I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a traditional point-and-click adventure game based off of a short story written by Harlan Ellison. In the game, the player takes control over 5 different characters through their own individual storylines. The main antagonist is an AI named AM. AM is filled with so much hatred for humanity that he has tortured each of the 5 remaining humans for 109 years. The game actually is AM torturing each character 1 more time by creating individual worlds for them to suffer through.
One difference between this game and most games based on books or movies is that the author of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream had a more direct role in shaping the game. Harlan Ellison was involved in the process of making the game and played a large part in creating the themes and story of the game.
Each character has a fatal flaw which they must overcome or give in to during the course of their story. There is a spiritual meter next to the action window which measures the characters actions during the game. Good deeds or acts will positively affect the meter while evil deeds or acts will negatively affect the meter. AM thrives on evil deeds. The more evil deeds the player does, the more powerful AM gets. The game centers around the idea that humanity, while destructive and immoral, can also redeem itself through self reflection. Based on the player's actions, there are 2 different endings for the game; one good, and one bad.
At some point during the Cold War the USA, USSR and China each constructed huge underground complexes, each occupied by a giant computer designed to oversee a war too complex for any human. At some point, the computers merged and gained sentience, and called itself AM. AM hated humans and waged a global war against the humans on the surface, committing mass genocide. However because of AM's huge intellect, it would be trapped within its own mind, forever bored with nothing to do. Therefore, AM brought the five remaining humans into the underground, torturing and humiliating them for over a century.
After 109 years of torture, AM suddenly tells the humans that it has devised a quest for each of them. This is where the game picks up, as the humans must overcome their fatal flaw in order to escape AM's demented quest.
|Was once a handsome homosexual scientist that AM transformed into a grotesque and massive ape-like creature with a child-like mentality and huge sexual organs.|
|Was once a humanist, idealist, and pacifist. AM turned him into an apathetic hollow being.|
|The only woman in the group. AM turned her into a prostitute for the male survivors to abuse, even the previously homosexual Benny. Afraid of the color yellow.|
|A gifted scientist and troubled soul. His personal journey involves the Nazi concentration camps and the horrible surgical experiments that went on there. Because of the graphic Nazi imagery, this part was removed from the German version of the game; making that version unsolvable.|
|Appears to be unaltered by AM and his personal story is based on delusion and paranoia.|
|The main antagonist of the game. AM was created by man to help in the global war. At one point, AM gains control and systematically kills off the human race.|