Amiga Power1st May 1992
Published in Amiga Power #13
Elvira II: The Jaws Of Cerebus
"Thirty-five quid?!" was my first reaction to Elvira. "Seven disks?!" was my second. Both exclamations were made in a squeaky big girl's voice. And speaking of big girls... that Elvira bird's not short of a handful, is she? Me, I think she should dish some out to those less fortunate than herself.
You know all about her, of course. Elvira's a superstar. She's big in the States and big over here... Hell, she's big everywhere. Phwooooaaaaar, eh? That's it. No more remakrs about the size of Elvira's chest. (But you can't deny it isn't big.)
The fact remains that all but the most hormonally imbalanced men would dearly love to get their hands on Elvira's prized assets, but - wouldn't you know it? - some jammy sod already has! In ths game, that is - it's a role-playing jobby, complete with "blood, gore, mayhem, death, blood, paranormal phenomena, battle with Goons from the Great Beyond, blood, plunder, carnage..." and just about everything you could hope for, really.
What's happened is that Elvira's been kidnapped by a three-headed monster called Cerebus, who has jaws (hence the title, I guess) and it's your job to rescue her. She's being held somewhere in her Black Widow Productions studio, and it's outside here that your adventure begins (with a piece of wholly inappropriate music resembling a Casio VL Tone demonstration in Dixons, incidentally).
Here you get to choose a character to play - be it a Stuntman, Private Eye, Computer Programmer or Knife Thrower - each with his own attributes, while a digitised picture of Elvira appears to explain her plight. Seems like she's got something to get off her chest, hem hem. That's the gameplay basically, enter the studio, explore the sets, find some objects, fight some monsters, meet some people with whom you can converse to a (very) limited degree, talk to Elvira a bit and even - and this is the good bit - cast a fair few spells (provided you've found the necessary ingredients).
Most of the controls are accessed through the mouse, which you use both to move and to select appropriate action icons when the need arises. The problem is, the interface is nowhere near as much fun to handle as Elvira, and the view feels claustrophobic, even when out in the open. In fact, you are completely in the program's hands, and it feels like it. That's the real problem with this game, as with so many graphic adventures - the story is ludicrously linear. You can't move from (or turn to) the left or right in certain locations - even though logically you should be able to - simply because the necessary scene isn't there.
So, a disappointment then. Should you choose to tackle Elvira you will find your hands full. The mountain to climb is high and the sluggish interface, lack of any atmosphere, shortage of interesting and varied puzzles or worthwhile substance makes your route to her chamber long and hard.
Which all brings me to a sorry but inevitable conclusion: Elvira II is horrible. It will make you scream... with frustration. The only frightening thing about it is that so many people wasted their time putting it together. Oh dear.
The Bottom Line
Horrible. Foul. Disgusting. Frightening. And for all the wrong reasons. Its only redeeming feature is the fact that the designers have at least made the effort to try something new with this well-worn theme.