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DOOM ETERNAL: A Look Into the Future

DOOM ETERNAL: A Look Into the Future

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Everyone in the gaming industry and gamers across the globe have been awaiting the arrival of the DOOM ETERNAL. This will be the sequel to the award-winning and best selling DOOM (2016). The game sadly isn’t slated for release until 12/31/19. Yet still, how’s that for a New Year’s Eve party?!? Fuck Ryan Seacrest, I’m playin’ DOOM ETERNAL!!

The folks at ID Software are back in with the development with of the upcoming game and will be published by Bethesda Softworks. The game that has influenced so many others over the years promises to pack a punch with new weapons, new creatures and of course new bosses. All of which I’m sure will be and from what I’ve seen, will be all over the top!

Doom Eternal also welcomes back, composer/sound designer, Mick Gordon whose sound effects and soundtrack really help bring the game to life! Mick’s work can also be found on such games as Dead Space 3, Medal of Honor “Warfighter”, a few of the Wolfenstein games, and Need for Speed World just to name a few. It is truly amazing the added touches that Mick Gordon adds to these games. So that alone really is something to look forward to with the release.

I grew up playing the DOOM games from back in the day on my original PlayStation. Of course, back then the graphics were, at best, like playing Minecraft (which I fucking hate). It wasn’t so much the graphics back then. Let’s face it – they all sucked. It was the game itself! What I mean is that when I first saw a burning pentagram in a video game, I knew I was going to be a fan!

As technology advanced through the years, so did the graphics on the game, and from what I’m seeing, they are on top of it because the imagery looks fucking sick!

The creators have said DOOM ETERNAL has got something for everyone. The older fans will appreciate that they’ve kept the gameplay the same (first person shooter), as will the younger generation of gamer, but they’ll also be digging the killer graphics. You play as the Doom Slayer and go through what looks like the future from The Terminator, i.e. the aftermath of an intense war, all around you is laid waste, and your mission is to kill and destroy EVERYTHING!

Have a peek!

DOOM ETERNAL will be released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One and costs $59.99 retail. DOOM ETERNAL is available for pre-order through GAMESTOP.COM.
Be sure to check back as I’ll keep you updated on any changes and will definitely be publishing a game review once it is released!

Keep it Evil…


Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, HORROR NEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

GAME REVIEW: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil is back from the Dead!

Game: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Developer: Capcom
Score: 9/10
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the newest Resident Evil game from Capcom. Capcom had a lot of pressure on them to make fans fall in love with the Resident Evil series again, after many were disappointed with Resident Evil 6. After becoming lost in this new game for several hours, I can happily reassure fans everywhere that Capcom did not disappoint with RE7.
With all that said, Resident Evil 7 brings the franchise back to its survival horror roots, but it is a bit different than the older games. That's not a bad thing, because sometime you need to make some changes to revive something that's dying.
You play as Ethan Winters who, after receiving a mysteriously creepy video, heads out to a rundown and frightful looking plantation, to find his missing wife Mia. It is in this plantation where you come across the Baker family, and as soon as you meet them, you will wish you never came across them.
Thanks to the Baker family, and several mutilated and horrifying creatures, Resident Evil 7 will have you on the edge of your seat as you never know who or what is waiting for you around the corner. The scenery is gruesome and adds to the "I've walked into my worst nightmare" feeling.
Along with great characters and scenery, RE7 has great game play (a mixture of guns a blazing action and "Oh no I ran out of ammo again" stealth), an intriguing story, and hard yet awesome boss battles. This is also one of the most bloody and gory Resident Evil games in the series, and that's not a bad thing at all!
Another thing I love about this game is that I see so many elements of horror movies brought into this game. The Baker family seems like they could be straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Devil's Rejects. I see influences from Saw, as there are crazy tortuous puzzles involved in this game. You can also tell that Resident Evil 7 was took note of the success of the Silent Hill PT demo and brought elements of that into the game. This all helps make the game even more fun.
Now as much as I love this game, its not perfect. It was a bit on the short side, coming in at 8-10 hours of game play and the ending was a little lackluster. It had a lot of build up for an ending, but it didn't necessarily deliver. Overall though, Resident Evil 7 is a survival horror game that will scare you, excite you, and make you fall in love with Resident Evil all over again.
Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
VIDEO GAME REVIEW: LOST REAVERS

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: LOST REAVERS

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By Nick Durham

Well, this is something. Lost Reavers is a free to play multiplayer game published by Bandai Namco and is exclusive to the Wii-U (at least for now). The game is currently in beta (or at least it really feels like it is) and you won’t find many other games like this on the Wii-U at all. Is that a good thing though? Well…let’s find out.

