Uninvited (ICOM Simulations) - 1986

This review is part of the “Let’s Adventure!” series. See all reviewed games sorted by rating here.

Uninvited is a black-and-white horror-themed point-and-click adventure game. It was originally developed for the Macintosh by ICOM Simulations released in 1986 by Mindscape as part of the MacVenture series.

The following year, a color version of the game was released for the Amiga and Atari ST, and in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which is the version I played for this review.

I’ve now played basically all the MacVentures titles for the NES because those are the versions that I personally grew up with. I really enjoy these menu-driven, story heavy adventure games that are essentially just visual novels. Though I didn’t really love Déjà Vu, Shadowgate remains one of my favourite game to this day.

As with those titles, the game screen is divided between 3 main areas: the stage (where you can see the current room), your inventory then your verb list/navigation helper. Since this is a Nintendo game you navigate the interface with the D-pad, but for the other ports you would be able to do this using a mouse.

Screenshot lovingly borrowed from Honest Gamers’ review of the Amiga port of Uninvited

Since I’m starting to get to that point in my review journey where I may not have an opportunity to play any games for certain systems, I really wanted to be able to play through this game on an Amiga emulator as I haven’t tackled that system yet. I tried … really I did! I got FS-UAE setup, but couldn’t get anything to run properly (even with the proper Kickstart ROM). I tried vAmiga as it looked extremely promising, but still nothing wants to work for me.

I snagged a screenshot from another site just to show the difference between the interfaces. I plan on completing one game for this series on the Amiga if it kills me … but Uninvited won’t be it.

You find yourself crashed in front of a mansion. Your sister is missing, so chances are she’s inside. In you go to try and find her only to discover the house is full of ghosts and demos and a shitload of items you can pick up. As you progress you discover the house once belonged to a sorcerer with a number of apprentices. Dracan, the most talented apprentice, became corrupt and killed the other inhabitants with his magic, resulting in the house becoming haunted.

None of this really explains why your sister is being held captive, but whatever … ghosts and stuff.

Your goal is to survive long enough to find your sister. This will involve examining everything, picking up everything and trying to use everything on everything in every room and on every creature you encounter. You know might call this “playing an adventure game” … and you’d be right.

There are SO many things you can pick up in this game, and the vast majority of them are red herrings. Don’t forget to try and OPEN everything you pick up as well as they may contain OTHER items you can interact with. Some items (scrolls mostly) contain spells you can learn. Like Shadowgate, you’ll need to use these spells to help solve specific puzzles.

Most creatures you can interact with will kill you if you approach the interaction incorrectly. See that ghost lady over there? Just because you happen to have a bottle of “No Ghost” with you, remember to OPEN it first before trying to USE it on her or that’ll be the end of you.

This game feels a lot bigger than Shadowgate and seems to have a lot more to do. There’s even a maze you’ll need to navigate in order to get a key item. I really dislike mazes in most games, but in this case it wasn’t overly difficult - just a bit tedious. Make sure you didn’t forget to take the pendent out of the mailbox when you first started the game … you’ll need it in the maze to scare off zombies. Oh, you forgot to pick it up …. whelp …. sucks to be you!

I didn’t realize I could use the TELEMAZE spell to quickly exit the maze once I was done. I know in retrospect it’s pretty obvious that’s what the spell was for but I completely forgot about it …

I’m pretty sure that’s actually the combination you need … you’re welcome

The majority of the puzzles aren’t difficult, but finding the items you need to solve a specific puzzle can be tricky. Finding the combination to the safe requires you to find a list of chemicals then find their values on the periodic table. If you know this is what you’re supposed to do it’s not too hard either, but I missed the note that had that clue on it so I resorted to a walkthrough to get past this section.

Domestic violence was apparently acceptable to Nintendo’s censors

Eventually you find your way through the mansion, find your sister, throw a goblet at the demon that was possessing her, climb out the window and win the game. Overall it’s not a bad game, though the story is pretty weak.

The Nintendo port of the game once again comes with a descent soundtrack (check out the track called “Daylight” for a taste), which makes the experience of navigating the mansion a bit more enjoyable. I don’t believe the other ports have background music, so this is definitely a quality of life improvement.

Personally I’ve played through all these ICOM Simulations games for the Nintendo countless times as they were favourites of mine when I was a kid. I don’t have rose-coloured glasses on when it comes to the overall quality of these titles. Honestly, Uninvited is pretty derivative of Shadowgate and doesn’t really add anything new to the mix - other than the keys open multiple doors in this game (instead of it being one key per door).

For fans of this very specific type of menu driven adventure game I might recommend giving Uninvited a shot. If you have a hankering for this type of gameplay experience I’d recommend going back to Shadowgate instead.

Game Information

DeveloperICOM Simulations
PublisherMindscape, Kemco
Release Date1986
SystemsApple IIGS, Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore 64
Amiga, NES, DOS, Windows, Windows Mobile
Game Engine 

My Playthrough

How Long To Beat?2 hours
Version PlayedNES via OpenEmu > Nestopia


See here for a refresher on how we’re scoring these games.

Atmosphere (20)10
Story (25)9
Experience (15)10
Impact (10)2
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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