Laplace is a curious game. It came out on the TurboDuo in 1993, and then the SNES in 1995. There was a MSX version in 1989, but I haven’t seen much information about it. I believe there’s a side story game called the Sword of Paracelsus on the PC98 that came out in 1994. There’s some stuff in the SNES game pointing to missing areas or planned quests that were never finished.
As the game goes, it’s an unusual attempt at a horror game. The game is set in the 1920s, and you’re playing an investigator trying to find out what’s going on in a mysterious mansion. The intro dramatically warns you that Benedict Weathertop’s plan must be stopped.
When you begin the game, your investigator replaces one of the premade characters. You quickly get a quest to find a missing girl and the rescuers who vanished.
The manor is dark and ominous. Your MP is basically your sanity and there’s many monsters that attack with terror to try to reduce it. There’s areas you can search that purely exist to terrify your investigators. Other areas are haunted. An early boss is a demon guarding a servant’s room.
There’s some clever ways the game handles money and the like. A Journalist exists in the game to earn money via taking photographs. She or he can also use the flash to blind an enemy. The photographs can be turned in at the hotel for money. Blurred or vague photographs get less or no money at all respectively.
Late in the game, the quests drag out and are confusingly obtuse to figure out. Still, the ominous music and the 1920’s atmosphere is interesting. The attempts to make the game terrifying sometimes leans more on the fustrating side of things, but there is some glimmers of potential. There’s cutscenes throughout the game, and they have a strange artstyle. It looks very loose and sketchy compared to the ingame sprites, or the character portraits. Below is a cutscene when the investigators find the ghost of a tortured man.
The battle system is turnbased and has a limit break system that unleashes special attacks. There’s also a talking system to try to persuade demons to step down. Mostly, your characters will not have the stats to do much against monsters. That’s really a lot of the game. You can, for example, get a lizard man to help you, but usually you don’t have the stats to do it. You can explore the dungeon, but it’s difficult enough to send you out a lot to power up. Due to the difficulty curve, it never really feels like you’re amazingly powerful. While that is good for a horror game, it does make the slow pace feel slower.