The gameplay of Lost Reavers revolves around you choosing one of four characters to play as. Each character is equipped with a melee weapon and a firearm, and the quick tutorial shows you pretty much everything you need to know. You’re tasked with clearing various rooms, wiping out zombies and other monsters, and recovering relics and bringing them back to your extraction point. Up to four people can play at once, but it really doesn’t make a difference if you have a partner or two or go solo: the game is a breeze, and a pretty boring one at that too.

The game’s environments are bland and its character models stock and stale. There’s a few puzzle-ish elements but they don’t amount to much in terms of challenge. It can become really easy to get swarmed with enemies yet there’s never really any sense of urgency. I know that sounds pretty nonsensical, but the enemy AI is literally all over the place. This is one of the reasons I say Lost Reavers still feels like it’s in beta: the twitchy AI and overall blandness just makes it feel incomplete. The control is pretty twitchy too, and more often than not pretty delayed.

The gameplay itself is just run around, shoot/hack shit, find the relic, run back to the exit. You may occasionally have to heal someone in your party, but probably not because there isn’t much here in terms of challenge. Then again, this is a free to play game, but most of those kind of games at least usually offer something in terms of addictive gameplay to keep their audience hooked and sinking money into them. That’s why fucking Candy Crush made billions of dollars after all. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Lost Reavers getting to any levels like that though. Even if this game was on better selling consoles than the Wii-U or even on the PC, I doubt many would give it a shot.




So yeah, the fact that Lost Reavers is free to play is pretty much the only reason anyone should even consider checking it out. You’ll definitely play worse games in your life than this, but you’ll certainly play better ones too. Check it out for yourself if need be, but otherwise, don’t even bother wasting your time.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Urban Legend: Polybius

Urban Legend: Polybius

By Margeaux DeMott 

 

Polybius

In 1981 a couple of Portland Oregon’s arcades received a new gaming cabinet. This gaming cabinet was called Polybius by Sinneslöschen. People who played the game said that it was anything from an abstract, fast action game with puzzle elements to a shooter, puzzle game with mazes or even a combination of both. The gaming cabinet quickly became popular despite the awful side effects that the game caused. There were reports of kids experiencing amnesia after playing the game and that’s not the only thing this mysterious cabinet caused. Players could have suffered a litany psychoactive effects like insomnia, stress, and night terrors. Along with these disturbing side effects were reports of men in black coming into the arcades that Polybius called home and collecting data from the cabinet. They never asked for the coins that Polybius took from its unsuspecting players. No one really knows what kind of data they were collecting. Rumor has it that the game was built by a military off shoot group for behavior modification purposes. Wouldn’t be the first time the government tested something on the public. Two months after the Polybius cabinets were installed they were gone; never to be seen again. Some of the people who played the game stopped playing video games completely and one even became an anti-video game activist.

Polybius cabinet

The first appearance of this urban legend online is from coinop.org. The entry was made August 3rd 1998 and was last updated on May 16th 2009. The original poster claims to have a ROM image. For those of you who don’t know a ROM image is a computer file that has the data from a read-only memory card. The only information that they have pulled from the image were text: insert coinpress 1 player startonly© 1981 Sinneslöschen

The non-believers

Brian Dunning of Skeptoid believes that Polybius never existed. He claims that the legend of Polybius came from an early release of a game called Tempest. The early release of this game caused the player to experience vertigo, motion sickness and caused issues with photosensitive epilepsy. On the same day in Portland in 1981 in the SAME arcade two people fell ill after gaming. Michael Lopez was playing Tempest which caused the him to develop a migraine. The second person was 12 year old Brian Mauro who suffered from stomach pain after playing Asteroids for 28 hours straight. Brain Mauro was trying to break the record while local television crews looked on. The combination of too much soda and anxiety probably led to the young boy's stomach ache. Brain Dunning points out that only ten days after those two incidents the FBI raided some video arcades in the area, however, they weren’t there to collect data they were there to investigate reports of illegal gambling.

Snopes believe they have debunked the Polybius in a way that is reminiscent of how a tired parent tells their kid there is no monster in the closet or under the bed. Lazily. They just throw it at the bottom of a “hoax round up” article.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 0 comments
VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

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By Nick Durham

As one of the apparently few owners of a Wii-U on the FUCKING PLANET, any time I see a horror title on Nintendo's downloadable e-shop, I end up downloading it. The Letter, Molly Maggot, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water...I fall for it every fucking time. And you know what? I end up hating myself almost immediately after I play it. Some shit never changes. Chasing Dead really isn't any different either in all honesty, although it winds up being better than all those aforementioned games (except for Fatal Frame) , but it still ends up being a bit of a mess.

