The trailer for IT Chapter 2 just dropped today which got us thinking about Stephen King movies – the good, the bad and the ugly. Sitting somewhere at the top of our list is The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont. Darabont is probably the director who has done best by King over the years and his adaptation of The Mist does the original source material right, turning it into a riotous, 1950’s B-monster movie without any of the schlock.
Of course Darabont’s movie was not the first adaptation of King’s novella. In 1985, Mindscape published an epic interactive fiction version of the story produced by Angelsoft. At the time, the game was available for Macintosh and Apple II, but thanks to the magic of the interwebs, King fans can travel back in time, crack open a New Coke and play “The Mist” in their browsers thanks to archive.org.
Which is exactly what we did.
In the game, the player is one of the hapless New England residents standing in the checkout line at Federal Foods as The Mist appears. As people begin to panic in the supermarket you must survive monsters and other manic characters all while trying to get back to your son Billy who was last seen at the lake with Mr. Eagleton when the mist began to appear.
The Mist is a text parser so it mostly functions by answering Y/N queries, or moving through scenes and locations by using N/E/S/W directions commands.
Sometimes you can type commands like “Follow”, “Look around”, “Talk to them”, and you can pick up some items, but mostly you’re travelling and trying to not get eaten by spiders (we failed in that many times).
Hint: Press the spacebar to move past the “(more)_” prompts.
Fans of the novels will have a blast interacting with recognizable characters such as Ollie Weeks, Irene Reppler and, of course, infamous antagonist Mrs. Carmody.
While The Mist may seem antiquated visually, there were a few surprises that betrayed the game’s complexity. For instance, you may not meet monsters in the same location at the same point in time depending on your moves which leads us to believe multiple scene variations were written and there is true branching on some level.
We’re still playing the game having died many times. And since Archive.org cannot save your progress, you have to start each game all over again, which is super annoying if you are at all serious about finishing.
We predict it would take some days to weeks to find a true path the the game’s single and true ending where you reunite with Billy (unless you cheat and watch a walkthrough). Who knows, perhaps when we get there we’ll post an update to this post.
Until then, give the game a spin and let us know what you think!