Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Alan wake site gets a revamp

-and a nice one too i might add. been a while since any wake news came out, shame the sites lost some of those really impressive weather shots it used to have but still, any wake news is good news, and keeps it out of the same folder city of the dead and asylum were put in.

have a ganders.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

okay, ive found it

'member i wrote how i was perplexed, neigh, flabbergasted at the notion dead space proposed. that E.A could make good games still?!?, insane i thought. there had to be a chink in its armor. 
-And whilst i loved the game and have not actively searched for such a chink  found it i have.

ready for this?

great game, great graphics, controls, solid voice acting and a.i

-BUT!, it occurs to me they left something loose which has been snagging at the back of my critical breakdown of the gameplay experience every-time i play.

to be blunt what the hell is the deal with Isaac's girlfriend?

let me explain.


So Isaac discovers at the end that the woman he came to save, the love of his life, is dead, has been since before the mission started, he saw her commit suicide at the end of that vid log and blocked it out.

okay, keep that in mind.

So the biggest problems are as follows:

1: Isaac cant open a sealed door, across a large ,deep pit there is a switch to open it (great design), and his girlfriend appears and opens it for you, with you protecting her from necromorphs.

-SHE ISNT REAL!?!, what is pulling the switch, what are the necromorphs attacking?, the official explanation is that she was a hallucination used by the red marker to get back to the planet, so then how is this possible?

2: if she is a mental figment of Isaac's mind being used as a puppet by the red marker to return it, why?

- The red marker created the necromorphs, so why is it trying to work against them?, why are the necromorphs trying to stop this imaginary woman from doing there creators bidding?

now that IS slightly explainable, the necromorphs are controlled by the hive mind on the planets surface, which was created by and sealed on the planet by the red marker, it was released and used its minions to stop it being resealed again.

but then what is the marker doing?, if it can also effect peoples minds and wants to keep the creations it makes sealed, why give people visions which lead to the opposite effect?

3: at the end, when all seems safe, Isaac is accosted by a nercomorph version of his girlfriend.

-the hive mind no longer exists, the necromorphs are all dead, or brainless vegetables.
-how did she get there?
-if the hive mind did not want the marker returned why not just send her after Issac to break his spirit?

i could go on about this for a while but the more you think about it the less the plot makes sense.

Humans reverse engineered this red marker from a black alien one. So how did they do that?, unitology came AFTER, so why?, if it looks like a carved rock with no energy readings why bother? -and again, how , what gave them a starting point? if it was just to copy the code for the necrotic polymorphing life-form why not just copy it off the original?, surely they must have done already to know what they were copying to create the hivemind to begin with.

-i can digress more but  to end, thank you E.A for reinforcing my secure belief there will always be an impossible to ignore, glaring fault, in everyone of your games.

-ah, the theory is still sound.

-still a great game though.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Has my favorite silent hill forum gone under?

So ive been trying to check out the silent hill forum that got a mention in the credits, ive been a member since 2004 and venture back every few months or so, only now it appears its gone. The sites account suspended, is it just me?, if not, anyone know why? -granted i didn't visit much but it had a very regular list of posters that, whilst very strict, leaning towards grammar nazis sometimes, ill admit it, its still a very good sight for survival horror fans.
im digressing slightly but yeah, anyone getting on here?: silent hill forum test, click here

Resident evil: Degeneration - The Review

So for all you survival horror fans who have been living under a rock for the past few years, first of all welcome back to the surface world, 'o dwellers of the underneath. second. Resident evil degeneration is the 2nd canonical resident evil cg motion picture outing by capcom, the first being resident evil 4d-executer. This outing tells the tale of the time between resident evil 4 and 5, When an airport in the american midwest is caught in the midst of a T -AND G virus outbreak.
Things look bleak but wouldn't you know it,, all around unlucky people of the millennium Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy happen to be in the area. 
Released on december 17th in japan and the 30th of the same month in the u.s (no english and european release date though...) its not long till you can all get your grubby mitts on a copy. 

-however this lucky bugger just finished watching it.

My mostly spoiler free thoughts?

I went in very skeptical, studying film academically for the last few years has, unfortunatley turned me into a film snob at times. Though being a long, LONG time biohazard fan, -and that i enjoyed the live action outings (bar the first) as mindless fun for 2 hours i gave it a shot.
 Now you all expect me to say i liked it but actually i really enjoyed it. a lot. coming from me thats a lot.
 It starts off quite slow, and given the trailers show only a small airport i was thinking "over an hour and a half?, they must stretch this out!" but honestly no they dont. the only spoiler ill give is that the airport is only a portion of the plot and thats over with 65 minutes to spare.
my biggest gripe was that, aside from the romero zombies and the g virus mutation you've all seen in the trailer, it seems the t virus is much more tame nowadays and cant be arsed to create lickers or hunters and the like.
but for what it is i loved what i got. seeing claire and leons reunion was a total nostalgia trip back to the summer of '98. the little funny moments they share and in jokes- like at one point claire arms herself with a red and white umbrella and quips about the irony- make it a joy to watch for a fan, and for a regular zombie movie enthusiast its action packed enough to drag you in regardless of wether you've been a longstanding fan of the biohazard series.
graphically its very impressive, in some ways its not up to advent children's standards (the cg final fantasy movie -for the rock dwellers) and in others its better. The facial expression's, whilst often a rarity are so striking they take you out of the moment a little, like when claire winks at leon before a door closes we see her entire facial muscles move on the side thats winking. now that's attention to detail.
i cant say too much without ruining it, and i really don't want to, the fans have got to discover the little jokes and hidden references for themselves. but all in all after a slow start i was enthralled right till the ending credits. i hoped till the last 5 that there would be more monsters in it like i mentioned a few lines back but i have to say ive not seen a horror movie that ive enjoyed as much in quite a long time.

To sum it up all us silent hill fans dug some aspects of the movie, the use of yamaoka's soundtrack, the use of static camera and a great set piece list throughout. but it wasn't made by konami, it wasn't made by anyone behind the games and it was simply to make cash.
Biohazard degeneration on the other hand is a proper movie for the fans, its not a cheap rehash of ideas or a tie in- though it does tie into resident evil 5- its a flick thats had a lot of care and attention to the source material included and i know if your a fan of the games you will really enjoy this.

Now just sit back and twiddle your thumbs for a couple of weeks, -OR replay resi 2 and 4 to get with the lore again, i'm playing 2 right now and it takes me back. 

just wait folks, your in for a bloody treat.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Valve put up left 4 dead "movie" posters in online store.

So have a gander's, gentle horror loving folken, at the latest addition to the valve store. For those yet to play it each of the 4 stories in left 4 deads campaign mode has a fake movie poster for its loading screen at the start, listing each gamertag in the credits as each respective character they are playing. Now you can grab these from valves online store to go with your companion cube t shirt and lifesize headcrab. at 15 bucks for all 4 im very tempted, but for all i know ordering 4 pieces of paper form the states could cost an additional 10 to 35 bucks in postage costs.

Still, cool thing to frame and put in the studio at least.

-Oh, and rather than get all fanboy...ey and rave about it right after release im holding off on my left 4 dead review till ive played every mode to death.

EDIT- that would have been a good intentional pun to end on wouldn't it?, just a fluke i assure you.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dead Space: The Review

Developer: EA redwood studios
Publisher: EA
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Released: October 24th 2008
Genre: 3rd person sci-fi shooter/ survival horror

So its 3:24am and ive JUST finished dead space. i was really excited about this, which was confusing because ea hasn't made a good game since oddworld strangers wrath in my opinion. so after  couple-a-hour stints is it the next big thing in survival horror?

