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  1. Today on the official Superflat Games blog it was announced that Lone Survivor will be coming to PSN. This is great news for those who have yet to pick up the indie horror title on PC previously. It will be on both PS3 and Vita as a digital download Along with this good news there was also some bad news. The bad news is that a game previously teased by Jasper Byrne is cancelled. For that news, there was very little known about the game to begin with. All we ever saw were some mockups and early screenshots of the game, tenatively titled New Game +. What was it supposed to be? It was intended to be an adventure game but now the adventure will never be explored. This leaves Byrne, as well as Superflat Games, looking at an empty project list for the time being. Going back to Lone Survivor, Byrne states: "I“m greatly looking forward to this, as it“s been a dream of mine since childhood to release a game on console, and especially the Sony ones as I love what they do most of all. Anyone who follows my twitter will know that I don“t tend to play games on PC, I really am a couch gamer, most happy on my PS3! Lone Survivor was designed as a console game (in my head, anwyay.) In fact, all the games I work on I really imagine being on console, or fantasise about, anyway!" It's good news for him, but also Sony players. There is no date or pricing information available as of yet. If you haven't played the game still then it may be worth a look. We reviewed it back in March and it received a rare 9 out of 10.
  2. It's fair to say the Mario series is more kid-friendly than most games out there. Always has been, always will be. Or has it? There have actually been a lot of strange things creeping into one of Nintendo's biggest franchises since the very first game. While most everyone is familiar with the easter egg/glitch that appears to show Luigi dead from a supposed hanging in the Gamecube title Luigi's Mansion, there are more horrors awaiting those of you willing to investigate deeper into Mario's world. Here are just four horrors for your reading entertainment. The Ghosts Of Hell Valley When you think of Super Mario Galaxy 2, does the name "Hell Valley" come to mind? How about horrifying little goblin monsters watching Mario from afar? No? Well they're there. And they're watching you all the time no matter where you go. As long as you're in the Shiverburn Galaxy, that is. Throughout the entire level you're being watched by three tiny silhouettes off on the edge of the map. They never go away and they're never even mentioned. They're just there... Watching you. Seriously... Just why do they exist!? You must be wondering, "Why are they called the ghosts of Hell Valley if they're found in the Shiverburn Galaxy?" Well, that name was given to them by a few users who just couldn't leave them well enough alone. They dug through the game's files and found the image of the watchers. The title of the skybox? BeyondHellValley. An area that of course does not appear in the game. The figures themselves are titled "HellValleySkyTree." but you look me in the eye and tell me those things are freaking trees. I dare you. Mario Is A Serial Killer This one goes all the way back to the original Super Mario Brothers game. Ever since the very first game in the series, Mario has been killing the inhabitants of the Mushroom kingdom. Don't believe me? Look up the original Super Mario Brothers instruction booklet. It'll hold the answers for you. The secret is murder For those of you who don't want to look it up, I'll explain it to you. THE BLOCKS ARE PEOPLE! Every block you break throughout the game is a person who was turned into a brick by the Koopas. Those are (or were) people Mario is smashing apart in each level. Why do you get points for smashing them? Because just like the goombas you've been stomping on throughout the game, you're killing the inhabitant. Where Bowser merely imprisoned the kingdom's people, Mario committed full on genocide. Pretty Much Everything Is Alive Think about what happens when you get a power up mushroom in the Mario games. What exactly happens when one appears? Do they just pop out of the ground and wait for you to pick them up? No, of course not! They run. They run because Mario is going to eat them. While it might not be apparent due to the mushrooms and fireflower (also alive) disappearing when Mario uses them, but make no mistake. Mario is eating them. He even talks about how they taste. Apparently he doesn't like them, but he needs their power. I LIVE MERELY TO DIE To continue this horrible trend in a world obviously not worth living in are the Bob Ombs and Bullet Bills. They're literally born to die. A Bob Omb will either sleep until their fuse is activated or just march itself to an immediate death after it is born. And Bullet Bills have it even worse. We know that Bowser uses normal nonliving cannon fire, so why does Bullet Bill even have to exist? He's released out of a cannon and all he can do is watch as he hurdles towards his demise. He has arms so he can obviously do more than explode, but the game won't let him. He is destined to die along with every one else in Mario's way. Toad Can Freaking Pull His Head Off Toad's head is a mushroom. We all know this as a fact. Nothing you say or show me will change that. But now I'm going to show you something that will rock your world and change your perception of reality forever. That