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A NES style first person shooter on a 32-bit system.
Author: B. Hodges | Date: 2003/05/02 | Rating: 3/10


Insmouse No Yakata or Innsmouth Mansion was released in 1995 for the Nintendo Virtual Boy. It was only released in Japan, but it will work on an American Virtual Boy without any modifications. Everything in the game except for the credits is in English. This game was the only first person shooter released for the Virtual Boy.

Gameplay - 3/10

The game has a total of 45 levels, but you will only see a max of 13 each time you play. The object of each level is to find the key and the exit before the time runs out. Your progress is shown on a map at the end of each level. If you exit a level fast enough, you will go up, if not you will go down. The game has four endings, I haven't been able to get Ending A, but the other three are short cinemas followed by the credits. Actual play itself is from the first person perspective. You are able to collect the randomly placed powerups along the way. These include bullets, hearts, orbs, and keys. Each level has two orbs and one key. You must find the key before you can exit. The white orb reveals the entire map on your map screen and more importantly the exit. The black orb reveals powerup locations and the location of the key. Each level is inhabited by various monsters. You cannot walk past monsters, you either have to kill them or find another pathway. Monsters take a lot of bullets to kill and bullets are scarce, which does lead to a lot of frustration. It doesn't help that the monsters strafe left and right like crazy. Honestly this game is more about luck than skill. Another problem is that all of the levels look the same. Finally, ending A is next to impossible to get, I don't know of anyone who has gotten it yet or even knows for sure how to get it.

Play Control 3/10

The controls are lousy. You move around with the left control pad. You press left or right to turn 180 degrees, you press up or down to walk forward or backward. You can hold up or down to move, but you go faster if you press them repeatedly. You aim with the right control pad. The problem here is that the cursor moves very slowly, the monsters strafe faster than you can aim. You press R to fire and L to reload, you don't reload automatically and you can only reload when your clip is empty.

Story - ?/10

The instruction booklet is in Japanese so I am not really sure what the story is. The opening cinema doesn't help explain the plot either. The object of the game seems to be to escape from a mansion that is filled with monsters. There has to be more to it than that because the opening cinema shows you entering the mansion, but all you do once inside is try to escape. This game is supposedly based on a movie that was based on the story The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft. I haven't seen the movie, but I have read the story. In the story, there is a similar situation where the main character must escape from a hotel he is staying in while he is being pursued by monsters. In the story, the man is unarmed, but I guess that would make for an even worse FPS.

Graphics - 7/10

The graphics are pretty good for the most part. The cinemas look great and are full of 3D. The monsters are very detailed. There are only two real problems here. The first is that when the monsters move forward or backwards, the transition looks bad, they instantly become bigger or smaller. The second is that all of the levels look exactly the same, there is no variety at all.

Sound - 2/10

Like most Virtual Boy games, the sound in Insmouse could have been a lot better. The sound effects sound like something off of the Atari 2600. The in game music isn't that great either, it is bland and it all sounds the same, which is a shame since the music on the title and password screens isn't that bad.

Playing Time/Replay Value - 3/10

With 45 levels, multiple paths, and multiple endings this game should have a high replay value. The problem is that the game is so frustrating and the game is so repetitive, that you soon get bored with it. The game also feels very short, the first time I played the game it took me less than 30 minutes (and about 20 continues) to beat the game and get Ending B.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid? - Avoid

First off, this is one of the worst games made for the Virtual Boy. Secondly, copies of the game often go for over $80. You should leave this game to the collectors.

Overall Score - 3/10

I realize that this game was released in 1995 and that games like Half-Life have pushed the FPS envelope since then, but this is a poor game even by 1995 standards. Doom was released two years earlier and is much better than Insmouse. This game reminds me a lot of games like The Mafat Conspiracy and The Lone Ranger for the NES that had pseudo-FPS levels. This game definitely needed some more work done before its release.