Honestly? no.

and for once I'm disappointed to admit it. 

I read the comics, did all the puzzles on the site, read all this lore voraciously, i had to know what the plot and back story was. All of that i loved, and don't get me wrong, i love dead space too. but its just a clone of resident evil 4.

So if you don't know already (and if you don't your mother and i are very disappointed in you young man), you play Issac Clarke. An engineer on a small ship investigating a distress signal coming from a dead, silent, drifting hulk of a mining ship the usg ishimura. unfortunately they get trapped there and they find out that, whilst the crews dead, the atmosphere certainly isn't.

cheesy i know but it works.

anyway i cant say much, but what i can say is the story can be wrapped up in 5 minutes, theres a good minute long interesting scene every few hours but all in all i finished the game wanting to know more, not in a sequel, but in back story. i needed it to be explained to me in a more concise and plain way.
Though this is a successful new ip so you know ea is gonna bleed it dry so i expect ill read a novel about it some time in 2009.
-Plus there is an animated feature film that tells the prequel story, so i guess youve gotta buy that to get the full experience. 

bad e.a.

Game play wise its pretty much resident evil 4. remember playing silent hill or resident evil first and then the other and going "hang on, the controls are exactly the same". this is just like that nostalgic 1998 feeling, whether its good or bad i don't know but there we are.
The merchant is replaced by a machine, but you still get loot and ammo from enemies, which you can then use to buy new guns and upgrade them and stuff. but like resi 4 you cant upgrade it all in one play through. theres logs, over the right shoulder aiming. in fact its pretty much resident evil 4 with a new skin.
though thankfully they've got none of those damn quicktime events. everything, including being dragged by a tentacle across a room and having to shoot its week points to escape is real time relying on you, not pressing a a lot. 
unfortunately i was drawn in with comparisons to bioshock. lets be clear. - THIS IS NOT BIOSHOCK. this is resident evil 4 by a mile between the two games. the problem with that is that the ishimura has no character, if you go in expecting rapture type world that's full of character you in for a disappointment. instead you get something more akin to the mars base from doom 3. 
-anyway I'm going off on a tangent here, but the point is, rapture felt like it had a history, like you'd joined a game halfway through the worlds narrative. but in dead space all you've got is a blue line leading you in form an airlock to set pieces which seem to have been waiting for you.
Which neat leads me to the fact that this is not open ended, its funneling you down a path half life 2 style. only with back tracking for the final 3rd. it lacks character, you go here, do something, get told to go to the next point and follow the path. Which is lame but how its done is neat. issac uses , when clicking the right thumbstick, a hologram that beams along the ground to your next destination. in theory its really disappointing but its cool and different.
Speaking of which. theres no hud, well there is, but it not in your face. issacs spine is his hp bar, he gets a holographic inventory and display above weapons for ammo. its real time and immersive but unlike alone in the dark its not adding to the fear its just a neat factor. 
overall i got used to the hud instantly, you can still pause, but it just feels like an interactive movie at some points.
only trouble is its less aliens and more jason x.

to sum up the controls its responsive and easy to use, but its overcomplicated by combos. left trigger plus x is stasis freeze, x alone is health packs, which is a poor choice when you might need to freeze a fast enemy, and use your last health pack by mistake and then get badly hurt because you didn't freeze it in time and have no health pack.
However, i can ignore most faults because of the dismemberment system, i got used to so much shooting out legs and arms off that i tried another game in the same vein and kept missing headshots because i aimed for the joints.
its fun, but its never implemented any more than you see in the first fight and it had more potential i think.
You can also upgrade weapons with a system reminiscent of the sphere grid from final fantasy x. you gain power cores across grids to upgrade the powers of your suits and weapons. its a nice touch but unlike resi 4 you may have to level up two blank spaces before you can gain any actual power ups.

Graphics wise space is beautiful. an orange ether permeates the sky and rainstorms of meteors flow past like a stream. However inside its, well, like i said, its doom 3 all over again. its not very easy on the eyes, theres jagged edges were there should be smooth surfaces, edges are grainy and cloudy and the colour pallet was uninspired. Again I'm going to compare it to rapture, but also the starting areas of resident evil 4, either Spanish woodlands or the art deco of fort frolic and its just bland in comparison to either. the game lacks character. the hero is iconic, but the levels and creatures leave a lot to be desired. it never detracts from the gameplay though, i had a blast. but in retrospect i think "yeah, at the time i didnt notice it but-", and im getting this a lot as i write this review. i enjoyed myself, but i can pick so many nits with this game. though possibly i am just being biased due to my poor previous experiences with ea?

Sound wise i was really disappointed, its poor and buggy and all in all annoying at times. there can be a creature in the next room but its so close to the door that tension building music is playing. but i would just be browsing the wares in the store and i noticed that after 30 seconds it stops instantly and then restarts. i cant think of that many items but i can say that its barely even ambiance, they couldn't feasibly release a soundtrack to this like obscure or alone in the dark.

i could go on about the factors that bugged me, but these faults, though they number in the good dozen or so, never mess with the experience, because honestly its the scariest game Ive played in a long  long time. which surprised me. though like many games this does lessen as the game goes on but all in all i enjoyed it, it inst very good in the grand scheme of things but for 10 hours of horror gameplay id say its worth a rental but a full purchase buy?..... maybe, for once I'm indecisive, some of you will love it and disagree with me, saying I'm too harsh, others will hate it and say I'm too lenient but id say give it a try.

on one hand you will have a great time, on the other you will not care about it at all 1 year from now.

so i give it a loose-

SCORE: [6/10]


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Remedy wakes up from slumber to release new trailer

Too cheesy?, yeah i thought so too, but im lost for good titles right now , gimme a break!

anyhoo, horror fans prepare to go nuts for the new alan wake trailer!, 'nuff said.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bioshock 2: Sea of dreams PS3 easter egg trailer

A little late on the uptake i know, but i think ive got it.

So theres a lot of speculation on this, and my first thought was rapture rising from the sea, but i think ive got it now.
The girl is one of the little sisters, now in her teens, that jack saved from rapture in the good ending. only instead of living normal lives like the others she went all "carrie" and has similar plasmid abilities to jack and the splicers. maybe jack made the big daddy doll to give her something familiar to attach to when she was little and now its bringing back these long blacked out memories or rapture and she is unconsciously shaping the sand behind her to the images in her head as she looks out at the sea.
Perhaps it doesn't even take place on rapture, and this is just the catalyst for it, im definitley getting a carrie/ring vibe of the girl, but only time will tell. aside from a terrible endgame boss bioshock was almost perfect, maybe it could have used some more period music but the art deco style just captured my imagination. So needless to say i cant wait for this.

But seriously folks, the trailer, whats your speculation about it?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

On the topic of homcoming

Now since pj doody was kind enough to give me an interview for the site ive gotten about 200 emails if i knew when it would come out in Europe. also comments on here, pms to my xbox account, i was once even asked in a game of lone wolves in halo 3!

well i asked pj because a lot of people are getting different dates , most commonly october 30th and november 13th, he was a great guy and asked about it and its still sketchy but apprently no we in the uk and europe cant expect it this month, im guessing novembers 2nd or 3rd week. so it doesn't have fable or dead space or the like to compete with. but that just a guess on my part.

not to exact i know, but please, enough wit ze emailzzzzz!!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Suffering: The Review (or: "How Danny got back in the saddle")

Developer: Surreal Software 
Publisher: Midway games
Platforms: PS2, XBOX, Pc
Release: July 30th 2004
Genre: Third person shooter with psychological horror themes.