Chasing Dead is a first person shooter where you play as a cyborg-ish dude named Jake, and you're tasked with mowing down shitloads of zombies. Along the way you get some help from an assistant named Luna (who is filmed in live action, which kind of makes this feel like a Sega CD game from fucking 1993) and there's a super confusing plot involving multiple earths and other ridiculous shit that really has no place in a zombie FPS, but I digress.

The game itself looks like...well, it's kind of hard to describe. There's moments where Chasing Dead looks pretty good...and then it gets choppier than shit due to its piss-poor frame rate. Sometimes during gameplay things appear to be going pretty smooth, and then if anything gets frantic, forget about it. The frame rate drops and the character models glitch, and it doesn't take long for the whole thing to become a mess. The shooting mechanics aren't too bad, but the controls are slightly delayed, so it doesn't really help matters at all.

While playing through Chasing Dead, I felt as if a decent chunk of this game just comes off as unfinished, and it turns out I wasn't totally wrong on that either. In addition to being released on the Wii-U, the game was also released on Steam for the PC, with it's original price of 25 bucks dropped to 10. This was due to those behind the game admitting that the finished product isn't exactly...well, finished. Apparently they're going to be tinkering with it more down the line, but honestly I can't imagine this game becoming any better. After all, you put as much lipstick on a turd as you want to, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a turd.

So yeah, you'll definitely play worse games than Chasing Dead, but you'll play far, far better ones too. It's an unfinished and fairly uninteresting and uninspired zombie shooter, and you're better off spending your cash elsewhere. If you're a Wii-U owner looking for a new horror game to sink your teeth into...well, I guess you're still stuck with your copy of ZombiU from 2012.

Rating: 2/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Call of Cthulhu (Video Game 2017)

Call of Cthulhu (Video Game 2017)

Call of Cthulhu was first announced in 2014 with a few screen shots of what would be. Very little else has been heard about the game since then. At the date of its original announcement Focus Home Interactive was working with Frogware studio to create the game. However instead of working with Frogware, Focus Home Interactive is now working with Cyanide Studio to make the game. They both sound excited to be working together on this project.

‘We are happy that Focus entrusted us with the development of a videogame adaptation of the legendary RPG Call of Cthulhu. As long-time fans of the license, working with longtime partner publisher Focus Home Interactive on such an original and exciting project is, once again, a privilege. We hope to offer fans the game they’ve long been waiting for.’
Patrick Pligersdorffer – CEO of Cyanide Studio

‘We are deeply honored to be partnering with Cyanide again. They’ve grown alongside us for the past 10 years, to become today one of the best independent developers in Europe. With titles such as Styx: Master of Shadows and the Blood Bowl series, they’ve proved their creativity and ability to offer strong gaming experiences in original worlds. Cyanide has been wanting to make a Call of Cthulhu adaptation for years. They now hold all the cards to create a game that will please fans of the Cthulhu mythos, as well as players eager for rich and original gaming experiences.’
Cédric Lagarrigue – President of Focus Home Interactive 

We now have new screen shots from Cyanide Studio and Focus Home Interactive along with a website. The website is pretty empty right now, but at least we have one.

callofcthulhu-02

The game is being built in Unreal Engine 4 and will have a semi-open enviroment to play in. Call of Cthulhu is set in a deeply immersive world that uses psychological horror and stealth mechanics to pull you into the experience of the game. As an RPG-Investigation game you are on a mission to find what really happened behind the death of an acclaimed artist and her family on a backwater island. We are promised that we will uncover a disturbing truth as the Great Dreamer, Cthulhu, begins to awaken.

callofcthulhu-01

Stay tuned to House of Tortured Souls. We will keep you up to date with any more announcements from Focus Home Interactive on Call of Cthulhu.

Posted by Alan Smithee in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Dead Island

GAME REVIEW: Dead Island

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By : John Roisland

For a while there I was pretty big into video games. But time gets away from ya, kids take over your consoles, etc. Dead Island was one of the last games I picked up for myself during that time frame. This was a title I had been waiting for!

Brought to us by the folks over at Techland and released in September of 2011, Dead Island brought RPG (role playing game) to life using the dead....or in this case, the undead. The basis, well...they're all pretty much the same aren't they...an outbreak.