image comes courtesy of the Super Mario Brothers Show. This is somehow worse than the Hell Valley image Yep. That's Toad pulling his head off as if it were a hat. This is the only time throughout the entire history of Mario where you see Toad taking his head thing off. Up until this point, that thing on his head was always just his head. But this changes things. Deep down, we all know Toad is some tiny weird egg thing that's clearly trying to masquerade as a member of the Mushroom Kingdom. Or they all look like that. What is wrong with the Mushroom Kingdom's inhabitants? Why do Mario and Peach look normal, but everyone else is mutated in such strange ways? These are just a few of the horrors we know about the Mario Universe. There's plenty more that can be dug up, but you won't see me trying. Especially after the discovery of Hell Valley. What do you think of all these horrors? Why not post in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Silent Hill: Book of Memories

    Developer: WayFoward Technologies Publisher: Konami Platform: Vita Release Date: October 16, 2012 ESRB: M for Mature When Silent Hill: Book of Memories was announced as being a multiplayer-focused dungeon crawler, fans couldn“t handle it. Many longtime lovers of the Silent Hill series complained that the choices put into the Vita title would ruin any shot at the game being a part of the series. Some of this opposition even got into the minds of non-fans, who then were less excited to give it a shot. All of this was said long before anyone was playing the game though. Now that Book of Memories is finally out, everyone can finally form an opinion on it. Were fans“ worries on the mark or were they taking this spin-off too seriously? First off, one must go into this game knowing that it is a huge departure from the more established world of Silent Hill on consoles. It is obviously a spin-off, but it is so far from the series that it could almost be considered a new game. There are ways that it is brought back to the town of Silent Hill, but for the most part you will see little of that franchise in how the game controls. In regards to looks though, there are many similarities. These things do not cause any issue for the game as they work well together. When starting up the game you“ll be greeted with a slightly hammy story about a young adult who is visited by a mailman. This mailman (straight out of Silent Hill: Downpour) brings you a book, says a few odd remarks, then leaves. Your character, which is designed with simple customization tools, looks through the tome and discovers that their entire life has been detailed in it. For no real reason other than curiosity, they then decide to edit the book and change fate. With that, every time they sleep they enter a horrific dream world where gameplay takes place. Once in these randomly-generated dungeon worlds you are on your own (well, in single player). Silent Hill 3“s Valtiel greets you and assigns a task. Although finishing his quests are not required, they will cause him to reward you. Unless you“re in a huge rush, though, you will often achieve the goal by simply wandering around. Each dungeon has a few standby features such as special challenge rooms, one save, shop, locked doors, and a puzzle at the end. It might already be sounding somewhat Silent Hill-like, but what really seals the deal is the visuals. Main enemies in the game are drawn straight from throughout the series. Nurses are among the first you encounter, but so too are gaggles of other enemy types. If fans aren“t pushed away by the cross pollution of characters, then they may in fact enjoy seeing them all together. The dungeons themselves are also designed with distinct Silent Hill flair. Backdrops are often dark, grated, rusty, and all around depressing. No one would confuse Book of Memories with a Diablo or Torchlight game. Beyond the visuals, the game takes on a very new identity. Gameplay is just like one would expect from a dungeon crawler. From your isometric perspective you wander from room to room, collecting weapons, ammo, or notes, and try to find the end. Along the way you will come across enemies in most rooms as well as stronger enemies scattered throughout. Fighting is accomplished by simply swinging or firing a weapon and doing best to not get hit back. Players can either dodge or block to lessen damage, but this becomes tough to do if enemies corner you. Weapons themselves sometimes fall from enemies or are found in drawers and the environment. Gameplay is very challenging. It takes a little bit to get a feel for how to best fight enemy types, but even after that you“ll still see that it is hard to proceed quickly. This is because characters are also required to level up their skills (and weapons). Fighting enemies loitering in rooms is often cumbersome, but it is the only way to rise up the ranks. If you aren“t properly leveled, you won“t be able to proceed too many stages ahead. Although you aren“t required to grind, it often becomes the best tactic for continued smooth progress throughout the game. Grinding in and of itself is no issue but becomes a chore after a while. This is true of many other titles as well, but especially so here when rooms are so tiny and weapons break. Although breakable weapons are certainly a modern feature of Silent Hill games, it is an especially unhelpful addition here. At the start, and even after leveling up your backpack, there are only a