Euthanasia – In that sleep of death, what dreams may come?
In this game you play as Shaun Randall, ex-soldier, who comes home from service and ends up working as an office employee for a preserved food company earning a modest salary and living a normal, quiet life with his wife Kelly and son Mike. That is until the day that everything changes and his life is turned upside down when he gets hit by a taxi and loses the use of his legs leaving him wheelchair bound and morbidly depressed. After trying to take his life he is committed to a mental hospital for observation and one of his therapists, Dr Van Wargen, takes pity on him and his pleas to end his suffering. He euthanizes him making sure it looked like a suicide, the official records read “Patient Shaun Randall: Suicide – Died 21 January 1965”
But this is not where the story ends, it’s where your journey of blood, body parts and dark corners begins. You wake up in a surreal, nightmarish version of the asylum where you’ll play through Randalls final nightmare on his way to death and experience scenes of him dealing with his death and regrets as well as fighting the twisted creatures of Randalls darkest imaginings. The game creator describes it as “dark visual poetry”.
This game is not for the more sensitive people as it is very dark and gruesome with lots of violence as well as some truly macabre and disturbing imagery. A large part of the game is fighting the monsters of Randalls mind and there are a number of ways to do this. The weapons you have available to you are a Meat Cleaver (which is only really good for when you have no ammo as it opens you up to attack and doesn’t do much damage), a Colt 1911 US1 ( reloads quickly, is accurate, holds 8 rounds and well lets just face it for Supernatural fans its just a classic), a Remington 700 Bolt Action Rifle (slow to reload and has to be reloaded with a single bullet every time but does the most damage of all the guns in the game and is the most accurate, it is suggested it is easier to switch weapons after using it than reload), and the Scorpion Vz68 MPi (an old machine pistol, it holds 21 rounds and is added to please the automatic weapons crowd. It takes a while to aim as it requires a shoulder support, has quite a recoil if you aren’t aiming so is essentially a spray and pray kind of gun, the stopping power isn’t great either as its damage is fairly low. Would suggest it as a last resort gun).
The creatures you will have to deal with range from a common straightjacket wearing manifestation of the asylum to shadow beings with toxic infected flesh, ghostlike creatures who travel in packs, zombies and faceless, heartless distortions of people who have had their left arm removed and replaced by a long blade, just to name a few. In some cases running away is a very real option and is actually endorsed by the game creator. There are also puzzles to solve that may not be too obvious which may make this game unappealing to people who just like monster shooters as it requires quite a lot of thinking and problem solving to be completed.
This game is atmospheric and terrifying from the outset. From the word go you are on edge and expecting the worst and you would be right to, it’s almost a continuous onslaught of horror from the disturbing environment to the accents of blood and gore everywhere to the haunting sounds and multiple kinds of crazy manifestations that seem to be constantly hunting you never giving you a moment to stop of feel safe. The soundtrack creates a tense and nerve wracking environment which helps to maintain that feeling of constant nervousness. The textures are great and well designed and the general interface of the game is clean and easy to use. Its definitely not an eyesore of a game, blood and gore aside, and the textures and lighting combined with the darkness make you feel as if there is always a chance you are not alone as if waiting in every corner there is some new kind of trauma waiting to make you wish you had never opened the game to begin with.
In Candles you find yourself returning to your house in the woods after a long absence only to find it has been taken over by dangerous imps who are both highly territorial and vicious. The postman has left you a letter explaining the situation at your front door telling you how to rid your house of these malicious creatures. Imps die when exposed to light so you have to carefully make your way around your house lighting candles as you go to clear them out of each room. Finally you need to reach the basement and restart your generator to fry those cunning little buggers once and for all and take back your house.
This may sound like a simple task to accomplish but they won’t make it easy on you. If you come in contact with an imp you die and they have a nasty habit of jumping out of the darkness at you and catching you unawares. You can normally see them in a room from the glowing of their eyes but they also like to hide behind doors and catch you as you open it.