This time, you're on a beautiful tropical island at a paradise resort. At the beginning of the game, you are given the option to choose your character, all of course having different strengths and weaknesses. I personally always played as Sam B: a gangster wrapper who gave the title track to the game, Who Do Your Voodoo Bitch. At one point I liked the song so much (lyrically) that I used it for my ring tone for a while.

You play through the game, meeting up with other survivors who ask you to complete different missions earning you more personal points. During your missions you will obviously encounter zombies, so you must arm your self with whatever you can find.  I always enjoyed a broken ore, or using a rusty street sign post. You are also given the option during points of play to make and use make-shift weapons.Also, finding enough spare parts, or bartering for items at the black market, you can also get vehicles running. Now, running over these dead beach bums, I will admit, is fun as hell!

The gameplay is okay, movement over all wasn't bad, graphics were pretty good, and the background scenery was actually very impressive! If you're like me, and you take your time, you can loot through almost everything you find: desk drawers, other peoples luggage, finding anything from batteries, to deodorant, to money. You learn quickly what you can use, and what you can't use.

The game is HUGE!!! Honestly, probably the biggest make I've ever seen.  Now I'm sure some 13 year old who flies through GTA (Grand Theft Auto) could finish this game during a pep rally at school... but like I said, I like to take my time and explore, and there were a lot of options to do so in this game!

Zombies do attack you, but in all honesty, it can be a slow moving game at many points. If you're wanting to run a muck and blow the heads off zombies as you would in Left For Dead, you're in for a rude awakening.  The game isn't bad, but I actually put it in for a replay about a month ago after not having played it in over 4 years, and was almost put to sleep twenty minutes into gameplay.

It's not a bad game, and I commend them on their attempt at bringing us the next best thing in zombie/horror games...but it just lacked a certain excitement. Sorry guys.

4/10

Keep It Evil

Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Molly Maggot

GAME REVIEW: Molly Maggot

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By Nick Durham

I have come to the conclusion that I am indeed a masochist…or at least I think I am. Why else would I keep subjecting myself to shitty games that I find on Nintendo’s E-shop on the Wii-U? My latest find is called Molly Maggot…and good fucking grief, I don’t even know where to begin.

First and foremost, Molly Maggot is a platform game…sort of. You play as our titular heroine (the fucking thing is named Moly, so I’m assuming it’s a she), an adorable little maggot trying to find your way throughout the rotting flesh of a duck…or a bird…I don’t know what the fuck it is because the animated intro is so shitty that all I can say for sure is that the animal has wings. Anyway, your mission is to munch on blocks of flesh and navigate your way to the end of each zone. The blocks of flesh themselves consist of regular blocks and super rotten blocks that can hurt you if you touch them. After you first start munching on the blocks, you realize that each zone is actually like a maze, and due to the ungodly stage designs, you will get stuck and fuck yourself a lot. Not literally fuck yourself of course though, maggots don’t have sexual organs. I think. Wait, do they? Comment below and let me know, I’m too lazy to go look it up right now.

Now in addition to royally fucking yourself by munching the wrong direction (not a euphemism), you also have the ability to jump. This should help you on your quest, but it doesn’t, because the jumping and platforming mechanics of Molly Maggot are so goddamned terrible that I literally can’t put them into words. I was a fucking English major in college, and I CANNOT FIND THE FUCKING WORDS to describe how bad the mechanics are. Add to that the seemingly randomly generated enemies that pop up, piss-poor hit direction, shoddy animation, and the lack of game music, and you have one of the most hilariously awful games you’ll ever play.

So yeah, can you tell I didn’t care for Molly Maggot? It’s bad…like The Letter bad. That game was two bucks too, and I demanded my money back for that…Molly Maggot is so bad that not only do I want my two bucks back, I want my dignity back. This game is an abortion…and that’s me being nice.

Rating: 0/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Final Exam

GAME REVIEW: Final Exam

finalexam

By Nick Durham

Want to beat up a monster with a baseball bat? Or shoot one down with a gun? Or say fuck it and chop one up with a chainsaw? Well now you can with Final Exam. A side-scrolling beat 'em up that can support up to four players at once (and trust me, it helps to have teammates for this game), Final Exam is a somewhat worthwhile dirge for action/horror enthusiasts. Also, apparently this game is somehow part of the Obscure survival horror video game franchise, but considering the Obscure games are 3D traditional survival horror games, and Final Exam totally isn't, you'd never know that upon first glance.

The gameplay of Final Exam is a pretty standard side-scrolling beat 'em up; kind of like the original Splatterhouse, but with backtracking and even more annoyances than it should justifiably have. Playing with others is recommended though, because the enemies are surprisingly tough and take a lot of punishment, and can dish it right back out. Luckily there is an assortment of weapons you can eventually get your hands on, and there's  a decent amount of upgrades for your abilities, etc. No matter what though, multiplayer is the way to go.