few spaces to store items. There are a fair amount of weapons to find from level to level, but often you“re going to want to keep stronger things with you. Thankfully, there is an item which repairs weapons but you can only carry so many of these at a time as well (upgrades when backpack is upgraded). It is tough to fight through hordes of enemies while keeping a grip on your favorite weapons without them breaking. If there were a few more slots opened up early on then it would be less of a problem. Another feature that causes grinding to be a bit rough is Karma. All throughout play, there is a Karma meter at the top of the screen which shows if you are aligning toward a dark or light path. It doesn“t make much sense, as you can get either path by killing enemies, but it does serve a purpose. When enemies die, they will have a pool of blood where they once stood. This blood is either red or white, and when you run over it, you collect it. In this way, you can choose to collect only red or white to boost your Karma in either direction. Doing so will affect notes that are scattered around as well as push towards one of the game“s multiple endings. What are these notes I“ve mentioned a few times? They are a part of the game that seem to harken back best to the world of Silent Hill. Each level has its own series of notes scattered around the world which tell little interpersonal stories between people. They aren“t very important to the gameplay at hand, but give you glimpses into troubles others are facing. When notes are red, it means that they are showing off a darker side of the story, while white provides more peaceful resolutions. There was no need to have this addition in the game but the fact that it is shows that WayForward was looking for some way to please fans. It“s a nice attempt, as is how the Karma will change up a few things. At the end of every dungeon is a puzzle. In order to operate the puzzles, though, you must go through and find all the parts necessary for it. As you will be tending to clear out dungeons for leveling, finding these objects is rarely a challenge. That doesn“t mean they are perfect puzzles either. The main issue with the end of level puzzles is that they are all highly similar. You may find a puzzle clue in the level earlier, but they all will say a handful of hints, depending on the puzzle. Obviously this is done because there are many levels possible and randomizing puzzles means you can only offer so many hints and puzzle types. Fans will balk at these puzzles because they are incredibly easy once you understand what each hint means. On that same note, other players may find it annoying because they can“t understand what a more obscure clue means. Either way, once a puzzle is solved, they may proceed onward. Every few levels there will be a boss fight. These certainly aren“t unknown to the franchise and bring a bit more creativity to the game. At these points, you'll be forced to fight against wholly new creatures which are pretty big and tough. Once they have been defeated, you“ll get a strong (and pricey) weapon as well as a note. Sometimes, after grabbing a note you“ll be unable to grab the weapon, so make sure to always grab the item first. Grinding through levels with a boss at the end are a good idea as you are able to sell off the strong weapons for a lot of money afterward. However, much of the game seems entirely lonely and cumbersome in single player. Taking the game online for a 2-4 player co-op session really is the preferred way to play Book of Memories. Once in a game with another player, you are free to do whatever, but for the most fun it is best to explore together rather than running off separately. You may collaborate with other members by using in-game voice prompts or simply speak into the Vita speaker for others to hear. In the case of a game like this, the microphone feature is integral so it“s great to see it used. Once working together, teams can blaze through levels much easier. One issue with multiplayer is that objects do not remain for both players. That means you“ll probably have many teammates who, upon entering a room, will dash off to open all drawers to loot them. This leaves little weaponry, health, and the like for others. The same can be said for notes, which disappear after being read by one person. Puzzles can also only be solved by one person at a time but that“s a good thing since otherwise it would be chaotic. Also of note, only the player hosting an online game will have progress registered upon completing new levels. However, everyone will retain their leveled up stats and weapons once heading offline. Still, multiplayer is the place to be if you can find a game to join. The key word in that statement is “if”. There were a handful of online games during the week of release, but since then they have leveled off quite a bit. The likelihood now of stumbling into a game is much tougher. I routinely checked daily and found that no one was around. This doesn“t mean that no one is playing online though. There are small groups that have formed to play together, but good luck getting into them now. The hope is that after a while more people will have the game and therefore there will be more chances at playing online with others. At the very least, if you have a friend with the game, you know they will be around for some online dungeon crawling. Finally, there must be some discussion of the game“s other Vita functions. One