So a few posts back i posted a link were midway had, very surprisingly, put this game up for a free download. Being a horror nut (go figure) and the fact ive yet to see an xbox copy in stores i spent a good 6 hours on my poor connection downloading this. So yesterday i finally sat down to play it.

I'll then stood up after that "brief session" to find several hours had passed and i had finished the entire game. 
So i guess i liked it, i think.

The game beings with the eyerollingly named protagonist "torque" (no, really) being admitted into carnate island penitentiary for the murder of his wife and children. Wouldn't you know it however that as soon as the locks bolt shut everything goes all "silent hill" on the islands population.
Now, do you remember the prison level from ghost hunter?, well this is it, albeit in a much more free roaming sense. from the off set your never given any clues theres maps and such but your not even told what button you use to see them. your just given a knife and told "heres the open cell door, escape!". Now this i really liked, i had no idea were i was, what i was looking for. i just fought my way through the demons filling up the prison and explored the blocks and tried to find a narrative in there. somewhere. 
To be honest i dont know if this was intentional or bad design but i couldnt help but think it would make a good level in left 4 dead with 4 players stranded around this island trying to find a way off.
The level design is nice, albiet bland in parts. and sometimes the textures are apt to dissapear for sod all reason. really on the whole it feels so much like an incomplete test level from another game i cant place my finger on. the island has a mental institution, a WWII amy barracks, a beached slave trade ship and a graveyard of witch trial victims to name a few. i know ive played something like this before. its neat to explore but i cant escape this nagging feeling ive played something just like this before.
please leave a comment if you can think of he game im thinking of as this is bugging the crap out of me.
-anyway. music wise it not very good, just cheap screeching noises with flashes of gore to make use of those tired "jump" scares.
Control wise its not bad, but i find myself closing the program instead of opening doors because of poor placement on the keyboard at default (im not a pc gamer), sometimes the character, after a checkpoint starts constantly running to the left or right even when the keyboard is removed from the computer. I could go on but to sum it up its fun , to a point, it has faults.

This isn't really a long or in depth review, i think thats quite an apt analogy of the game itself, This game is like buffy the vampire slayer, or ghosthunter. A third person horror game that never feels like your in a world, like fable or resident evil 2. You are always conscious that this is an enclosed little area, like setting out pieces on a pre set puzzle board. Thats not to say it isn't fun. i had a relatively good experience playing this, going crazy with a shotgun running towards 2 done screeching terrors from beyond.
Is it worth getting?, its free, so of course. would i pay full price on release when this came out?, no. its an interesting gameplay experience, but in no way is it memorable, there are few scares, the story is ranging from inconsistent to none existent and it just needed more rounding off before release. For example, you can have prisoners or guards team up with you, but they can suddenly stop following you for no reason, disappear, or just get locked behind a door thats pre set to forever close after you enter it.

Honestly i can go on but these little faults allow for no mental interaction. its more of a mindless shooter with horrific imagery over a true survival horror. not once did i believe torque, who could turn into a bloody giant monster with a sword for an arm for gods sake!, was not going to make it through this without a scratch. To be blunt you just dont give a crap about him.

I know this review is inconsistent. but thats the game in one, its hard to define. can i recommend you will enjoy it for a gameplay session o two?, yes, its a free game that i can recommend. but is it worth your time as much as ghost hunter or obscure, let alone resident evil or silent hill?, no, honestly its not.

SCORE [7/10]


Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Answering more readers questions

Only 2 so dont expect some big thing.

Valdoran69 (huh.) asks "did that doody ,lol, guy send you a copy of homecoming free?"

If your a new reader he, or she, is on about the review i did with p.j doody, one of the writers of silent hill 5, and no. unfortunately the interview was just a nice deed he did for me, no silent hill 5 freebie...and still a month till we get it in the uk.

Sally asks "ive seen your site on kotaku and other big name sites a while back, i guess this must have given you traffic, why not start a full site?"

Honestly i thought about it a few months back, i was about to purchase a domain and i.p when i just figured that i didnt need to. 
If you want a site like this but altogether more professional site then check out Chris' survival horror quest, a site ive been visiting for a good 4 ,maybe 5 years now.  Again its a one man show but its the real deal and theres no better competitor on the net. Raccoon city times is what it is, One long time survival horror games enthusiast who has his own little easy to manage slice of the internet that you guys just so happen to like checking out, and that means a lot really, and im quite happy with that for now, i work full-time in a restaurant , attend a university for a degree and do freelance filmmaking work, i do this for fun in my limited free time and you guys like what i post and i like that you dig it so thats all this site needs really. i dont think i will, at least in the foreseeable future, change it to a proper website because it gets the job done and suits a guy like me just fine.

-and to the good 2 dozen emails about it, no, i haven't been contacted by hyrdavision with news about obscure 3, dunno were this rumors come from that i get messages from them.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Play the suffering for free!

Props to Chris of a certain questing site for the skinny on this one. Midways put the Survival in the slammer horror game The Suffering up for free download on our good old t'internet. Its a bit hefty at over a gig, but its free and ive not found an xbox copy of this so im getting this whilst the gettings good, so check it out and enjoy!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

"So why'chu not been posting?"

Thanks to dave from NJ for that one, as usual, send your complaints to to get my ass out of my gamer coma.

to sum it up, ive been playing a huge number of games but not survival horror, so to sum it up

Braid- must own
The World ends with you - must own
infinite undiscovery - utter trash
force unleashed - worth renting
lost planet - its freakin' capcom!
Wow- made it to outland.

i can go on and on, but ive been meaning to get into games of a more horrific variety but theres been a slew of great games for me to play lately, and im a games enthusiast first, a horror nut second. In fact the only reason i focus on horror and not a general games blog is because its my favorite genre, but also because i could never find the time for all my other favorite genres. particularly rpgs.

Though the next few reviews are gonna be more obscure games or games like parasite eve that have been forgotten by many. so stay tuned, i will pick up on articles soon.

Hasn't this guy died twice already?, at least twice?

The picture speaks for itself.

Yes, thats the one, the only, Ultimate B-movie bastard/ once leader of S.T.A.R.S for raccoon city mr Albert Wesker. Finally something of note worth posting, see a lot of stuff i hold off on since other more high profile sites focus on the same thing, but ive gotta give my five cents on this.
Ive always liked wesker, he was a double agent, so the "twist" was actually logical since he turned on chris and jill in resident evil. most games in this genre would have him turn out to be a secret relative or something like that yknow? hes never been blown up the way, say, sephiroth has been in the gaming community, yet hes easily more dangerous than he tyrants or possibly the nemesis.  no matter how many times you kill him he keeps coming back, and given resident evils b movie inspired origins thats why hes such a great bad guy.
Just one more reason to look foreward to this game, though it kinda solves the mystery of how las plagas parasites turned up in arica huh?


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Well her it is.

Its hard to believe but the sites already been going for a year, haven't updated much, which is a shame, but ive been very busy with film school and work, but ive got plenty of horror game to get into when things quiet down.

so heres to a year thats gonna be better than last.

or i hope so at least.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

There WILL be a left 4 dead demo coming for the xbox and pc.