Now Final Exam can be some worthwhile fun while it lasts, but it can be severely annoying too. The backtracking isn't fun or rewarding (this ain't fucking Metroid), the enemy types aren't varied enough, and the controls are curiously delayed in their timing. The game does look and sound good though for what it is, which is a cheap, downloadable title for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. The game's stages are lengthy, but the game itself is short. I know reading that makes absolutely no sense, but it's true.

All in all, Final Exam is okay for what it is. If you can find it cheap and have some friends willing to give it a shot with you, I'd say check it out. Just don't expect anything too special out of it.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Escape Dead Island (PS3, XBOX 360)

GAME REVIEW: Escape Dead Island (PS3, XBOX 360)

By Nick Durham

Escape_Dead_Island

Fuck...this...fucking...game.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Dead Island franchise, like severely. I enjoy the idea of what the Dead Island games offer: survival horror on a zombie-infested island where you have to be resourceful and use whatever you can at your disposal to survive. What's always killed those games for me is that they all wind up being the same thing: go from point A to point B (and occasionally point C) to do some shitty fetch quests, stab a zombie now and then, rinse and repeat. Boom. That's Dead Island. Critics and gamers have always been split on the end result of the games, but the series has its fans, and that's all well and good.

And then we have this...fucking...game.

Escape Dead Island is a game that promises to be something different. It's a third person action game that starts out kind of interesting enough, as you play as a sword-wielding ninja taking down zombies in a lab. Plus the graphics are cell-shaded so it looks like you're playing a moving, breathing, comic book. Sounds pretty fucking cool right?

Yeah well, it's not. Like at all. Escape Dead Island is a tiring bore that makes me want to staple my balls to a ceiling fan and turn it on full fucking blast.

The ninja level I mentioned earlier only lasts for the game's prologue, as immediately after you are put in the shoes of the game's toolbag main character Cliff; who is investigating the zombie events taking place on the island from the original game...or an island close to that island...I don't fucking know, it doesn't matter, it's still a fucking island. There's no RPG-ish elements here like there are in the other games, and the action is pretty straight forward, and just plain fucking boring. Customization options are practically nonexistent for anything and everything here too, so yeah...boring.

Now believe it or not, I can get past a game being boring for the most part...if the thing's mechanics aren't broken that is. The mechanics of Escape Dead Island are so damn broken that it isn't even funny. Controlling your character is a chore as most of the time it feels like you're walking through fucking molasses, hit detection is all over the place, and the game's AI  is a joke. Not to mention the stage design doesn't help matters. So many times I lose track of where the fuck I'm supposed to go because everything either looks the same, or because there's no real clear distinction of where the fuck I'm supposed to go. Half of that is due to the blandness of the game's environments, while the other half is just due to shoddy game design. Oh well, at least the game has fluid graphics and the sound design isn't bad. Well, mostly that is.

So yeah, if you like the Dead Island franchise, Escape Dead Island may be worth your time just because it's a spinoff of the series. Other than that though, there's damn little here to recommend for anyone else. If you've ever wanted to play a shittier version of Ninja Gaiden with zombies, then I guess give this a look. For the rest of you, leave this game on the shelf. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drown my sorrows away with bottom shelf liquor.

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

SWEET HOME:
THE BEST SURVIVAL HORROR GAME YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED

By Nick Durham

Sweet_Home_Japanese_Famicom_box_art

Most people tend to think of the original Alone in the Dark as being the first survival horror video game that they can really remember. Resident Evil would end up being the series that would more famously expose the genre of survival horror to mainstream gamers, but did you know that the original Resident Evil was actually originally supposed to be a remake of a game called Sweet Home? Well, it was.

Now you may be asking yourself, what the fuck is Sweet Home? Well kids, sit down, listen up, and crack open a beer or two and I'll tell you a tale: Sweet Home was a game for the Famicom. The Famicom was basically the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. That beloved grey box that we all fondly remember was a bright red and white console (with a disc-based add-on) in its native Japan, and even featured a few bells and whistles (hardwired controllers, a microphone built into the second controller, etc.) that we never got. Anyway, the Famicom had a shitload of games that never made it on our side of the pond, with Sweet Home being one of them.