of the best implementations comes in use with special attacks. Players can use these once they have enough good or bad Karma and they are triggered with the rear touch pad. It“s easy to do because it is out of the way and your fingers are there anyway. More troubling is the use of the front touch pad. In order to use items in your inventory or pick up weapons, the front touch screen must be used. This wouldn“t be so bad if it weren“t for the fact that you often won“t have the time to carefully plan out your touch. During battles with lots of enemies, you may want to quickly use some health. However, many times it will end up that your touch slightly misses the health. Fearing death, players might hammer around with their thumbs a bit more, using two or three health in rapid succession instead. The touch area is small and it“s not intuitive enough to force players to use. When it comes right down to it, Silent Hill: Book of Memories is mostly an average, forgettable experience in single player. It may have all the dressings of a Silent Hill game, but that in no way makes the game more compelling. The best the game has to offer is a multiplayer mode that becomes fun due to difficulty being more manageable. Good multiplayer games also foster a kinship between the other players who are willing to share items and protect each other. Without such a mode, though, it feels like the game is missing something over a very long experience. Your best bet is to pick this game up if you love dungeon crawlers and have a buddy or two who are willing to explore by your side. Pros: + Multiplayer with a helpful team is quite enjoyable + Enemies pulled from the series are fun to see all together + Strong weapons to be found to destroy everything in your path Cons: - Limited inventory + breakable weapons is not a fun combo - “Silent Hill” connection is mostly aesthetic - Gameplay is not varied, nor are level puzzles Overall Score: 6.5 (Out of 10) Decent Despite initial fears, Silent Hill: Book of Memories is at its most fun when exploring dungeons with others.
  4. Fans of campy horror movies where teenagers are routinely butchered have very little games that mirror the experience. There are a few games here and there, but mostly it seems that developers want to mimic more serious scares. That's not to say that upcoming PS3-exclusive Until Dawn will be completely free of actual scares, but it does appear to be channeling a certain kind of horror film. In the game, you take control of eight teenagers who have situated themselves in a log cabin in the middle of the woods. Of course, someone is out there with them and apparently is set to do very Saw-like things to the teens. At the very least, this trailer seems to be taking itself more seriously than the one shown at E3. You can view the brief trailer here: http://youtu.be/B-ipV0lBnmU There's no date for Until Dawn as of yet aside from the fact that it's coming in 2013. According to the developer Supermassive Games, it also requires the Move controller. They may add DualShock support at some point, but have not announced it so far.
  5. What news would be better on Halloween than a trailer for the upcoming Amnesia sequel? None! Amnesia: The Dark Descent managed to scare countless gamers when it came out in 2010 and the sequel is now looking to do the same. There hasn't been much shown of the new game since June (with a teaser trailer) but now we have another video which shows off more gameplay, but less pig squealing. A Machine for Pigs took development out of Frictional Games' hands and instead gave the reigns over to thechineseroom (developers of Dear Esther). Although this may worry fans of the Penumbra series or Amensia, which were both created by Frictional, they will still be around with the role of producer. Regardless of who is behind the title, it does appear that it still has the hallmarks of Amnesia intact. Check out the trailer below and see if you agree:
  6. With Fall comes the best holiday of the season for horror-enthusiasts: Halloween! For those of us who enjoy a good scare, the month is rife with horror films and people looking for something to make them jump out of the seat. Although there is certainly no lack of games in the horror genre to try, finding truly scary or interesting ones can be tough at times. If you“re someone looking for a worthwhile horror gaming experience then take a look at this list. Chances are, there“s at least one game here which even a horror aficionado has yet to pick up. Amnesia: The Dark Descent How can anyone make a list of worthwhile horror games on PC without mentioning this modern classic? Frictional Games has been working on games for a while now but somehow this is the game which ended up being their blockbuster hit. Most of us have played this through, but if you haven“t, then definitely give it a shot. There is a reason why there are zillions of videos of people freaking out playing Amnesia online - it“s good at being scary! What made it such a success? Those who have only experienced more modern horror games probably aren“t much familiar with games where you aren't given ample bullets and ways to destroy everything in your path. Instead of going out guns blazing, Amnesia forces you to be prey for some strange, inhuman being. Making players fear for their life works well, and creates many tense situations. If you“ve already played this, consider looking at Frictional“s Penumbra series. That, or