LGR – Voyeur – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Voyeur – DOS PC Game Review


[typing] In 1993, there was a major debate
going on in American government and media regarding the videogame industry. The accusation was that games–
still thought of as toys for kids– were becoming too violent and sexual. Titles like Mortal Kombat, Doom, Lethal Enforcers, and Night Trap were all over the news, and under scrutiny during congressional hearings, which eventually resulted in the formation
of the Entertainment Software Rating Board. While a lot of the focus was on the
full-motion videogame Night Trap, published by Sega, there was another game in
1993 that was quite similar, but pushed the adult-content
boundary much further. That game was Voyeur, developed and published by Philips for
their CD-i interactive multimedia system. Maybe it was because the game
was released closer to the hearings, or maybe it was due to the fact
that it wasn’t on a leading console, but whatever the case may be, Night Trap received far more
negative attention than Voyeur. If you’re not familiar with what a voyeur is, then I am both impressed and skeptical of your seeming innocence. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a voyeur is someone
obtaining sexual gratification from observing unsuspecting individuals who are partly undressed,
naked, or engaged in sexual acts. However, while you do observe
sexual acts in the game of Voyeur, you’re not necessarily doing so
because you’re aroused by it, but because you’re trying to prevent a murder and gather dirt on a presidential hopeful. Yes, Voyeur is a political murder mystery wrapped in a thin cloak of sexy time. One might think of the concept of the game as a mixture of the movies “Rear Window” and “sex, lies, and videotape,” and you’ll see why once
we get into the gameplay. This is the 1994 DOS PC release by Interplay here. And not only that, it’s the later European version which features much racier box art. Yeah, the American and
earlier releases are far tamer, using the same bland cover art used on the original Philips CD-i game. This one is way better because this one has a… a… green lamp! Heh heh. “Dare to get caught!” Actually, you can’t get caught
peeping, so just ignore that. But, dang, I’m sure some marketing person
enjoyed writing it on the back of this box. “60 minutes of exciting full-motion video,” depending on your definition of excitement. “Nine villainous characters
played by Hollywood actors!” You’ll note that it never said
*good* Hollywood actors. Inside the box, you get the multi-language manual covering the multi-features of this multi…media, a Voyuer poster showing some side-boob, overlaid with one of the Ten Commandments– that’s… refreshing– and the game itself on a single CD-ROM featuring the all-important Voyeur code inside. We’ll get to what that does promptly. Installing the game is usually quite the freaking hassle, on a real DOS computer at least. It not only requires running mouse,
sound and CD-ROM drivers, but 580K of free conventional memory and 1024K of free expanded memory. This kind of crap is the bane
of a DOS user’s existence. Made especially more aggravating if you’re
trying to run the game under MS-DOS mode in Windows 95 or 98. Once you get all this crap sorted out, the game starts by showing the universe with frickin’ lasers shooting
into a frickin’ Interplay logo. [Duke Nukem voice]
Oh, that’s a nice looking logo. You’re then asked to enter
the code to play the game, with the idea here being to keep youngsters from actually getting into it. But the default code is 3333 for every single copy of Voyeur, And even if it’s been changed,
you can just modify the VOYEUR.DAT file and perv out all day long! Ya horny kid! Whatever. Enter the code and you’re greeted with a misguidedly thematic Voyeur logo, followed by one of the raciest and
cheesiest scenes of the entire game. Uh, j-just watch. [eerie violins play] [woman sighs] [birds chirping] [yelling] WOMAN: Looking for me? – Now take it easy with that thing, lady–
– Shut up! [man panting] WOMAN: Put these on! MAN: What are you gonna do?
What are you gonna do? [shirt ripping] WOMAN: Anything I want. [music swells, heavy breathing] [woman laughs] LGR: O-kay… I’m not sure if this is creepy or arousing, or… creepily arousing. After this entirely pointless scene ends, you’re dropped into an apartment
and told some basic tutorial stuff by some dude on the answering machine. [beep] DUDE: Listen carefully. This’ll be
the last time I can contact you. We’ve got to stop Reed Hawke. Everything you need is in the apartment. You’ve received the dossiers
on the different family members. And the video camera’s
set up and ready to go. LGR: It’s from this room that
the entire game takes place. You can use the camera
to view Hawke Manor, review any recorded videotapes, send tapes to people as evidence, or call the police. At the beginning,
you’ll also have the option to watch a delightfully
campy news report on TV, which acts as a brief on the Hawke family. WOMAN: …how his Zachary must
feel after his sudden promotion off the missile defense system project. Just in time for it to propel dear
old Dad into the White House. Getting a little chilly in Daddy’s shadow, Zach? LGR: [mimicking]
(indistinct) …play with my pearls, huh? [whine] Okay, as you can probably guess, the entire game revolves around this Hawke family. Using the magic video camera
installed in your apartment, it is your job to spy on them and dig up dirt. The patriarch of the family, Reed Hawke, is a presidential candidate with a shady past, played by none other than the