Sweet Home is a survival horror role-playing game (that in turn is based on a film of the same name), in which you control a party of five characters that must traverse a spooky-ass mansion. You encounter all kinds of nasty beasts and ghosts in random battles (this is an RPG after all), and there's some majorly creepy shit that happens in the process. The mansion itself is like a giant maze, and also features one of the earliest examples of perma-death in a game; i.e. once a member of your party dies, they stay deader than shit. Yes, this game can be totally unforgiving when it wants to be...and can also be super rewarding too.

Now because of its horror nature and mature subject matter, Sweet Home wasn't deemed fit for American NES players, mainly because a majority of them were super young and enjoying the exploits of a certain stereotypical Italian plumber. So yeah, we missed out on a classic game...at least until the internet became a thing. Various playable ROMs of Sweet Home have been all over the place, thankfully with English fan translations. There's also websites you can find that offer up NES reproduction cartridges that feature the English translation of the game, although these will cost you. So with all that in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend checking Sweet Home out however you can. It's an early classic of the genre, and is every bit as good now as it was back then.

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (2015)

GAME REVIEW: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (2015)

By Nick Durham

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I've had a love/hate relationship with the Fatal Frame franchise since its inception. They aren't bad games, not one bit, for me personally, the promise that each game in the series offers gets overshadowed by sloppy mechanics and overall lack of execution. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is no different, although it does offer its fair share of positives along the way.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the Fatal Frame games usually put you in the shoes of a buxom Japanese babe that somehow winds up combatting ghosts and other supernatural elements, using a camera that attacks the spirits by snapping their pictures. The better picture you get, the more damage you dish out. Rinse, repeat. While never a household name of a franchise, the Fatal Frame games have their fan base, and while I kind of shit on it a little bit in that opening paragraph, the games themselves usually end up being fairly entertaining. This game, the fifth in the franchise, is no different.

You play as various characters at different points in the game's story, running around collecting items, solving very slight puzzles, and taking pictures of spooky ghosts. There's a mystery unfolding as the game goes on, taking place on a mountain range that is infamous for being a hot spot for suicides. Things get a tad confusing from that point forward, but I've never played these games for their stories in all honesty. Nevertheless, there is plenty of creepy atmosphere and haunting moments that take place throughout. Quick shots of ghastly apparitions swinging from nooses or leaping off cliffs really help give the game a sense of dread and spookiness. In the atmosphere department, Maiden of Black Water delivers the goods.

The game's biggest strength however also ends up being its biggest weakness. The game takes full advantage of the Wii-U's massive gamepad controller to use as the game's Camera Obscura (i.e., the name the franchise's spectral camera is called), and it uses it pretty well. Aiming and taking shots of the ghosts is simple and fun enough, and in fact this is the best use of the gamepad I've seen done in a long time. I've owned a Wii-U for a long while now, and not nearly enough games for it take advantage of the pad at all. Maiden of the Black Water happily does. That being said, when things get panicky (i.e. when there's a few ghosts teaming up on you), things get kind of cumbersome control wise. While in camera mode, your character can still move around, which is good, but if you back up against a wall, you wouldn't really know it until you realize you're not moving anymore. Then it's drop out of camera mode, and run a bit to give you a little distance between you and the ghosts to finish dispatching them. This wouldn't be that much of a bad thing, were it not for the fact that the character movement controls themselves are really, really fucking clunky. Trust me when I say: when things get hectic, you're going to get frustrated.

Graphically speaking the game looks good and there are some impressive lighting effects as well. The environments are nice and the character models and ghost effects are pretty good as well. From an aesthetic point of view, Maiden of Black Water kicks ass, especially for a Wii-U game. That, and the occasional gratuitous ass shots don't hurt either.

My biggest complaint about Maiden of Black Water however isn't so much the game itself, but how you have to play it. Now over in its native Japan, this game received a physical, disc release. Over here, it's digital only. Now that's really not that big a deal, but considering the game is close to being 10 gigabytes, and the Wii-U itself has a tiny ass hard drive (mine is 32 gigs for fuck's sake), this shit just doesn't fly. Now the one positive to this is that, at least for now, Nintendo is offering the first three chapters to play for free. Once you get through them, you can purchase the full game for 50 bucks if you feel so inclined. Considering that price tag, there isn't enough here to warrant that, at least for me. Plus Nintendo has apparently censored a number of revealing unlockable outfits for the female protagonists, replacing them with Princess Zelda and Zero-Suit Samus outfits instead. My penis weeps.

