Although I played the first season of “The Last Door” a while ago, the second season was too expensive at the time. Fortunately, sometime around last Halloween, I noticed that it was on sale on GOG, so I picked it up – eager to see how the second season would end.
Before I go any further, I should point out that although this game contains a short recap at the beginning, you should really play season one of “The Last Door” before playing this game. Likewise, ideally, you should probably play both games directly after each other. Since I waited a few months between the two seasons, I probably forgot a few smaller plot details.
This review will also contain some SPOILERS.
Anyway, let’s take a look at: “The Last Door Season 2: Collector’s Edition”:
“The Last Door: Season 2” is a retro-style point-and-click horror game that has been clearly inspired by the works of H.P.Lovecraft. In the second game, you (mostly) play as a psychiatrist called Dr. Wakefield, who is searching for Jeremiah DeVitt from the first season.
Like with the first season, this game is divided into four 1-3 hour “episodes”, although you can’t select them individually in the way that you used to be able to in season one. But, like in the previous game, each episode starts with a short playable segment that often doesn’t make sense until later in the episode.
Episode one is titled “The Playwright” and it takes place in Victorian London. You get to explore a creepy old insane asylum and search the seedier parts of London for DeVitt’s friend DuPre.
This episode is fairly similar in tone to the first game, although there are slightly fewer dramatic scares. Likewise, from what I can remember, the puzzles in this episode are (mostly) fairly logical and self-explanatory.
Episode two is titled “My Dearest Visitor” and it takes place in a seaside town called Wickport. Joined by his colleage, Kaufmann, Wakefield travels to the home of his old professor in the hope of finding some answers.
But, the years have not been kind to the professor and he is suffering from dementia. It is up to you to find things to jog his memory and to unveil clues to the many puzzles in his strange mansion.
Yes, puzzles! Lots of them! And that’s just the mansion (you also get to explore the town, a graveyard, some ruins and some caves too). As regular readers of this site know, I am terrible at adventure game puzzles. So, I had to look repeatedly at more than two walkthroughs to get through this chapter.
Ironically though, none of the walkthroughs told me the solution to one of the puzzles. I was literally about to give up in frustration when I suddenly thought “Four spheres! Four statues! Duh!“. Trust me, it makes sense in context. Still, the puzzles in this episode are occasionally of the classic nonsensical “point and click” variety.
For example, in order to reveal a hidden message in a bathroom mirror, you have to cover it in steam. The game gives you a clue about this. So, you explore the mansion and notice a gilded pipe leading from the bathroom to a wood-burning stove in the kitchen. Simple, you think, just light the stove and then turn the hot tap on (after all, the bathroom contains a radiator, so it should have hot water too). But, no, this does nothing.
After a few minutes of frustration, you’ll probably check a walkthrough and learn that you have to go pixel hunting for a kettle (which is a collection of pink, red or blue pixels on one of several shelves that just give generic descriptions when you look at them). Once you’ve found the kettle, it then has to be heated on the stove and taken upstairs (quickly) to the bathroom. Oh joy!
Although episode two isn’t quite as creepy as what I can remember of the first season, it certainly has it’s moments. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the ending to this episode is probably one of the scariest moments in the game.
Episode three is titled “The Reunion” and it takes place on a small Irish island. This is probably the most atmospheric episode of the game and it has clearly been inspired by “The Wicker Man”.
This episode is probably the creepiest of the four, with mysterious statues, fog-shrouded villages, masked people, creepy children, lurking horrors and spooky ancient legends. Likewise, the puzzles in this episode aren’t that bad. Yes, I had to use a walkthrough a few times, but I actually managed to work out a couple of them without a walkthrough.
Episode four is titled “Beyond The Curtain” and it is probably the most visually spectacular of the four episodes. Just look at this cool Salvador Dali-inspired location:
Taking place in a strange realm, you get to revisit a couple of locations that look like something from the first season. Creepy shadows lurk in every corner, giving you flashbacks to some of the first season’s backstory. This episode is probably closest in tone to the first game and there are some brilliantly creepy moments here:
But, although this is more of a ‘storytelling’ episode, the designers have insisted on adding a few ridiculously challenging puzzles. Luckily, I had a walkthrough on hand, but if you
hated loved the fog puzzle from the first game, then you’ll get to see something similar here. Likewise, knowing how to play the piano and read sheet music is possibly a requirement for one of the puzzles if you don’t have a walkthrough.
This episode also has two possible endings, which revolve around a decision that you have to make at the end of the episode. From what I can gather, both endings are intentionally ambiguous – with no clear “good” or “bad” ending. Plus, as you might expect, the ending leaves more questions than answers.
The collector’s edition also includes a very short “minisode”. This contains little more than two or three minutes of gameplay, and only a tiny amount of interactivity. It’s a cool addition, although it pales in comparison to the larger number of minisodes in the first season.
Like with the first season, the sound design in season two is absolutely spectacular. Not only is there lots of brilliantly ominous classical music, but a lot of the horror in this game comes from the astonishingly realistic creepy sound effects (eg: mysterious whispering, foreboding footsteps, screeching birds etc..).
All in all, the second season of “The Last Door” isn’t quite as good as the first one. Yes, you get a lot of answers to questions that the first game poses, but it isn’t quite as scary or atmospheric as the first game was. Yes, there are more areas to explore and each episode actually feels like a small adventure game in it’s own right (complete with fast-travel maps in a couple of episodes). But, it lacks some of the drama, scariness and thrills of season one.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would maybe just about get a four.