The game is laid out well and has information on what steps you need to take like where you would find the keys you need to get into each room, the graphics are really well done especially for a game that essentially took ten weeks to create and the soundtrack goes a long way in creating the dark and creepy atmosphere that will heighten the fear factor especially the wind and the creaking of the house. The lighting is well thought out and most of the terror you feel in the game plays upon your fear of the dark and what could be waiting to get you in each unlit area of the house. Overall a very tense and exciting game. Not at all gory and not as terrifying as some of the other games in this article but the suspense and tension will make you jump and besides being a short game it is lots of fun.
Download Candles, the free game here
I find SCP-087-B to be one of most terrifying games primarily because of the sense of claustrophobia it creates which plays on your sense of paranoia as well as the truly blood curdling noises and monsters there are to encounter on your way down the longest most horrifying set of stairs and corridors in the world.
You have no choice, the only way to go is down and the real terror comes from the fact that every few meters there is a corner and around each corner may be something terrifying. There is no end to this game and the test really is to see how long you can handle the all out assault on your senses. I personally could barely watch the game play video as I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and nearly fell off the first time a monster appeared out of a wall. The real trick about how SCP-087-B creates its fear is that there is no goal to accomplish, no end in sight and no clues as to whether there is a way to complete the game.
The soundtrack much like Slender changes and adapts the deeper you get into the staircase of doom and while the textures and graphics aren’t mind blowing, in the atmosphere of almost complete darkness and abject terror it really doesn’t matter. Well worth a play especially with friends to see who can last the longest.
Download SCP-087-B, the free game here
For more information about the SCP-087-B project also look here
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The last remaining memories fade away into darkness. Your mind is a mess and only a feeling of being hunted remains. You must escape.
You stumble through the narrow corridors as the distant cry is heard.
It is getting closer.
A sound of dragging feet? Or is your mind playing tricks on you?
Something emerges out of the darkness. It’s approaching. Fast.
Do you have what it takes to survive?
By far in a league of its own as far as horror games go, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an incredible game. From the makers of the Penumbra franchise it is a first person survival horror and when the developers promise it will chill you to your core they aren’t wrong. You play the character of Daniel who wakes up in a dark and desolate castle with barely any memories of his past and the journey you have to take not only explores the horrors of the castle but the horrors that come from the deepest, darkest recesses of the human mind.
It is a completely immersive game and the real terror is present in the fact that the only means you have to defend yourself from some truly horrifying creatures is to run, hide and use your wits. With nothing but a lantern at your disposal to give you a small amount of light this game is an adrenaline packed scream fest from start to finish. There is no more terrifying a moment as when you can hear the screaming monstrosity coming after you and all you can do is close doors behind you and run until you find a place to hide, it really gets your heart pumping.
The game has a lot of interaction with the world around you with physics based puzzles and toggle interactions that allow you to click and hold to open a door to slowly open it and allow you to either sneak or check the other side without giving yourself away. This comes in especially handy when you are hiding in a closet and need to see if the monster chasing you is still outside. Much like in Slender you have to manage the sanity of your character so being in the darkness for too long, staring at creatures or witnessing unsettling events will lead to increased auditory and visual hallucinations which will attract more creatures. You can bring back sanity by exposing him to light, which will make him more noticeable to creatures, or by lighting candles or the oil burning lamp. You can also bring back sanity by leaving him in the dark until he passes out but that makes him vulnerable to attack and is not the best option.
When spotted by a monster you must run for your life, they become incredibly fast once spotting prey and all the barricades you make will eventually be torn down and really serve to give you time to hide in most circumstances. The monsters will still search for Daniel after breaking down your barricade so you need to decide how you want to hide him as hiding in the dark comes at a cost to your sanity. Eventually they will give up and leave but it is best to check cautiously at first if they sound like they are no longer searching.
The graphics are incredible and all the textures, sound and lighting really make the game as traumatizing as possible which in this day and age is a tall order. Combined with the feeling of being completely helpless and running and hiding in abject terror this is one of the best horror games I have ever come across and well worth every penny.
Download Amnesia: The Dark Descent here. As a Halloween special the game is being sold for 75% off so its $4.99 instead of the usual $19.99 and is well worth the buy. Try and get it while is still on sale.
As a final game trailer to whet your appetite Amnesia developers Frictional Games released this trailer yesterday in honor of Halloween which is the upcoming game Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Let me just say this trailer also had me at the edge of my seat and looks like a fantastic indirect sequel to The Dark Descent.