So make with the clicky-clicky here For the info about it. its been confirmed for co-op play too.

Now this bugs me a little.
Its what?, 4 or 5 different areas? in total?, im not sure how this demo is going to come about myself. You can give the player a level to try, like the city one weve seen a  lot of, and whilst the a.i and director engine will make every demo experience different, by the time the levels over they will have experienced a 5th or a quarter of what the game has to offer.
maybe it will be in one barricaded building and one stand off to survive or just a set 15 minutes of gameplay which pisses me off. but its a good way to give you enough.

honestly i dont know, but im a long time fan of zombie films, novels and games so im sold from the first minute after i heard the premise, but this doesn't seem like a demo-able game to me.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Is this bizarro world or something?

Not a snappy title i know, but this is bugging me.

Dead space.

It looks great, i loved the backstory in the comics, like virus meets bioshock meets aliens. i cant wait for it to come out.

but heres the thing.

its made by E.A

see, when it was electronic arts i wasn't a fan, id buy a couple but more often than not be disappointed. out of all the big companies they just seem to be the biggest whores. sure capcom will report the same game a dozen times for nothing but revenue, but what there porting is a great game theyve put the time and effort into. E.A on the other hand just appears to want to make games that will make a tidy sum over breaking even on production and just repeat this again and again. 

so its no surprise that they do a lot of ,if not all, of the yearly sports games.

but let me put this in perspective.

the last E.A game i bought and loved was oddworld, strangers wrath, a wild west fps version of the world from abes oddessy, and i loved it form start to finish.

then i got bored with the crap and decided, rather eloquently, i wasn't "going to put up with this shit anymore", and was just done with e.a

Then, for some reason, i decided to buy army of two. yes i am very disappointed in myself.

what follow was 3 hours of the most vile, reprehensible asshole "protagonists", and that word is used here looser than the 10 year old nickers of a 'lady of the evening' on hamstead heath. till i could stand no more and went back to my local gamestation and greeted the clerk with a hearty "what the hell man?!?".

they understood completely.

To be blunt ,poor controls aside, they were dicks, killing 3 dozen people who were, i shit you not, suicide bombers making that tongue on roof of mouth noise, turbans and all, and then using there "pimped out" golden plated, pearl encrusted machine guns like an air guitar whilst screaming "ladies lift your shirts" and bumping the 'respec' knuckles' was a little too low brow for a gamer who considers the medium an art form, as well as an entertaining pastime.

in short that was the final blow form E.A.

they produce utter shite to make money and thats it.

but dead space is some bizzaaro version of this were it actually looks really, really good.

i dont know, maybe ive gone senile at the start of my 20's or something.

E.A cant make a good game right?, right?

Saturday, 2 August 2008

And the new topic is.....

So im starting a new trend, since i am now A: employed and have income, and B: have just read all of S.D. perry's resident evil novels that i am going to try and get my mits on every english released ps-one game thats part of any of the survival sub genres.

this includes my first targets to track down, dino crisis and parasite eve.

will i find them without ebay?
will they be good?
will they be expensive?
have i gone slightly crazy?

all these and more will be answered in due time.

first to add to the list is Resident evil and fear effect 2: retro helix.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Resident Evil: Twilight - A Halflife 2 Mod

So im looking for images to use in the banner for the update the sites going to be going under in the next few weeks and googling raccoon city, (and coming up with this very site a few times) i stumbled onto this - its a mod for half life 2 based on the last 24 hours of raccoon city and it looks pretty neat, its 80% done and im actually looking forward to playing this and reviewing it on here. though im not normally one for mods, but this one looks worth checking out, ive been playing resident evil again dn reading the great s.d perry novelizations and im in a raccoon city mood again lately so this is worth checking out in my opinion.

New Wii Horror game, Cursed Mountain.

Credit goes to the user Crave on the Chris' survival horror quest forum for this find.

So it seems the wii is getting into its horror stride of late, much like the gamecube did a year or two into its life span. 
Unfortunately it wasn't enough to save mine which i traded in for rock band , the complete set on the 360.
Though im definitely going to get one for fatal frame 4, though i'm taking some lessons in japanese lately so i would love to import stuff like escape form bug island as well.

-anyway, im going off tangentially here.

So according to the developer, cursed mountain is:

With a fresh setting, gloomy atmosphere and the innovative use of the Wii controls, Cursed Mountain will deliver a unique, terrifying game play experience," said Hannes Seifert, Managing Director at the Deep Silver development studio. "Deep Silver is confident that Cursed Mountain will help to further establish our international presence, and help expand the survival horror game genre on the Wii platform."

According to Deep Silver, Cursed Mountain will boast advanced graphics and amazing scenery. Since the game is set on the "roof of the world," players will be able to see the entire game world from any level. In addition, the title will feature IR / pointer and gesture-based controls for exploration and combat respectively.

Although Deep Silver is still unwilling to divulge too many details about the project, we did get a few extra tidbits from Hannes Seifert, who also serves as executive producer on the game. Exactly who is the main character -- other than a climber, that is? "He is an experienced high altitude climber, well known in the international climbing community. He cares a lot for his younger brother, also a climber, and has deep concerns about his overambitious, high risk-taking nature," Seifert said. "Somehow he always knew his brother would get into trouble one day and sure enough, on a particularly difficult route that has never been successfully completed, his brother is lost.

Which sounds neat and dandy, if a little tired and unoriginal, im getting some silent hill,a little alone in the dark and some tomb raider for good measure vibe wise off this.
not to say it'll be bad, i just think it may be extremely linear, heres hoping its not though, the wii needs more credible horror exclusives to get it out of the "kiddie stereotype", it worked for the cube, it will work for the wii too. 
Though i cant help but get a 30 days of night vibe off this.

which would make a neat co-op game like left 4 dead now that i think about it.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

-On that topic

Time for a recap on alan wake.

So there's the two trailers again. Im imagining that if you've not heard of alan wake, but being a horror games fan visiting my humble little site that your excited now?

yeah, i thought as much.

In some ways the graphics are showing there age a little, compared to alone in the dark, but the thing is this is early build footage from YEARS ago.
its really been that long. for those who dont remember or are new to wake. The game is about a struggling writer who is grieving for a lost loved one and heads to the town of bright falls to clear his head and find the peace he needs to right his new novel.
its all very stephen king and i dig that.
The enemies are wakes nightmares made flesh, there only weakness being the light, so they only attack wake at night.
so when alan sleeps he has to set traps, like a trip wire that sets off a lamp flooding a hallway with lamp to ward off the raincoat phantoms.
though they can break the lamp and stuff so youve really gotta think carefully.
the weather ranges from sunny, windswept or rainy to thunder storms or full blown, terrain destroying tornadoes.
i could go on and on but this really is a must own game for any 360 owner, horror fan or not.

Wake up!

So there's been a rumor doing the rounds that Alan Wake, my most anticipated horror game yet to be released, from the creators of the pieces of art that is the max payne series were going to finally show some new information about wake at the 2008 Tokyo game show ( and for those not in the know, there hasn't been any major wake news since the bloody jaw dropping weather engine tech demo which was staggering in its grandeur.

... Unfortunately these rumors have been quashed by the site bright a very reliable fan site for news on alan wake. Apparently this is VERY old news from last years tgs event.

