Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD

The gatekeeper serves as your host in this interactive game of fear and nerves. Move around the board ...
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Added on 12/08/2008
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Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD 4

The board is actually sort of a combination of both NIGHTMARE and ATMOSFEAR: THE HARBINGERS (will be referred to as just ATMOSFEAR in the rest of the review, not to be confused with this game, ATMOSFEAR: THE GATEKEEPER). You have one clockwise outer track like NIGHTMARE with DUEL, FLIGHT, TIME, KEY and HEADSTONE spaces. There is also one new CURSED KEY space (more about that later). There are six paths leading to the center, but with a central path like the RING ROAD in ATMOSFEAR. You can use the inner track at any time to move both clockwise and counter clockwise, but if you don't have all 6 keys and the GATEKEEPER or a card catches you, you are punished. The board is divided and color coded into 6 PROVINCES (now REALMS), but they are not rearrangeable or flippable like in ATMOSFEAR, nor are there multiple branching paths and dead ends. The GATES are also absent from this iteration. Each province has a single KEY space, so it seems to be a bit harder to collect them and you'll find yourself going around the track several times to land on it. The presentation gives more weight to colorful and family friendly graphics as opposed to the dark and gritty style of the other games. Even the character art has an almost cartoonish feel.

The rules are basically the same as ATMOSFEAR other than starting out as a HARBINGER on their corresponding HEADSTONE at the beginning and skipping past the first 10 minutes of being NUMSKULLS trying to claim a PROVINCE to become a HARBINGER. This is also much like NIGHTMARE and the game is 49 minutes long as opposed to 60, perhaps to compensate for this. This means no SOUL RANGERS and no SEWERS. Dice are used for DUELING instead of the custom DUEL CARDS that were used in ATMOSFEAR and KEYS no longer give your character specific abilities, you have all of the abilities to start off with other than OCCUPATION (which is absent) and freeing yourself from a BLACK HOLE which you can do with your own KEY. It should also be noted that the TIME cards from NIGHTMARE make a return, and rather than the GATEKEEPER being the one to give them out all the time they have spaces on the board. Boy are there a lot of TIME cards in play and a lot get activated at the same time. For instance, one card may say to scream at 21:45 and anybody you scare has to give you a key, yet another person will have a card that says if anybody screams at 21:45 give them the card to tell them they have been banished...kind of clever. The only new feature is the black CURSED KEY. There is a black space on the board and whoever lands on it has to take the KEY. If you have the CURSED KEY, you can not win. You must pass it off to an opponent by losing a DUEL and having them take it, or by landing on the same space. Winning is a little different this time around. You don't need to roll the exact number to land on the WELL OF FEARS space and you don't need to roll a 6. You just wait for your next turn to draw a slip of paper and if it IS your WORST FEAR, then you win the game.
A major bonus is a short rundown of the rules on the actual DVD. Definitely helps when you want to play with friends who can't focus on the paper rules.

The random and varied play of the DVD is the one major unquestionable improvement. In the VHS versions, you play it once...then the spontaneity is gone forever. Now each game plays differently and there are even segments where you are asked to make selections with the DVD remote.
The CGI can be a little cheesy in parts but it's mostly good production values. I much preferred the practical effects of ATMOSFEAR though. The past games had a slightly creepy and unsettling presentation. This doesn't have that feel. As the clock counts down, the camera pans through a bright lava cavern and through crypt tunnels. When you win, you hit the MENU or TITLE button and are treated to a winning message. Much more satisfying than just stopping the tape.

This version of THE GATEKEEPER is quite different and lacks much of the humor and charisma of the original. He just seems to bark orders at you the whole time, although he does crack a few amusing jokes from time to time.

The music and sound effects, although in 5.1 surround are a downgrade, in my opinion. The original game music was just so ambient and built up as it went and put you on edge. The music here ranges from almost a lullaby-like melody to something reminiscent of rave techno music. It's really odd if you actually listen to it.

So in conclusion, what you get is the big plus of the random DVD playback, with the drawback of having a more simplified casual experience that lacks a lot of the soul of the original games. Families and casual players may actually prefer the less confusing gameplay and less intimidating presentation.

What I would have liked to have seen is the original ATMOSFEAR with the VHS tape AND the two BOOSTER TAPES combined into one remastered DVD. That's triple the video footage which could be randomly dispersed.

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Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD 2

Perhaps I'm being to harsh because I'm comparing my experience with this game with the VHS original from my childhood, but this completely disappointed my friends and I.

The original was much funnier, deeper, and it led to a more fun experience. The gatekeeper (DVD host) fails to be as funny, and the overall production seems cheaper. The gameboard its self also seems less interactive. If I remember correctly there used to be gates that opened and closed as time progressed, but now its simply two circular paths to follow. Lastly the game is impossible to win. The gatekeeper combined with the cards that players receive make it brutally hard to reach the center and defeat the game. Good luck getting all the keys needed to win, and once you do get them every card is designed to keep you away from the center.

On the bright side the DVD allows some variety as far as the gatekeeper goes. He now pops up at random times during the game, and has a variety of things to say. And thats about it.

Again it might just be nostalgia getting in the way, but I was extremely disappointed with this game.

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Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD 5

I have owned all the original VHS versions of this game and this one is by far the best. Every game is different now due to the DvD features. I continue to play this game often not only with my adult friends, but with my daughter and her friends.

I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to have a little scary fun, with the right setting, and who enjoys board games in general.

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Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD 5

The game is a little confusing at first, however it is easy to figure out the second time around. The gatekeeper is a little loud but the game is really good fun and keeps everyone on their toes - the game is timed. I own it and all five of my children love the game.

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Atmosfear Interactive Board Game with DVD 5

This game comes with easy instructions on the DVD so you don't even need to go to the paper directions (a hated task). 4-6 players creates the fun; there is a person assigned to be the judge , jury etc (the chosen one) the DVD will keep track of time ; only 49 minutes to accomplish the tasks not to mention the stopping of play by the gatekeeper to make you miss a turn or give another player an opportunity to take your key to slow you down (watch the clock) time cards for special activity to be played when the time is noted on the TV during the countdown; so with all this activity and you trying to move around the board to accomplish all tasks, it creates great fun ; can't wait to play this again and again

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