Anyway, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water isn't a terrible game one bit. Give it a try for free while you can and see what you think. It's not worth the full 50 bucks, at least for me, but you may enjoy it much more than I did. So with all that in mind, give this a shot. There really isn't much in terms of survival horror to find on the Wii-U, and hey, I guess this winds up being better than that other Wii-U exclusive survival horror game The Letter right? That's not much of an accomplishment though, but that's besides the point; getting kicked in the dick by an ice skate is more enjoyable than that fucking game.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Friday the 13th: The Game (2016)

COMING SOON: Friday the 13th: The Game (2016)

By Margeaux DeMott

JV Mask

A while ago we heard about a game called Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp being made by Gun Media with the help of Tom Savini. This game was in the works to be an asymmetrical multiplayer game for the PC, Xbox one, and PS4. inspired by 80s slasher films where you could play as the killer or one of the camp counselors. The group of counselors consists of six or seven players and they have to try to survive in a don't be a hero type of way. Stealth, avoidance, running like hell (or at least faster than everyone else) are all acceptable ways to keep your blood inside your body and all of your bones in their proper alignment. As the killer, you have one job: kill. Sounds like a game most of us would like to play. Plus, it was touted as a volume 1 game, which meant we could have possibly different killers and settings based on other 80s slashers.

Moving forward to October 13, 2015 where we have a new announcement. Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp is now a full-fledged Friday the 13th game. That's right. They got the green light to use Jason, which means that not only do we get to play as a slasher villain, we get to play as fucking JASON VOORHEES in CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE. Oh, and did I mention that they have Kane Hodder to do the motion capture for Jason, and he's coordinating his stunt men so we can have the most epic animations possible. They also have Sean S. Cunningham himself to lend a hand in making the game. Who's doing the soundtrack, you may ask yourself? Well, guys, it's Harry Manfredini. The composer for the original Friday the 13th score, along with countless other movie music works.

Friday the 13th: The Game will have multiplayer and single player. The single player will revolve around scenarios based off of scenes from the franchise. This goes for both Jason and the counselors. There will also be a movie trailer at the end of the matches. Like a game highlights video, which we can share!

You will be able to unlock different Jason character models as well as more camp counselors. There are tiers to the Kickstarter campaign for the game that get you special in-game content. For example, at $65 you get a Kickstarter exclusive Jason character with unique a weapon designed by Tom Savini. Their tier rewards are really well thought out and might make you drool.

Friday the 13th: The Game has an estimated release date of October 2016 when it will be available for the Playstation 4, Xbox one, and PC via Steam. (Am I the only one that hears Steam and hopes it will be open to mods in the future?)

Here's the Kickstarter.

Here's the official website.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: American McGee’s Grimm, S1E1 (2008)

GAME REVIEW: American McGee’s Grimm, S1E1 (2008)

By Margeaux DeMott

Grimm
American McGee's Grimm is quite possibly the cutest little horror story you will find in a video game. When I first started playing Grimm I was thought it was a game for kids. Which kind of confused me, because the only thing I know of American McGee is his game American McGee's Alice. The art work alone for Alice tells you what kind of game it is, and that is: it is not for children. Grimm is quite different. The artwork in Grimm is charming, whimsical, and eye catching. It looks like it could be a children's show. Even the bad designs are fairly cutesy. Don't be fooled dear audience, the game does actually get dark. Well, kind of.

When we first meet our character, Grimm, he is being harassed by two kids. The children ask him to tell them a story and he becomes upset because the fairy tales are too happy. So as the smelliest-curmudgeon-pirate-man around he decides that it is up to him to fix the stories. So we play through the game as if in the middle of the story. Making the fairy tale as creepy as possible. Or rather smelly, stinky, nasty, et cetera. [hey look it's that word that no one ever spells out! -ed] This is accomplished by simply walking around. Seriously. Our cannonball sized character is much like Pigpen except he makes things around him creepy and calls it smelly. There is a gauge of how awful you have made the fairy tale and inside of that gauge there are levels. You need to hit a certain level in order to change bigger pieces of the story. Once you have hit the level the game will instruct you to BUTT STOMP IT on or around the certain part of the area. This progresses your game and allows you to go on to the next episode. The butt stomp is achieved by hitting the space bar twice. Oh glorbs I forgot about the pee! When you aren't moving around Grimm will automatically start peeing. This is used when you need a long jump. Just start peeing and hit that space bar to land where your pee just landed.

That's how it works in real life, right guys?

The voice acting in this game is on point. Musically it's wonderful. They did really well on that whole science of what a human can listen to repetitively without wanting to vomit. Game play wise it is straight forward and easy to pick up.