late Dr. Breen, er, Robert Culp. He does an excellent job of
playing the dubious politician, and as a character you
genuinely want to see answer for his crimes before the game is done. Unfortunately, there are eight other people of way more dubious
acting skills to keep up with, many of which are family members
who have a chance to end up murdered. Through a similar mechanic used in
games like Night Trap and Double Switch, it is your job to peek in the windows
of each room of the Hawke Manor in order to prevent this murder, or at least catch the murder on tape. for your own personal snuff collection– er, uh, to give to the cops. Each time you play the game,
the murder victim is randomized, so while the vast majority of
the cutscenes are the same, there is some variation to the game. If you think you found incriminating evidence, you can pack up that videotape at any time and send it to the character to warn them of their impending demise. Of course, if you’ve done this
without having enough evidence, then Reed Hawke will send his
hitman secretary… woman to your door to threaten you with bad acting. WOMAN: You came close, huh? Yeah… very close! Compliments of Mr. Hawke. [muffled gunshot] LGR: Uh, I think you missed. I’m still… standing here. Yeah, yep. Still standing. You might wanna shoot again? No? Okay, well, give Hawke my best regards! Aw, game over anyway? What the balls… When looking through the video camera, different icons will appear over each room. These show that either
video, audio or physical clues may be found within the room. The magic video camera allows
you to peek into each room and look at everything in real time. That is, if you’re looking at a clue in one room while a conversation is happening in another, you’ll miss out on the conversation. The entire game takes place in
chunks of real time over a weekend, so you’ll be presented with different
times of day to watch the family members. The battery meter on your camera signifies how long is left
before the next time of day change, so you’ll want to make sure
that you see the proper scenes and clues before time runs out. Personally, if it were me, I would just plug my camera into the wall, but, hey, we’ve got to have some sort of
contrived method of limiting the game, right? Oh, and I’m saying “magic video camera” because, seriously, how the crap does a video camera see notes laying on a table from this angle? Or interact with a computer? Or flip through a set of files? Man, I guess they truly just
don’t make ’em like they used to. As hinted at by its marketing blurbs, there is nudity and simulated sex in Voyeur. In a PG-13 kind of way. Honestly, it’s just so melodramatic and downright silly, it’s hard to find it very sexy at all. In fact, a lot of it’s just… really strange. WOMAN: Howl it! [man howls]
– Yes! LGR: Yeah, he’s a… He’s acting like an animal. The hammy sex scenes, and the
rest of the game for that matter, play out like a particularly bad early-
afternoon, low-budget soap opera. There is no illicit sexual content. Frick, I’ve seen racier content in a Sears catalog. Unlike the second Voyeur game which handles more boobs
than an L.A. plastic surgeon, but that’s a game for another day. This Voyeur does earn its mature rating, though, but only for its usage of strong profanity and adult subject matter. Lots of F-bombs, dirty talk, incest, talk of pedophilia,
acted out murder scenes, and more really pushed
the boundaries in 1993. As well as this scene where a lady seems to be gleaning
some downright confusing pleasure from this flower and dirt. [woman softly moaning] You know, I’ve always wondered where
I would draw the line, and I just found it. As for the gameplay itself, well, there really isn’t much to speak of. You just wait for an icon to appear over a window, watch what happens and hope you
don’t miss something in another room. If you do, no big deal.
You’ll probably get the information later. It’s not until the last act of the game
that you really get to do much of anything. when the murder happens,
or is about to happen. Once this comes around, you either try to
save the victim by mailing them a tape, or just call the police and
give the evidence of the murder to this *absurd* parody of a detective. DETECTIVE: …Reed Hawke was capable o’ dis! But dis tape nails him! We’ll take it from here. LGR: And… that’s it. Play it again if you want to see another murder or catch a scene you missed, but the vast majority of the
footage is the same each time. You can’t save the game at all, either, so you have to play it through all the way to see any further endings, and hope like crazy it doesn’t
freeze or crash on you. Thankfully, the game is only an hour long at most, so it’s not a huge pain to sit through
all of the awful dialogue again. In fact, it’s not a huge
pain to play the game at all, and I found myself surprisingly drawn into its story. While the characters are pretty much entirely stupid, and it revels in its extreme campiness, there’s something about it that
just kept me wanting to play, if only to see what happens next. Granted, this feeling hugely
diminishes each time I play it, but the first time or two is actually kind of fun. I’d actually recommend giving Voyeur a shot if you don’t mind turning off
your cynicism for an hour. It’s blatantly silly, and some of the acting is embarrassing, but if you’re into that sort of thing,
then it is actually a fun little trip to ’90s FMV Land. [electric shock, man yells] MAN: Make sure it looks like an accident.

