(The Horror, the horror...I embrace it...
As you guys probably know my fiancé and me will be moving middle of June to our new apartment. There's still a lot of stuff to take care of (insurance, governmental rent support, buying furniture etc etc) and now last Friday I have applied for a summer job, which puts so much stuff in my head that I have a hard time stopping to think about all of it. Gosh I was close to getting insomnia again last night. I'm really the kind of person who simply cannot stop thinking and worrying about stuff like that even if I know that there's zero to worry about.
Now I'll need something to take my mind off everything for a little while at least and dA has proven very effective for that until now, so I'll be rambling a little to you guys.
I'm comfily settled on my couch with a glass of selfmade ice tea and some Murderdolls
on in the background. And what better to talk about when listening to horror punk than horror games? The consoles between brackets simply mean I have played the games on those platforms, obviously some of them exist on several.
Everything in blue links you to youtube clips to illustrate all my rambling a little.
Let's see, what was the very first horror game I ever played? That must have been Resident Evil 2
(N64) more than 10 years ago. I was still extremely new to 3D gaming in general back then and had only just gotten used to handling 3D controls when I got confronted with RE's fixed camera perspectives and the corresponding controls. It took me like half an hour to even get out of the first two screens and away from the wreck of the burning truck. And then the short cutscenes you get every time you open a door, I was just like what the hell?! It's safe to say it was a COMPLETELY new gaming experience for me but it soon sucked me in. So much that a few years later I replayed the game again with Leon and as much as I hate stressing myself when gaming I attempted an S rank with Claire's B scenario. And yes, I was a lot more successful than I expected. No first aid sprays, no saving and being fast as hell but then the evil alligator in the sewer got me!
Well I haven't tried it again so far but I have planned it for some time in the future.
You have no idea how happy I was when Capcom released RE - Code: Veronica
(DC) and brought back Claire, who - after having played about five REs - is still my favourite character (very closely followed by Wesker). To this day I still get goosebumps when watching the intro to this game
. I've heard some people complain about the fact that the backgrounds aren't just drawn but pre-rendered and the slightly "corny" story but believe it or not I loved exactly that. The surroundings feel more lively and real and though I wouldn't call the story corny I do think the term cinematic describes it rather well. It's just like they put a lot more effort in the story and the characters here than they usually do (wish they'd make a movie about CV instead of all the shit they presented us with so far in RE movies). And yes, I like Steve. xD I absolutely hate his voice and he can be such an annoying little douchebag but I can't help but feel sorry for him in the end. ^^
I'll skip over the other REs a bit faster since none of them has stuck with me quite as much as 2 and CV. Resident Evil 1
(GC) was pretty sweet though I can't say anything about the game has left a long term impression apart from the graphics of the remake maybe (and I'm far from being a graphics whore so it doesn't exactly mean that much to me either). Resident Evil 0
(GC) had a pretty interesting concept what with being able to switch freely between two characters. Yet it hasn't captured me long enough to finish it. Same goes for Resident Evil 3
(DC) which is probably the one I like the least.
Now before I go on to other horror games I have to mention that RE actually never scared me that much. The torture chambers in CV and the freaky giant bald dude who follows Claire in her B scenario in 2 caused me some shivers, I admit that but apart from that...not so much. Especially the Lickers
always gave my brother and me a good laugh. Gotta love those little buggers.
I'll completely abandon the chronological order I played the games in now and simply continue with survival horror. One game I really enjoyed is Alone in the Dark 4
(DC). Yet I warn you, stay clear of the movie! It sucks balls! Seriously! Worst movie and worst video game realization ever! But the game is really worth it. Once again though I can't say it actually made me scared, also because the monsters were rather boringly designed and the whole game in general was more puzzle oriented than focused on combat. Which doesn't mean it can't be scary but it simply resulted in the game being rather slowly paced.
A little while before I moved to France my brother gave me Cursed Mountain
for the Wii which is actually an Austrian game so yay for Austrian pride lol! You take the role of a mountaineer who sets out on a journey in the Himalaya to find his lost brother. That alone sparked my interest back then since it's not exactly the typical survival horror setting. I have rarely ever felt so alone and forsaken in any game, it's brilliant how they got the intimidating feeling of the mountains and the abandoned monasteries across. I do feel the game is a little repetitive though, the levels have too little variety and also the enemies become a little boring after a while. It's quite entertaining to fight them though by drawing magical seals with the wii-mote. They do quite like the motion controls in general in that game. There was one point where you had to put yourself into some kind of trance before a boss fight, so while sitting in front of an altar you had to shake the wii-mote while keeping a perfect rhythm and I failed so often at the boss that my freakin' arm got sore after a while and I had to take a break from gaming just because of that. (reminds me of Mario Party 1 which gave me serious blisters on my palms xDD)
Let's just stay on the Wii then. Fragile Dreams
is probably one of the best games I know yet I haven't actually played it lol. I know the whole game because I watched my fiancé play whenever he turned it on and once or twice I picked up wii-mote and nunchuk but I guess it doesn't quite count as a game I played.
