Updated: 22 May, 2013
The Mansion of Hidden Souls was a 1993 Vic Tokai release for the Sega CD. It was a fantasy adventure game with elements of horror predating both the Resident Evil and Clock Tower series. Like RE, Mansion is pre-rendered and voiced-over, and like Clock Tower, you are a child exploring a large manor. Clearly, these elements would become mainstays (and cliches) of the survival horror genre, but back in 1993, it was new ground. And for its time, The Mansion of Hidden Souls (Sega CD) wasn't all that bad graphically.
The Mansion of Hidden Souls for the Sega Saturn, however, is a different game, with different characters in a completely different story. The Sega CD version, which I also have reviewed, was about a boy and his sister wandering into a haunted mansion. And the Sega Saturn version I'm reviewing here was about...well, I'm still not sure what the hell it was about. I guess you could describe the Saturn version as a remake of the SCD version, but a horrible one. (Graphically, this is an ugly game.) There is only one short level, and your tasks make little sense.
The entire story, which you can beat in less than two hours, is a whodunnit with one predictable twist. Once you solve this 5th-grade level mystery, you are magically transported to a place called "the sanctuary" where two hitherto unknown characters are suddenly introduced as cosmic forces that keep the Mansion in balance. There is no reason for anything in the plot. And really, there is no reason for this game to exist.
Again, the Sega CD version of this game from 1993 is actually quite good, and it does have a coherent story with multiple environments and better puzzles. If you'd like to read my review for that game, please click here.