being an adventure game first and foremost, the addition of fights and item management adds some minor RPG elements. It is controlled entirely with the keyboard using a selection of icons to perform whatever action you so choose. There are some oddly specific actions including ones for sleeping, waking and eating. This means you need to pay attention to your tiredness and hunger but, along with health, it's represented by a single life bar.
Unlike Zombi, Hurlements gives you control over two protagonists instead of four. Both Kane and Lorry are your digital counterparts and to complete the game, you need to find the gold and get out of Dodge alive. To do that takes a lot of trial and error (or a walkthrough) because there's only one path to completion even if the game world is more or less open. You are timed too, so procrastination must be kept to a minimum. It's made all the more difficult by the complete lack of in-game dialogue or descriptions. You can interact with anything coloured blue, but it's a puzzle in itself trying to figure out what a lot of these objects are. Some you can pick up, some you can open or activate. Some look like something from a fantasy RPG while others are oddly phallic. Without a description, it's hard to know.
So what you're left with is the tried and true formula of try-everything-on-everything. A tactic even more exasperated by each character's four measly item slots. Using them also adds an extra action. Before you can do anything with it, you first have to place it in your hand. This goes for weapons too, the best of which is the shotgun. If you find yourself in the same location as a werewolf, you have 5 seconds before it will attack, supposedly to give you enough time to defend yourself or run away. In truth, you'll spend this time scrolling through the icon list one by one.
So, this DOS version sticks closely to the formula of its predecessor. But if you recall, the Amiga version of Zombi was far superior. Sadly, Hurlements didn't get the remake treatment for the 16-bit computers. What we do have is an impressive fan-made remake for Windows. This version looks and sounds like it was on one of those systems and takes all of the improvements Zombi had. The graphics are now full-colour instead of monochrome. It has a streamlined interface with mouse controls, complete character stats that separate health, hunger and fatigue and included some much-needed item descriptions.
Remake (left) DOS (right)
This has become the definitive version of Hurlements, and rightly so. Almost all of the negative points associated with the DOS version has been fixed, but by the very nature of the game design, trial and error is still the main course for progression. Once you know what you're doing it takes little more than 30 minutes to complete but finding out what to do is the crux of the game. It's a gameplay style that's not suited for everyone, but it's like that by design so hold off on that walkthrough.
Hurlements and Zombi are acquired tastes. They are adventure games that's more about the mechanics than story and puzzle solving. If that takes you're fancy, you'll be in for a good, if short, time.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the PC game to modern systems. The remake by Arnaud Bouche runs natively on Windows. Manuals for both versions included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 13.7 Mb. Install Size: 19 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Hurlements is © Ubi Soft
Review, Cover Design, Installer and Manual Translation created by me