Well im disappointed now, but to be honest the longer remedy works on improving it the happier i will be. so take your time remedy, i know it'll be bloody brilliant regardless.

and include an address unknown easter egg!

I'm wondering how many people will "lol" at this.

So there it is. The Cover for left 4 dead, according to kotaku, and there rarely if ever proven wrong.

Now i think tis safe to say that the fan base for this is already waiting, i know i am. fans of dead rising and the like are most likely more excited about this than anything else coming out.

That said, even though good sales are guaranteed, how many of said purchasers will get the "all fingers no thumbs" double pun cover?

Personally this .....i dunno, maybe the 12th case ive seen for a zombie movie or games which is just a hand reaching up, its a cheap effect and i for one am frankly finding it to wear a bit thin of late.
Hopefully they wil come up with something a little better, maybe just a simple design like the orange box, but this?, meh.  its riding on a pun, not character, like stubbs or dead rising. both have covers that draw you in to read the back of the case.

will this do it for people who dont know about it?

frankly i dont think so.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

He's covered wars you know.


Well, colour me surprised about this. not the whole "capcom reporting a best selling game with no extras" they been an old hand at that game for almost ten years now. But dead rising on the wii?
I dont think this is a good idea. for one ,and if im wrong then good, but the wii cant have as many zombies on screen as the 360 can it?
if this was a ps3 port i could understand, but the wii?, im sensing a gimmicky control system and nothing more. That and it wont have achievements. now im no gamerwhore, but dead rising had tons of achievements which more than doubled the gameplay life of the game. it warranted a dozen replays, fighting zombies in new ways. ect. 
Take that away and your just smashing zombies nonstop for 3 to 7 hours.

-or if im correct, just swinging a wiimote around.

Not sure about this one, but not particularly excited either.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Monter Madness: The Battle for Suburbia - The Review

Developer: Artificial Studios/ Immersion Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, (Soon to see a PS3 release as monster madness: grave danger)
Released: June 28th 2007
Genre: Arcade horror shoot-em-up 

.....I know, i know. you screaming "Danny, what'chu been smokin', this aint no horror game!!1!oneone!". 
Well if you look back at my early posts i said i was blogging on my passion for horror themed games. They don't have to be inherently scary. This falls into the category. Its not scary, but horror fans will most definitely dig it. 

Basically i bought this dirt cheap for £5 in gamestation, my usual bargain haunt. It looked interesting enough to hold my attention, a gauntlet style romp through a suburban setting in the middle of a zombie outbreak. How could i not like that?

So basically its gauntlet meets zombies ate my neighbors, a lucas arts classic on them thar early consoles. you run around, with 3 or 4 dozen zombies around you and you have dual nail guns.

Danny like.

Its mindless carnage, and the live multiplayer is just as good. The soundtrack and overall art direction is nice, but nothing memorable. The characters are cliche' the nerd, the slacker, the prissy cheerleader and the goth girl. but there meant to be so its all fine and dandy with me.
From start to finish its a homage to all the good old horror flicks of yesteryear and i really enjoyed it, the controls are simple, if a little buggy in the vehicles (including giant mechs i shit you not). 
Overall its a simple, but lengthy game, and i can only criticize its lack of co-op gameplay on xbox live, whilst this is being done in the upcoming playstation 3 release, a patch for the 360 version would be most welcome.

SCORE [6/10]


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Alone In The Dark: The Review

Developer: Eden Games/ Hydravision
Publisher: Atari
Platforms: PS2, PS3, XBOX 360, PC, Wii
Release date: June 20th 2008
Genre: survival/ action horror

So i've put this off for a while. 

I'm still slightly unsure about posting this review. Mostly because i still haven't completely finished it yet. Don't get me wrong, i've only got about an hour of gameplay left, and i think that is more than enough to give my view on the game. It's just bugging me that i've not finished it, for every other review i've finished the game before i post a review, hence the sometimes great distance between posts.  
Though there is also some trepidation on my part because i don't think this is the sort of game that CAN be given a numerical value for its achievements as a game.
Though i only really use numbers as a rough guide on my final feelings upon completion of a game, like a low score is one to avoid, an in between one is somewhere between "meh" and a shrugging recommendation. if its high, then i really enjoyed it. aside from that I'm a major hypocrite and dislike grading reviews numerically, they should just be a thumb up or down at the end, and reasons listed within to justify said thumb...ness.

So, onto the game. Right from the start its VERY cinematic. it feels like an action movie, or disaster movie from start to finish. You reprise the role of Edward Carnby, paranormal investigator. Well, except for the new nightmare, which apparently is not canon. That or there just ignoring it for some reason. Anyway, i'm digressing here. 
The game opens in a first person perspective, with Edward's vision blurring. To clear his vision you blink by clicking in the right thumbstick to shake of his disorientation.
"Neat" i thought, and it was, but its by far the least impressive thing to occur in the first hour of gameplay set in a collapsing tower block just outside central park. Its your job to get out before it comes down on you can escape the destruction and get into central park to investigate the cause of all this.
Apparently new york is being torn apart by quakes caused by "fissures" living streaks of lava that move with a malevolent intelligence.  These fissures can even spread inside a human host, turning them into a "humanz". Creatures which can ONLY be harmed if you can set fire to the fissure running through there bodies. Ill get to the fire in a minute.  There aren't many different creature designs in the game, id say 7 or 8 at the most, so its more resident evil 4 than fatal frame 2 if you catch my drift. Though all serve a great purpose and are placed in just the right places, like walking down a foggy road in central park, an upturned hotdog cart on the right, a burnout out car smashed into a tree on the left, and barely discernible shapes running at you through the fog....
Its got Mise-en-scene up the yin-yang. Like i said, its a action movie in the form of a survival horror game. So with any action theme there, of course, is driving sequences. Said driving sequences, and i had to pause and contemplate this shocking development, was actually fun, and i dont like driving games. It has a level of detail that i just adore. You can smash a window to open a locked door, check the glove compartment and  shade for keys or items, hotwire it if theres no key. Hell, if worst comes to worst you can shoot the gas tank for a makeshift bomb. 
Theres a few innovations in this, for one it is set in episodes and even has a "menu" like a dvd so you can skip "scenes" if your having trouble, or go back to redo others in different ways if you choose. I personally haven't used tis, but its good to have the option if its needed rather than not have it and get people stuck forever at one puzzle y'know?
Now the biggest design point of note is the fire. This game is all about arson really, and by that i mean beautiful high definition arson. Fires spread realistically, which takes some getting used to, i set fire to a door to get through it as it was locked and as i was checking my jacket inventory a spark jumped onto me and set me aflame. its little touches like those that i love and get infuriated by at the same time. the enemies main weakness is fire, so you can mix and match items found strewn about the park, bottles of petrol, fly spray and a lighter or something and makeshift your own fiery arsenal.
I'm only touching on one small factor, but the biggest selling point for this game, for me at least, is the freedom. Im not talking about the sandbox gameplay though. In GTA you can go anywhere, but every mission has very little ,if any, freedom of expression. Which im pleased to say 'Dark has in spades.

Example time - You have to ,at one point, cross a room full of enemies and kill them all very fast. How is up to you. My long time friend and reader ,who isn't much of a survival horror nut, Shot his way through by soaking his bullets in paraffin to make them more flammable, and therefore more harmful to the enemies.
How did you plucky young reviewer handle it?, well after years of yelling "your doing it wrong!" at the dumb gits in horror movies i went to bloody town on it.
STEP 1: break open a vending machine for a water bottle and drain it.
STEP 2: go into the kitchen and fill it with cooking oil.
STEP 3: add some bullets to the mix, wrap it in double sided tape and stab a whole in the bottom.
STEP 4: Trough it onto the back of the little creepy crawler creatures and let it wander about the room, leaving a deliciously flammable trail.
STEP 5: drop lighter.

the trail is set aflame and takes all the creatures in the room with it.