100 thoughts on “LGR – Voyeur – DOS PC Game Review

  1. I bought this for my Philips CD-i not too long ago, it was only 1 euro but it seems like I really should play this.
    The acting is that typical FMV-acting which is just hilarious. xD

  2. Yes, now that you say it, I do. I only have the seventies series on DVD but I've seen the later episodes a couple of times. I've been meaning to complete my collection with these but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  3. I love how the game takes exactly 1 second to get the woman from clothed to semi-naked. Also I propose an Oscar for the script writer. 😀

  4. The girl in the "campy news report" played Carolyn in Babylon 5: The Gathering. Blaine Baron. Just in case you needed that information.

  5. I like the idea, digging dirt and figuring out a murder in progress, but geez, that Oscar quality acting.

  6. So I have not seen the more kthan 2 and half minutes of this video yet and I want this game! Interplay was awesome back in the day and this sounds like more of it! Back to watching!

  7. Am I the only one that got short of breathe when he said it needed 580k of conventional memory AND 1M of expanded memory?  God, I'm getting serious config.sys and autoexec.bat flash backs.  I think I legit got PTSD from every time I ran a shareware bundle only to be greeted with "not enough memory."  Sadly, I only had a handful of full verison games in those days…

  8. Hot girl defrocking next to Grace Zabriskie's name. My boner wants to die, but yet my brain is saying "Twin Peaks" and all I can think of are, well…

  9. I always loved this debate from the generation that had cigarette adds in their xmen comics. Mk was deemed too violent though I convinced my mom that street fighter had blood too witch I guess was some how valid. Then I went to my room to watch my copy of Halloween 4 and freak myself out.

  10. "Yeah, uh…he's acting like an animal."That line never fails to make me laugh, especially the way you deliver it, LGR. That's the funniest moment of the review.

  11. You did not get the point of the game and why acting is so cheesy. Essentially they wanted to make people get into a TV soap opera. For its time quiet innovative and playable game. Unfortunately, they were limited with technology and budget, so they had to cut the story short. Acting was intentionally cheesy to create feeling of low budget soap opera.

  12. Nothing like a rape scene to get you into the mood for videogaming. /sarcasm

    And yeah it doesn't matter what gender the perpetrator is, it's messed up.

  13. I have this game its great, @LGR have you reviewed Voyeur 2?

    Voyeur 2 is far superior and has more explicit sex scenes

  14. When I said I wanted a game that looks like the Amazing Bulk, I didn't think they'd put amazing bulk in the film as well! whistles.

  15. i had this game when i was a kid, but did not know how to play it lol. was far to young to play this but my parents let me play anything. we had it on the cd-i.

  16. Robert Culp really fell hard after I Spy didn't he and no I'm not talking about the piece of crap movie with Owen Wilson or the Children's Book either I'm talking about the original TV Series I Spy. Which featured Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.

  17. 8:30 – Hey look, its CSI's "zoom in and enhance"! So is this where the creators of CSI got that from? Haha.

  18. i find it sad that night trap of all things was considered enough of a scare for the ratings systems.
    ….even mortal kombat might be a bit of a stretch.
    you know what is ACTUALLY worth the eserb scare, but somehow flew under those assholes noses?
    …waxworks for ms dos.
    ……look up the death scenes in that game. just…. don't blame me for the nightmares you will see.

    and yes i AM hoping for a halloween review of waxworks from you, lgr.

  19. I must admit, I played through both Night Trap and Double Switch. I don't know why. Okay, Double Switch was at least decently amusing.

    …I must take a shower now.

  20. Would it be too flatterin' on the game to say that the Soundtrack reminded me a good deal of Resident Evil 1? Then again, heavy on cheesy acting so…

  21. I used to play this game. Being 9-10 years old, not understanding English too well, I still loved the game.

    Tropic thunder starring Hulk Hogan was a badass game too 🙂

  22. I'm Italian and trying to learn English accents, so I'm taking a guess, tell me if it's correct… are you Australian? 😀

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