Insmouse No Yakata is the only first person shooter for the Virtual Boy. The game is said to be based on H. P. Lovecraft's book, "The Shadow over Innsmouth."

After the usual screens and a tendencyful intro, you see the atmospheric title screen, where you can either start a new game or choose a password option.

The goal of the game is to find the exit out of a labyrinth of hallways and doors full of monsters in a given time frame. For his self-defense against the differently sized monsters, our hero is armed with a gun, which can be fired with the R button and reloaded with the L button. You aim with the right control pad and move with the left one. Since ammunition is always short, you should not forget to collect all the clips of bullets you find in the levels. There are also hearts to refill your life meter, a key to the level's exit, as well as white and black orbs waiting to be collected in each level. The last two mentioned respectively reveal the whole level map - which can be accessed with the Select button - or the positions of the key and the other power-ups.

During a game, you visit 13 out of a total of 45 levels. Depending on the time you need to complete a level, you next play the next higher or next lower level on the spear-shaped level chart. At the end, there are 4 endings, which each depend on your performance in a play-through. Ending A can only be gotten if you finish all 13 levels of a play-through one after another, within the given time limit, and without a single death.

Graphically, Insmouse looks solid, though technologically outdated, even for 1995. You don't move through real 3-D environments; rather, these are simulated by individual still images with simple 3-D effects. By pressing on the left control pad, you move a part of the hallway forward or backward, or turn to the left or right by 90°. Unfortunately, all levels look the same: bare walls, some doors and lamps, that's it.
When you run into a monster, it's your choice either to fight or flee. Since the cross hairs of your weapon are pretty slow and you're always short on ammunition, there's a tense atmosphere of being on the run, while in later levels, monsters breaking through walls give you some moments of shock. But that's what Insmouse No Yakata (In English: "The Mansion of Insmouse") is about: you have to try to escape from a mysterious manor-house in the middle of nowhere.

The sound should be carefully described as appropriate. Although the background music and sound effects are not of the highest quality and variety, they are, however, very atmospheric, and they strengthen the feeling of being hunted, especially when you hear monsters coming closer from behind or the side, thanks to the Virtual Boy's stereo speakers.

The bottom line is that Insmouse is, at best, an interesting title for collectors, having a big number of levels and a great atmosphere, but it disappoints with pseudo 3-D graphics and monotony.


Author: KR155E

3-D Effect:
Lasting Appeal:
Overall (Not an Average):
5 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 10
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