Just one small example but the point is you can be john maclain or bloody maguyver, it all depends on you. For that reason alone i can give a recommendation to alone in the dark. Combine that with Good graphics, the sheer fact that they recreated the landmarks of central park, brick for brick is reason enough to applaud there efforts. Add to this some good choices on the design part, like having an older, mid 40's, guy be the protagonist and the like and another stellar soundtrack by oliver Deriviere ( the composer for obscure, no free download this time folks, Once again cementing the fact that this guy could give Akira Yamaoka a run for his money for the title of greatest composer in horror games.

I could go on and on about the bits i love, like having your coat be your inventory and have healing and switching items occur in real time, even during fights. Its so ambitious you can really see why it was in development for so long. 

That said, now goods out of the way....

I think a list is appropriate.

Dying randomly for no reason.
Falling through the world for no reason.
Solving a puzzle without doing an obscure but mandatory action and getting stuck in a cutscene cycle.
invincible enemies.
cars exploding when you hotwire them
dodgy movement controls.
getting stuck on corners when your a foot away from them.
general bad collision detection.
randomly losing all your items when you die.
cars destroying themselves on the slightest collision
frame rate lag in large set pieces.

I could go on but needless for me to say, as you've no doubt heard it already before.  This game is hampered by an unbelievable amount of unfixed bugs in the programming.
This doesn't ruin the game, its so ambitious that it more than makes up for the problems by giving you such freedoms, its just annoying. It stops you form being drawn into the game, you are never unaware that you are safe on your couch playing what seems like an interactive movie.
Whilst i do like that it also means there is no scare factor involved. The imagery is there, to be sure, but it never grips you, and just when it starts, a bug occurs to throw you for a loop.
Like i said, it doesn't ruin the game, just hampers the experience, but not enough to warrant an avoidance rating.

I could go on and on about this game, the good and the bad in equal measure. So i quickly surmise before this piece becomes the entire front page. I love alone in the dark, not as much as silent hill 2 or obscure but ive had fun with such a mind boggling freedom of choice in the game and i can overlook the bugs for that and i can safely say it is worth the money to pay for it instead of rent it. The games good and keeps you playing for long stints at a time, has good , albeit, buggy design and on the 360 it has achievements that stretch it out and amp up the fun factor a lot.
For once i would recommend the 360 version, if only for the achievements adding another dimension to the gameplay when used in conjunction with the dvd menu mode.

Overall i enjoyed it and im getting a good 8 out of ten vibe for this, though im also implementing a new score based on scare factor from now on, which this, due to bugs, fails at unfortunately, which is a shame as other than that its a pretty decent game. ambitious, but decent.

SCORE [8/10]

SCARE FACTOR [2/10] - Slight jumps and gore.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

So they DO exist!

Browsing the silent hill forum today i came across this.

Look familiar Survival horror fans?, it should. This is one of 250 Replicas of James Sutherland's (silent hill 2's protagonist) jacket. Its rare as hell and this is only the first time ive seen one since konamistyle stopped selling it, to be honest i was wondering if id just thought it up in a daydream but apparently no, my sound mind and reason did not imagine it, they really did sell them.
Apparently this particular one is being sold on the silent hill forum right now some people are getting a bit sniffy about the dude selling it but id never have the cash for one of these even when they weren't objects of legend.
Its just cool to show a little something like this i guess for the fans who've never heard of it.

Though to be honest i always thought James' coat was an army surplus jacket myself. 

Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly DIRECTORS CUT - The Review

Developer: Temco
Publisher: Temco
Realeased: April 29th, 2004
Platforms: Ps2, Xbox (backwards compatible on xbox 360)
Genre: Survival Horror

So right off the bat regulars will know im a big fatal frame fan, and today i finally finished the second game in the series "Crimson Butterfly", so my thoughts?

I bloody love it, heres why.

The game opens and introduces you to twin sisters Mio and Mayu. They are visiting a woodland they used to explore when they were children, and were mayu suffered a permanent leg injury, before the land gets flooded by the construction of an artificial dam. As they sit reminiscing about the past Mio snaps back to reality to find Mayu has wandered off. In the distance Mio can just make out Mayu following something into the deeper woods.
A crimson butterfly.
As Mayu follows her sister the sky darkens, buildings can be made out in the distance and people can be heard chanting.
And more butterfly's.
When Mio finally catches up to Mayu they are on a hill, by a shrine, overlooking a long since abandoned village, hidden for decades in the mountains of the regions.
Getting bad vibes they turn to leave, only to find the path has gone, so with no alternative route, given Mayu's bad leg, the sisters head into town. 
At first the town seems dead, and it is, but it is by no means restful as they soon find out. "All gods village" has been in the same perpetual night for decades and the mad ghosts of the people who have died there roam the streets and homes, all with ill intent to use the sisters as part of there "ritual".....

So as you can imagine the plot kept me enthralled, its a story of loss, love, the nature of siblings and there responsibilities and it just never lets up, its like a cool mountain stream. It looks quite, simple, pretty, but try as you might you cant stop its progress, its a simple but powerful narrative ill spoil no further, but the endings a good one.

Gameplay wise its very much the same kettle of fish as the first fatal frame game, albeit with everything improved. the controls are responsive, well balanced and thought out, my only gripe being that, given the fixed nature of the static cameras in the game you can run up one corridor ,then ,given a reversed angle, start running back down it again without changing the analogue stick around.
Not a big problem, but worth a grumbling mention.

The sound is of the "less is more" variety, and its masterfully done, like bells, crunching gravel or creaking boards, rotten with age and neglect, all add to the mise-en-scene of each chapter and aside form the games theme played in the credits there's little music to speak of. But that only makes what there is have that much more powerful an impact. 

Graphically its been given an upgrade for the xbox and it really shows, the characters are all memorable, there's like 50 different types of enemy in the game, which compared to resident evil or silent hill is a feat in and of itself, and overall its a great looking game, but that alone is not a note worthy thing. 
I really must express to you the art direction of this game. its aesthetic, a grainy series of browns and blacks and general dark color palettes, are juxtaposed by the rich reds in the game every now and then. This contrast is a fantastic choice of design in terms of setting a mood, and giving the game a character which makes the predecessor pale in comparison to.
The pale girls, dressed in blacks and browns, in a shadowy forest, swarmed with the titular ,phosperecent, Crimson Butterflies is a powerful and memorable image.

Overall this is not your generic survival horror, this is something very special that only comes around every so often. Its an art house styled horror game, its psychological, thought provoking and terrifying all at the same time.
This Is , in my opinion, tied with  Silent Hill 2 for the title of greatest Survival horror game in the genre.  This game is an achievement in a world of mindless shooters and sex appeal over story. 

If you are a survival horror fan you owe it to yourself to play this game.


DOOM 3: The Review

Developer: Id software
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: Xbox port
Released April 8th, 2005
Genre: Horror FPS

So another freebie here, gifted by a friend for a review, he knew id been going on about this for ages said it wouldn't come close to my expectations. 
Given the hype he was right, it was far worse.

