The Elevator is a daring "escape-the-room" puzzle game, created to compete in 2005's "One Room, One Week", organized by Adventure Game Studio. Like the title implies the contest challenged game creators to develop a single-room game in just one week. Where it comes out as original, and others don't is the location. Not many people would consider the elevator as a place where you could waste your time playing.
Unfortunately, this game is unimaginably short. So short, you can count all the clicks you're going to do only by using your fingers. This is self-explanatory, since you can't even turn the lights on/off in a real elevator - proof of how limited your interaction with the surroundings is.
Judging it out of its context (aka the competition) we're actually left with nothing but the taste of what's supposed to be a game. It's hard to even call it a demonstration. Makes me wonder why has he included a save/load option. At heart, it's a typical point-and-click game: everything is done using the mouse. You switch between actions (look, walk, use, talk) by clicking on the respective icons from the bottom of the screen. You can also analyse items in the inventory.
Trapped in an elevator, you must find a way out. Fact is, it's not that hard. Click on everything, waste all options, repeat and you can get out without thinking. In the end only the order of your actions matter, which, by the way, could be logical from one's point of view, but in this case it includes a nice dose of subjectivity from the author.
To understand what's so special about "The Elevator" we need to look at the source of inspiration. Not only Silent Hill 4: The Room was the base on which he built the game, but it also provided the graphics and the setting, it even shares the same character. I was surprised when I saw Henry Townshend, escaped from his room and the mysterious hole, to end up trapped again, this time in a old rusty elevator. But whatever you might think, it was done in full 2D, screen-capturing original scenes and cropping them pixel-by-pixel to assemble the background image and form the animations.
It seems that making it was a huge task that required meticulous work, and everyone would give credit for this, but other than seeing where is the shadow of Silent Hill stretching its evil branches, there is no point in trying "The Elevator". Being influenced by it, doesn't mean it offers a worthy tribute to the universe that along with Resident Evil eclipsed the survival horror subgenre in the last 10 years. The issue of plagiarism surfaces in my mind too and how the creator could've used an existing title's well-established reputation to gain popularity in the contest, but I'll be sceptical and say it's not the case here. Either way, there is not much "original" art or plot here, more like in some anti-art movements - a complete puzzle of alien elements, that together would become the art itself.
Review by: TotalAnarchy