I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (lost uncut version of PC adventure game; 1995)
|Cover art for the game/character select screen.|
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a horror/science-fiction adventure game that was released in 1995 on PC, developed by Cyberdreams and Harlan Elison. It is based on Harlan Ellison's short story of the same name.
The game has a reputation of being disturbing and depressing, but there is evidence that shows that it was even more so before its official release.
The story is set a hundred of years in the future. All of humanity has been killed by a mad, extremely powerful and hateful sentient computer called AM (Allied Mastercomputer). He has kept alive five people that he has tortured for all this time. One day, he decides to send them in virtual worlds where each one of them is forced to confront their tormented past or their inner flaws.
They are Gorrister, the suicidal trucker who is remorseful about having driven his wife mad; Benny, the hideously deformed soldier; Ellen, the female engineer who has a phobia of the color yellow; Ted, the paranoid young estate agent; and Nimdok, the elderly German doctor.
Evidence of the original uncut scenes
The British TV show GamesMaster (running 1992-1999), in 1995 did a "Gore Special" episode where they'd showcase gory/shocking moments from video games. One part was focused on I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (that they erroneously refer as I Have No Mouth, but I Must Scream).
In it, they show scenes that don't appear in the finished product:
- The meat locker in Gorrister's scenario has human bodies hanging on the hooks. The official release replaces two of these bodies with slabs of beef meat instead.
- A puppy is featured in Gorrister's scenario, in a close-up that takes the whole screen. It looks sickly and Gorrister seems to be able to bring it back to health; the commentators say that it is done by feeding a human heart, showing the stabbing of Harry (which is not cut in the end product), and that the puppy would help Gorrister on his quest. The puppy seems like it would have been on the airship, among the other caged, electrocuted animals. The official release has a talking jackal to whom Gorrister must feed a heart, that can be human or not.
- Ellen's "death" screen where she is attacked by a menacing thinly, bald figure, in front of a yellow stone wall. (shown as shadows cast on a wall as most "death screens" in the game). The official release has a similar scene where Ellen is attacked by her resurrected rapist, but the shadows and the wall are different, as he is wearing a janitor uniform and the attack is set in a modern elevator. It is possible that the rapist was to originally appear as a mummy, since Ellen's scenario is set in an Egyptian pyramid, some evidence of embalming remaining around and she enters a sarcophagus to confront him.
- Benny eating a baby. In the official release, Benny can find an empty cradle in a cave. The beginning of his scenario has him extremely hungry and trying to eat whatever he can find, but usually vomiting it back with blood.
Possible deleted subplot
The developers have also revealed that they intended to have Benny depicted as gay, just as he was in the original story (before being forcibly turned heterosexual by AM's brainwashing).
No direct mention is made of this in the final version, except for a few details that hint at a plotline being cut:
- Benny shot his soldiers for finding out a "secret" involving Private Brickman.
- He must show the latter "compassion" by planting a fruit that blooms into a flower on his grave.
- The same fruit later shows up in the last level as a symbol of "love" that Benny has to give to a projection of his wife Manya who says that she never knew he loved her.
This strongly implies that, in the early versions, Brickman was Benny's secret gay lover and he shot him and the others to hide it.
It is possible that some of these scenes were deleted in fear of causing controversy, for pacing or atmosphere reasons.
Whatever it is, a playable version of this game with the extended scenes has never been found or mentioned.