I know, i know. Im negative form the outset, how is that for a fair review?, well, its not. Though i will validate my feelings for a game i hold in almost as low regard as army of two, e.a's pinnacle in the calibre of shit games.

The story, what little there is has you playing a generic, in every sense of the word, space marine on a base on mars. Just as hes settling in to his new digs hell literally breaks loose, and you the only one man army on hand to stop it.
Not original, but hey, i let it slide, master chiefs not exactly the most charismatic protagonist yet still comes off as a heroic figure, so why not this guy?
-ill get to it.

Gameplay wise its okay, it definitely has kinks that need ironing out, for example the set controls at the start are horrendous, back switches weapons, the triggers open menus. its just a mess, and requires serious tweaking to get playable. The game also does not save.
you heard me.
i got halfway through, died for the first time and promptly swore my ass off when i saw i was back at the beginning were i quick-saved because of the terrible controls. i mean honestly, no auto save?, is this 1991? there's just no reason not to have it, if it can quick save it should have checkpoints and auto save features, even the most lackluster budget games are capable of this.
These are small gripes but right off the bat they break you off from engaging with the subject matter, and its very hard to be scared in a game when you are seething cruses at the controller.
I think the biggest gameplay problem is it was ported straight form pc to xbox and given a very rough control system, back then it was still like the xbox was just a pc for casual gamers rather than the franchise in its own right it has become and i think they felt they had little incentive to do more than just burn it onto a dvd, slap and xbox sticker on it and wave off the delivery man.

Sound wise its quite good, luckily i was expecting "ARD CORE METTULZ!" when i played this but luckily it does use the good old adage of silence being more deafening in horror than any soundtrack, it gets you, when you can get into the game, paranoid all the time, did i just hear a moan in the shadows?, was that something around the corner walking? its nothing at all memorable, but it gives the game character and i like that.

Graphics... now heres the thing. It was praised for implementing shadows right? well it doesn't implement them into the game, they drown the game in them. Again, thats all well and good when it comes to intent to scare. But it takes away form the enjoyment of the game, and with frustration comes disassociation and the illusion of the piece is ruined and it loses the ability to scare, this gets steadily worse as it progresses, by halfway you know that the darker a corner is, the more likely a monster will be in there. There not bad, kinda the way games of the time made players look like they were made of cottage cheese but thats just aging badly.

This port does have some cool extras, the first 2 doom games on the disc, trailers the like, overall its a nice package considering it was free. But in the long-run id say this is either a poor port, or has aged incredibly badly. I feel i must finish each one to give a fair judgment, but i cannot play all the way through this because its too much like work, its not scary, its not fun, its not a game. its an interactive screensaver, its not that its a bad game, its just there's so many better outings i can recommend instead, so this has dragged its score down.

unreasonable?, maybe. but i cant in good conscience give this such a score when i know there's a better game out there, hell i had more fun playing condemned 2 and you can just read my review on an older post about my thoughts on that.

Its really hard to give this game a numerical value out of ten, it feels like a 4 out of ten, so ill say that, but really i can just say "thumbs down" and shake my head in disappointment.

If you see this in a shop, put it down, go pick up prey or condemned instead, you'll thank me for saving, not your money, but your time.


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

"Experience the fear"

So I thought it was time for a break down of fatal frame 4 from what we know.

We can get a few things 1: That the protagonist has ties to a hospital, does this mean the girls pictured on the official site are her and other patients?, or did they all live on this island the hospital has connections to? They were "rescued", but are now dying off. is this a ring style curse?, or perhaps the purpose they were born for, are they more rope shrine maidens or something more sinister. 5 for the 5 elements in japanese folklore?.

Who knows, but the reading makes interesting food for though doesn't it?

What about the name of the game? "The Mask of the Lunar Eclipse"?

what significance does that bear?  

The only reference i could find to an eclipse was the Shinto sun goddess "Amarterasu ", Who caused an eclipse by sealing a cave, from what ive read ,hurriedly, on the subject the world was saved by a sumo. which, whilst saying something for the bravery of the sumo, doesn't seem in keeping with the theme of the series.
What about masks? 
The first thing that comes to mind are Japanese Noh Theatre masks. The noh performances are based on 6 groupings, possibly it could be used for 5 girls and an eclipse as the 6th grouping? 
Although, the Noh theatre has routes in Buddhism, not shinto like i think the rest of the series is, so again. not in keeping with the vibe of its predecessors.
Honestly i dont think ill ever guess the story before i play it, but its fun to think about it and take wild guesses, and learn some folklore in the process.

Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines: The Review

Developers: Troika Games
Publishers: Activision
Released: November 19th, 2004
Platforms: PC

Right off the bat i was... unsure about bloodlines. 

I got it free with S.T.A.L.K.E.R: shadow of chernobyl one day and knew nothing about it, save that it was a video-game rpg made in the half life engine  based on a pen and paper/LARP (like action role play) game akin to dungeons and dragons, albeit set in a vampire controlled L.A.

Nether-the-less i gave in and tried it. since the idea of owning a horror game and not playing it, at least for a review, left me huddled in a corner, rocking back and forewords in a fetal position.

okay, not really, but still i felt like i had to give it a try.

So the game is a somewhat free roaming game, with 5 "hubs" that are a lot like a level from tony hawks underground 2 meets the early street levels of max payne. You play  as a male or female character of your choosing form one of several subclans of vampires. each with different abilities ,some magic based, others brutish savages and everything in between. 

Gameplay wise its a 3rd person horror themed action adventure with rpg elements. you have your typical wasd movement, aim with the mouse as a crosshair and either shoot in fps mode of swing a weapon in 3rd person. everything is simple to control, even though the jumping is akin to a crab performing gymnastics.  the controls are slightly self piloting. you dont pick a lock, you right click on a lock and either do or dont, its not like thief or oblivion were you actually pick it yourself. Its a little gripe, but i like my games, not just horror, but across the board, to have a little room for self expression in it. Here the gameplay, whilst enjoyable, feels like its an unfinished tech demo for a playstation game. I know the whole "self expression" thing sounds uppity and pretentious, but this IS a ROLE PLAYING game, yet it never draws you into the character, you never make it your own, you cant choose appearance, very few dialogue trees come to different final conclusions.

.....i know im going off on a tangent here but it is a fallacy rpg that appears to give to the player the freedom it promises, and in gameplay alone you can see that it would have easily worked on the consoles as a straight up 3rd person action horror game.


Storywise you can slightly affect your choices but overall its quite a linear experience in comparison to most rpgs, its rpg-lite. you are given the "embrace", become a childe of the night and are part of a clan, you are then cast out to do menial tasks for the night un-life of los angeles. during the beinnings of you getting into all these political shenanigans things start to go very awry. a ship, full of dead seamen and a sarcophagus driftsto shore, a powerful vampire suddenly becomes reclusive, and a serial killer is on the loose.  Say what you want about its shallow designs, it does have a good number of sub-plots ,seperate from the core narrative, and i like that. whilst there isn't much choice, there is a choice WHEN to do most things and these little stories actual take up more game than the core story missions, and not unlike gta you will find yourself doing these way before heading onto the next area to fight another boss.

