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One of the best freeware adventure games I have ever played, 5 Days a Stranger is yet another excellent medium-sized adventure from Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, the freelance author behind such classics as the Rob Blanc trilogy. 5 Days a Stranger is similar to his previous game The Trials of Odysseus Kent in terms of game length, but it is different from all of Yahtzee's previous games in all other ways. Which, given his talents, can only mean good things for us adventure gamers.
In contrast to Rob Blanc games, 5 Days a Stranger is neither a funny nor 'light' game. It is a serious horror/mystery game that is reminiscent of Clock Tower on the console and Alone in the Dark. You play Trilby, a veteran "gentleman thief" who broke into the supposedly empty DeFoe Manor in search of loot, only to find that something is amiss. Soon, you find that you are trapped in the house, and that four other people are trapped as well. Together, you must find secrets of the mansion and get the hell out - before it is all too late.
For a medium-length amateur game that you can finish in 2-3 hours, 5 Days a Stranger is near perfect. The graphics are more than adequate, there are no pixel-hunting puzzles to annoy you, and all the characters - including various DeFoe personnages you will learn about - are interesting. Each of the four NPCs that are trapped in the house with you has his or her own personality and agenda, although it's too bad dialogue choices (which are well-written) are not more adaptive: sometimes after you find a horrible event you can only say "how are you doing" to certain people.
This nitpick aside, the game is a lot of fun to play. The focus is clearly on plot and characters than on puzzles, which are quite easy to solve. The plot is unravelled in an exciting way, with many long cut-scenes and books you can read up on DeFoe history. Despite its cartoony graphics, 5 Days a Stranger managed to startle me a few times - something that speaks highly of how effective it is as a horror game. If you are a fan of Clock Tower or horror genre in general, 5 Days a Stranger will not disappoint.
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5 Days a Stranger screenshot
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