You play Seto, a young boy who wakes up one day to find the whole world empty and abandoned, like everybody just left over night. He ventures out to find other survivors of whatever has caused this catastrophe and stumbles across a young girl, who runs away though. The game basically consists of Seto's search for the mysterious girl and the truth about what happened.
What makes this game so brilliant is the incredible suspense it builds up. You explore areas like abandoned shopping malls, amusement parks, hotels or underground train stations and the feeling of being alone becomes more and more oppressive while all you meet are some inhuman spirits that will start attacking you. You get all kinds of companions throughout the game yet none of them is actually human, so it's just a small comfort. And throughout the whole game, you expect...something. You know that behind the next corner you might discover something that will scar you for life, something so unspeakably horrible that you're afraid to open doors sometimes because you don't want to face what's behind. Yet it never comes. Never, not throughout the whole game and this exactly is what I love about the game. It takes a genius to create a game that is so brilliant that even though you never reach the climax you continuously expect you don't regret a single moment of the "pointless" build up. Not pointless in the way that the ending was disappointing because trust me it's not. You'll get a pretty nice revelation. But I really admire the game for being thrice as scary as RE without any slimy monsters or blood spatters or whatnot.
Back to the Gamecube and Eternal Darkness
. Gosh, I love this game so much! Having a Sanity meter on top of the common Health and Magic Bar sounds interesting? Well it becomes even more awesome once you realize that not only will your character fall victim to hallucinations caused by their slipping sanity but so will you. Blue screens that pretend the GC has crashed and deleted all your data, suddenly appearing volume regulation that slowly turns off your sound completely, the perspective starting to tilt more and more until you can hardly see what you're doing and many more fun "incidents".
One of the main things I love about the game tough is the strong inspiration by Lovecraft's Chtulhu myth. Everybody who has read some of his works will love this game, believe me. But wait, it gets better! You can actually choose your main antagonist out of three ancient evil beings (inspired by the Great Old Ones of Lovecraft), which will not only change some cut-scenes but also affect your weakness to either physical, mental or magical attacks and change the amount of enemies aligned with those elements. How could anyone NOT love this game? ^^
Going further back and thus to the N64 (even though I've also played it on the DC) we'll get to my probably most favourite horror game up to date, Shadow Man
. This game seriously scared the frickin' hell out of me. It's honestly the kind of game I almost didn't dare playing when alone at home lol.
It also seems that I cannot listen to the Moonshine Sonata anymore now without thinking of this game, thanks to the intro
. (in German because the German voices just rock)
Well as you can see you take the role of Mike le Roi aka Shadow Man, who thanks to the mask that has been implanted in this chest by a voodoo priestess (not quite voluntarily) can wander between the world of the living and the realm of the dead, where he has to collect dark souls before they fall into the hands of evil. This evil is depicted by a mysterious character using the name of the biblical demon Legion, who made Jack the Ripper and other serial killers and criminals of a similar kind build an asylum in the world of the dead. Which is honestly the scariest place I have ever seen. Virtually I mean. And it's filled with creatures where I already twitch when I just hear them lurk behind the next corner. Hardly any game had me be that reluctant to go on and I enjoyed every single moment of it.
One thing that annoyed me is the fact in the DC version they censored the blood to be green instead of red, which I can never stand. At least in RE 2 they make you choose. >__>Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
(DC) is probably one of the games I regret most not having at the moment. I have always played with my brother's copy but seeing as he's now about 1500km away from me that would be a bit of a hassle.
I think there are several follow ups to it by now, even some where you play as Kain. But I want the original back!
The concept of being able to switch between the material and the spectral plane and the way they are designed is just brilliant. ;w;
Ah mah gawsh, I almost forgot Castlevania 64/Legacy of Darkness
!! Why the frickin' hell are so many people dissing this game? (lol I guess I should partly blame the AVGN) It's awesome, seriously! Sure, the controls are a bit choppy, especially in the jump'n'run parts (it helps to pick Carrie since Reinhardt is too klutzy to properly jump in the first place) but the atmosphere! The atmosphere, I swear! Even though Shadow Man is my fave I have probably played Castlevania64/LOD a lot more often. Listening to the intro music
still almost makes me tear up out of joy. xD
I've played several other Castlevanias (Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, Dracula X) but neither of them has impressed me as much as the N64 ones.
Last but certainly not least one of the few genuinely scary 2D horror games, Clock Tower
on the SNES. Do I need to say more than "Bobby
"? Who would have thought that a midget in a suit armed with a giant pair of scissors can be so fear inducing?
The game really knows how to work with shock effects and the mean thing is that you don't have a health but a fear meter (or well not even really, it's just displayed by your protagonist's picture and the colour behind it) and Jennifer gets scared by almost anything and it's not like they give you something to "heal" your fear, you'll just have to wait until she calms down or she'll die from a heart attack. Which is probably still one of the most humane ways to die, seeing as the game has about 10 different endings and from what I remember 90% of them don't have you get out alive. O__o
One game that is on my Must Have list: Amnesia: The Dark Descent
And now kudos to those of you who were nuts enough to have read all of this.