Graphically speaking its of the time. its made in the half life engine, which means details, but also a kind of ...i dont know, feeling you in a box with buildings painted around the edges. its not sandbox gameplay, its lunchbox gameplay, a close emulation, though it lacks the true freedom of its larger, sandier counterpart.
the characters are well designed, although a lot more time is spent on the women's cleavage than buildings which is A: questionable and B: unsurprising given this is a game about vampires, natures enemy of the corset.
All in all the graphics have character, they do have a tendency to jar, with the likes of warcraft and stalker contained in the same level, but the overall design thematically works soundly.

Overall i, not a pc gamer, but part of the console playing sub race whos primary evolutionary traits are playing first person shooters and being loud, Found bloodlines to be that rare thing. -A pc game i can actually play, its witty, exciting, though never scary. The music and graphics suit the dark, comic-noir feel and most importantly i had fun. if you own a pc that can play it, as a horror fan you should play it.


Getting affiliated or "How to Whore yourself out like it's going out of style"

So here's a few websites that have listed me, so its only fair i give a little recommendation for each herein.

1: Black sanctuary - I only discovered this one recently and it doesnt appear to be as well advertised as it should be. Basically its an easy to explore directory of sites about survival horror gameing. Rnaging from general review and article sites like this one you fine readers are visting right now. To "shrines" to various characters form games, though its lamentabel the town itself from silent hill games has no such place as it was allways the most malevolent of characters in my opinion. it also includes fan fiction site and forums and is generally a good source of information when you take all of these sites, adn therefore the sizeable amount fo survival horror fans connected to it.
Very much worth adding to favourites.

2: Chris' survival horror quest - Possibly my favourite site form the ones on this list. Ive been visting for, damn, must be 5 years now maybe? I dont so much go there for articles or reviews, more for the community on the excellent forum, and to hear Chris (a videogames deisgner himself) give an intriguing insight from the other sid eof the looking glass on the current situation in the survival horror genre.
A must visit for horror fans.

3: Beyond the camera's Lens - By now you know that ,aside from my first horror passion silent hill, fatal frame is horror series i hold in the highest of regards. Not only because its still consistently terrifying to me, but it just has a style ot it thats like the game equivalent of an art house film. Evidently the Sites owners must have the same passion for these games given its Fatal frame theme.
To sum it up its bloody well designed, has genuine character to the site and its gonna be my location for fatal frame 4 news.
Not really affiliated ,but still very much worth a mention.

4: The Bitter End - Another general horror site, frequently updated with regualr news, that is a good source of information on more obscure games. The owners clearly go that extra mile by seeking out inromation, so yeah, another thumbs up.

5: The silent hill forum - been a member for going on 4 years now, great commuity with allways a new philosophical discussion going on or something. really great stuff overall.

Theres a few sites im affiliated with, or just link to because you should visit them, so scat!, go have a ganders and get off mah damn lawn!!!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds - The Review

Developers: Eurocom
Publishers: Vivendi
Platforms: Gamecube, Xbox, PS2
Released: August 27th, 2003
Genre: Horror themed beat-em-up/ Action adventure

Now i must admit, the time of Buffy has passed somewhat. I don't get into the reruns as much as i used to, but its always going to have some appeal for me, as Buffy the vampire slayer was one of THE key shows the springs to mind when i reminisce about my childhood viewing habits.
So i wasn't that jazzed to get into this one, but it was £2 so what the hell?, i gave it a spin.

The game opens literally dropping you into the middle of a fight. Giles' shop ," The Magic Box" is under assault from a gang of vampires. The task falls to the player to rid the store of these undead gatecrashers. Only a change has been made since the first one. Your not alone anymore.
Not only can you play as the titular Buffy summers, but now you are joined by the rest of the scooby's. You can fight using magic with Willow Rosenberg. Use vampiric strength with Spike. The Monster hunting skills of Sid the dummy. Faiths slayer strength.

and Xander harris, with the power of comic timing!

So each has different skills for you to use. Unfortunately you have no choice in which to play as, which would have added a nice multiple route ,puzzle solving aspect. Though this is because each characters location and motivations is intrinsic to the games plot.

To sum it up without spoilers, Buffys enemies are returning from the dead, alternate realities are "bleeding" into one another. Then wouldja believe its up to her to save the world?

So, game play. For the most part this is a fun, albeit flawed, beat-em-up engine. You use block, punch and kick (or in willows case energy or fire) to create combos with varying degrees of eviserating capabilities. Its fun, but its far to easy to get stuck in a combo by accident and punch yourself a path right past the enemy. then get knocked down by then and have ten bells of shit beat out of you for the transgression. Honestly, i know this was 5 years ago now, but i would have still kept this back a few more weeks to iron out some of the combat problems.
Story wise its basically a typical joss whedon creation. unique dialogue compared to most 3rd person games in the same vein. Though i must admit whedons "witty one liners" for characters, most noteably buffy and xander, have grown incredibly tired and stale since the first season of buffy.
I should point out that this is set between 2 episodes of season 5, just a while after joyce summers has died. overall the story has good dialogue, but the main plot itself seems like a straight up budget title, point being you could skip every cutscene and still play happily.
Music wise its the exact same stuff from the first game, granted i havent played it in a good few years now, but im quite sure that its the exact soundtrack that played through the first one. it still works, dont get me wrong, each scene is well set by it. it just sems cheap is all.
now i feel i should mention ,before i get to graphics, that this is a "monther" game.

What do i mean by "monther?" you ask?

a Monther is a game were you will breeze through 2 hours of gameplay and get to a point were you will be inexplicably stuck with no way of knowing how to progress, and without gamefaq's you will leave the game for months without knowing what to do.
For example, Xander had to get passed an electric fence. i saw an obviously pointed out fuse box, since its texture was a brighter hue than anything else in the room. I wasnt told this however, i was told nothing. save for the fact 20 minutes earlier a woman, ONLY IF YOU HIT HER BY MISTAKE. tells you that she hid a crossbow in the building.
I look everywere but find nothing. so the month begins, least, it would have had i had no internet connection.
Turns out you must beat open a locker, not use the same action to open doors, but beat a locker that looks eactly the same as 7 other lockers in the same room who are all indestructable boxes of scenery.
Then i shot the fuse box and climbed the fence.

This also occured in ghosthunter with the librarys poulterghiest, it doesnt ruin the gameplay really, but it just doesnt explain in any way what you need to do, and it should to some extent. not a major gripe to put me off the game, but worth ranting about.

Finally graphics, this is an odd one, character model wise theres 3 for each type of bad guy. though each model is skinned 3 different ways to streatch out the amount. thoughyou still run into the same ones in groups for some unkown reason, save the developers got a bit lazy.
xander, willow and giles look startlingly like there on screen counterparts in this videogame outing, buffy and spike however look like a generic npc from an mmo, no charcter to there appearance. just generic blocks.
the enviroments are varied enough, from a midnight churchyard to the streets of sunnyvale and beyond. there pretty cool and quite large for an origional xbox title, i was quite pleased by it. i was expecting small fable sized areas but the developers whent to town on this portion.

Overall its a game with character. Its flawed, but i dont think theres been a 3rd person action game yet that hasnt had a few glaring scratches in an otherwise stellar paintjob. Sure you can get stuck for months and the soundtack is recycled, but as a whole package it works. i had fun playing it and i think i will play it again some day instead of trading it in disspointed like i did with my last review.
If your a buffy fan its a definate purchase, though likely you have allready. For general fans of horror themed games id say give it a try, given its extreme budget pricetag its worth the miniscule dent in your wallet, but if it was brand new?, maybe not.

ill give chaos bleeds [6/10]