The first chapter is called A Boy Learns What Fear Is. This is the only chapter I have played so far. The story focuses on a boy who is born without the knowledge of fear. Now this could be because his life is so safe and simple that he never had an experience with fear OR [what I think] because he has a rare brain malfunction that inhibits him from feeling fear. Whichever way it is you are tasked with stalking this young boy to try to strike terror in his young heart. This involves turning children into match sticks, destroying a realm, and hanging some people. Yes, complete with the awful noises of a choking victim. But someone has to do it and who better than you?

You can find American McGee's Grimm on Steam, GOG, and probably a lot of other places on the Internet.

3/5 Creepy fairy tales.

Come watch me play American McGee's Grimm!

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

By Margeaux DeMott

fingerbones

Fingerbones is a very odd, indie, psychological horror game. It is less a "game" and more of a "narrative"... think walking simulator. You just wander around the room clicking on everything you can until you find the next piece of the puzzle. You begin the game in the first room with no weapons or knowledge of what you're really supposed to do. Looking around the room you find some scattered notes. They're written by... yourself - or rather - the character that you are playing. Like a sort of found journal. Using the information from the notes you are able to unlock the other rooms in the game. The point of this is to get the rest of the notes in this safe house to remember who your character is. You are not going to like him. If you do like the character please do the world a favor and lock yourself away forever, and unsubscribe from my YouTube channel.

The first note you find throws a thought into your head screaming "This guy is an asshole!" That thought is correct - but hold on it only gets worse. I can not stress enough how completely terrible this guy is. It really hits harder when you finish the game and think about the contents of those notes. No spoilers needed here. because…

The game only takes about thirty minutes to complete in its entirety. There is no save option so make sure that if you exit you do so on purpose and not accidentally. I did that within the first 5 minutes because I forgot that one of the doors is the game exit. Whoops! The music in it is perfect for this creepy lonely shelter. In the game you can hear eerie sounds of a child. They really ratchet up the tension because you are sure that when you turn around or finish reading there will be an angry something ready to get you. Which makes up for the basic graphics. They're so bad. The whole game looks like Minecraft with a sepia filter. The notes look like QR codes. If you are a graphics snob, then you should not bother with this game.

The game was made and produced by David Szymanski. It is currently available on Steam, IndieDB, and Game Jolt for free. If you have thirty minutes to waste and would like to lose a little faith in humanity then go for it. If you don't want to play it, but still want to know the contents of the notes then you can watch me play it here: Fingerbones Let's Play.

3/5 Oldboy fingers

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Five Nights at Freddy’s

GAME REVIEW: Five Nights at Freddy’s

By Margeaux DeMott

FNAF1
This game is a first for me. I have never played a game in which you are utterly defenseless when faced with the enemy. I'm used to my jump scares being followed by spastic gun fire. In Five Nights at Freddy's (FNAF) there is no, "Oh, but I can just shoot it". You're forced to look into the lifeless eyes of your mechanical murder. Or, in my case, the inside of my eyelids as I scream in helpless shock and fear.

Five Nights at Freddy's puts you into the role of an over-night security guard during his shifts in a Chuck 'E Cheese-like establishment. You have a simple midnight 6:00 a.m. shift, all by yourself, sitting in a security observation post. I mean, you could sit there and play solitaire all night if you wanted to, right? NOPE. As much as you want to play Minesweeper, the mechanical puppets want to shove you inside of them, literally. Which leads to your horrifying death. Seriously, imagine that.

The gameplay is very simple: You have a touchscreen tablet to visually check the various rooms in the building and two doors with a Light Switch button and a Door Close button each. Apparently, Freddy's is not doing so well financially. You have only a certain amount of power to draw upon, and that limited power supply drains while you are checking the building, closing one of the doors, or turning the hall light on. When you check the rooms, you can see where the puppets are at. Sometimes they are not where you last saw them - which leads to rapid checking of each of the rooms to try to find them.

The graphics are not the best ever, but they get the job done. Think Playstation One era. However, the sound is on point. For me, the best part of a good jump scare is the sound that accompanies it - this is commonly called the spike. Five Nights at Freddy's nails it on their spikes! The ambient sound really puts you in the mood of an empty building filled with blood-thirsty mechanical puppets.

That being said, this game scared the crap out of me. It's scared the crap out of a lot of people, and the fan base for Five Nights at Freddy's is incredible. This game series is only four years old, and already there are an insane number of game/conspiracy theories and various fan-fics! The creator of Five Nights at Freddy's, Scott Cawthon, has pumped out three sequels to this game in a year when most developers can't even get one game out in a year. Everything about this game is crazy - from the plot to the fans - and I think that's how everyone likes it.

9/10 peed pant

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments