Return of the Phantom
for PC (DOS)

Wandrell:Popular Vote:
Company: Microprose
Year: 1993
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Based on Other Media / Mystery
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 11096
Review by Wandrell (2010-07-19)

We are on the late XX century, enjoying the opera at the famous Paris Opera House. But there is no peace nor enjoyment, as suddenly a long dead criminal comes back to murder and spread terror. The Phantom of the Opera has returned!

These Microprose graphic adventures all looked good, and decided to try one. And I must say, not only they look different from the usual, they, or at least this one, is original and fun. Very short, that's true, but short and good are a great mix.

Except when someone decides it is way too short, and that the only way to solve this is adding a maze. This was too typical, and feels like a kick on the balls when suddenly you end in middle of maze, one that may take days to complete and requires paper and pen (or just a walkthrough if you are not feeling masochistic).

What's more fun is that you can get three or four (depending on the difficulty, which seems to only affect the maze) colored things which are completely anachronic. You get them, wonder what the hell are they for, and maybe one day you find out they were to traverse the maze more easily. What a joke, like they would be much of a help.

Anachronisms on the twenty century you say? Oh, well, I forgot to say the game goes back the the XIX century. You see, getting knocked out on a nearly deadly accident is a great way to travel in time. Or maybe it's just the coma what you need.

Any way, suddenly you are mixed with the original characters of the story, solving the mystery of the Phantom and finding the present time crimes, that may make you think this is a modern day pastiche instead of “a based on”, have nothing to do with anything.

Still, the game is good. Short, fast and condensed. If they didn't decide to put that damn maze there it could have been much better, but still a great game.

Comments (4) [Post comment]

Mr Creosote:

I always considered it an extreme reaction to the what the press said about Mr Gruson's earlier games: Both Earthrise and Rex Nebular are known for 'unfair' death scenes and very tricky puzzles. He went over the top by making this one too simple, unfortunately. He didn't find the right balance.

Of course, 'easy' Adventures like this one became the norm just one or two years later, so maybe he was just ahead of his time ;)


It's a casual graphic adventure, unlike the hardcore ones we used to love.

I couldn't resist. That is the typical thing you hear nowadays when people say a game is too easy.

The problem with Return of the Phantom is that it looks more like an experiment to see what they could do than a real game. Far too short and few characters. Some don't even seem to do much also. What was the ballerina painter doing here? He just appeared to hint he knew you were from the future.

Mr Creosote:
It's been a few years since I played this one, but apart from the maze, I remember this being very easy. Too easy for my taste. No puzzles to chew on. Has some good stuff in it, too, though, on the whole.