A series of interactive fiction with graphics by On-Line Systems, starting with the very first game of this subgenre, Mystery House, aka Hi-Res Adventure #1. Mission: Asteroid was numbered as Hi-Res Adventure #0 for being produced as introductory adventure, even if it was released later. These games were written and designed in Ken Williams' ADL (Adventure Development Language).
We're going way back in time to the earliest of graphic adventures with Sierra's groundbreaking Hi-Res series of adventures. Beginning in 1980 with the seminal Mystery House which took inspiration from Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None all the way to 1983 with The Dark Crystal - the only licensed tie in of the lot.
There were 7 games in all and each played the same; type directions or conjugate verbs with nouns for simple instructions. These Hi-Res adventures simplify this by only recognising two-word sentences, so "tie rope to mast" for example is split between two commands.
Puzzle solutions appear to be random at times. Mystery House - the first of the series - has you collecting a key by tripping on a carpet, dropping your lit candle and setting the room on fire. If you have said candle lit in your possession, this all happens using the command "look room". Unexpected outcomes such as this are a blessing and a curse for such games. On the one hand, a surprisingly positive outcome to a seemingly benign command is quite exciting, like uncovering a secret. On the other hand, you end up typing anything when you're stuck just to figure out what the game designer had in mind instead of using logic to further the story.
As the series went on, descriptions became more detailed and the images that accompanied them more artistic (though still showing their age - this is the early 80s after all). The monochromatic stills of Mystery House gave way to colour and the occasional bloopy sound effects by the time The Dark Crystal came around.
Originally released on the Apple II with some Japanese only ports on the PC-88 computers, they're not exactly standard code to emulate on modern PCs. Thankfully ScummVM got around to adding them to their ever-evolving powerhouse of a program. Loading times are non-existent and the image is represented with crisp and clear visuals. The issue I came to find is that you need a very specific rip of the original disks for them to work. The only one I couldn't find was Cranston Manor, which uses an Apple II emulator rather than the Virtual Machine of ScummVM. Playing this game will show a more accurate experience of how it was in 1980. The graphics will slowly load in piece by piece and there are slight blurry artefacts dulling the entire image.
If you ask me, the best games in the series are Mystery House, Ulysses and the Golden Fleece and of course The Dark Crystal - the movie that one is based on holds a special place in my heart. These have a variety of set pieces with some well thought out puzzles that makes you realise why the interactive-fiction genre was so popular. If you fancy a trip down digital history, these Hi-Res Adventures are well worth your time.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses ScummVM to allow the game to run on modern PCs. Manuals for all games included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more information. Tested on Windows 10.
06.09.2023 Ver.2 - Updated ScummVM to version 2.7.0.
Added support for Cranston Manor with ScummVM.
Added Walkthroughs for each game in the MAN folder.
Improved and updated menus and installer.
File Size: 113 Mb. Install Size: 184 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Hi-Res Adventures is © Sierra On-Line
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me
FULL LIST OF GAMES
Wizard and the Princess - Hi-Res Adventures #2 (1980)
Mission Asteroid - Hi-Res Adventures #0 (1980)
Cranston Manor - Hi-Res Adventures #3 (1981)
Ulysses and the Golden Fleece - Hi-Res Adventures #4 (1981)
Time Zone - Hi-Res Adventures #5 (1982)
The Dark Crystal - Hi-Res Adventures #6 (1983)