wait for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs in early 2013. Downfall Are you someone who has played Lone Survivor or Home, or does either game appeal to you? If so, perhaps checking out Downfall would be worth your while. This is an indie adventure game developed by Harvester Games which didn“t end up getting much publicity back in 2009. Regardless, it pushed boundaries that few studios have ever touched, and did so well. It“s especially impressive considering the game was in fact Harvester“s first game - and a one man effort to boot. The game focuses around a man who is traveling with his wife. She begins to act strange so he decides the best course of action is to stop for a night in a motel. Of course, once he wakes up he finds her missing and the story progresses onward from here. If you“ve ever heard of this game before, it“s probably due to the massive amounts of gore and sick stuff tackled during play. Sometimes it can be a bit overdone, but for the most part it is refreshing and works with the story. Check it out, and if it“s not quite your thing (or is completely), maybe the more polished Sanitarium will quench your horror adventure gaming thirst. The Path Here“s a game that doesn“t really fit what many may expect from a horror game. With this title, Tale of Tales took quite an unusual spin on the Little Red Riding Hood story. Taking control of one of six sisters, the game simply prompts you to “stay on the path” to grandmother“s house. Of course, being curious young girls, you can“t help wonder what lies beyond it. As players, the compulsion to venture into the wood is too strong, so of course most everyone wanders in. What happens off the path? Each sister has her own tale, but searching through the woods feels quite worrisome. It“s not due to the fact that you disobeyed orders so much as once you“re out there you realize there was probably a good reason such a rule was given to the children. Some may find it slow, but if you“re willing to get invested in the world, the disturbing and even mystical events that unfold are totally worth playing it for. Pathologic Of all the games on the list, this is probably the hardest one to recommend wholeheartedly, although those devoted to the horror genre should still definitely check it out. What exactly is Pathologic? It is a game developed by the Russian team Ice-Pick Lodge which focuses in on a town of which a doctor played by you has just entered. The inhabitants in this town are not well, however, as a disease is slowly killing off the entire population. What can you do? There“s only one thing to do and that is to try and save the diseased around you, or at least save yourself. The ideas brought forth in this game are incredible and deserve to be looked into more by other games. Earlier I said this is a hard one to recommend and that is due to parts of the game rather than its whole. For one, the translation from Russian to English is rough and doesn“t create the best script. Secondly, the graphics were rather poor at the time of release and now definitely will appear crude and even humorous to some now. Still, if you can get past these facts, as well as some tough missions, then Pathologic is quite the horrific journey. Scratches Do you play many point-and-click adventure games? If not, is it due to the confounding puzzles or stigma that they can“t be scary? If so, then push all those thoughts out of mind and start up Scratches. This game focuses in around a mansion who has a really awful history with its owners. Unexpected death, suicide, and disappearances have all occurred in this manor, but it doesn“t stop a novelist from taking up residence there to work on his book. However, he is barely given any time to enjoy his alone time to write, as he begins to hear scratching sounds from somewhere in the building. Just the setup is a bit creepy, but actually playing the game makes for an excellent horror experience. For a point-and-click game, it is actually light on puzzles that rely on ridiculous “logic”, instead focusing on fewer overall. The game manages to scare thanks to a fantastic atmosphere, soundtrack, and ambient sounds. Slowly uncovering the history of the house is interesting, and only grows scarier as you progress. The buildup to the finale is something that horror fans owe to themselves to experience. While there are many great horror games to be had on consoles, it seems that some of the most creative and daring titles only ever make it to PC. And with so many games on PC, it“s even hard to make a list of notable titles, because there are always more coming out. Hopefully some of the games on this list are ones you agree with, or are now on your list to play. Whatever the case is, enjoy getting scared from the comfort of your computer and have a happy Halloween!
  7. Marcus Estrada

    Steam's Halloween Sale Going on Now

    Were two bundles of horror games not enough for you? If so, then perhaps Steam will be where you want to spend your money. They have started up a Halloween Sale today and its full of games of varying degrees of scariness (some of which aren't creepy at all). Still, all but a few titles fit in some way into the blanket of Halloween-friendly. Series' like Left 4 Dead and F.E.A.R. are included, as well as many standalone games. Here are some of the highlights: Alan Wake - $15 Condemned: Criminal Origins - $7.50 Killing Floor - $5 Lone Survivor - $5 Painkiller Complete Pack - $7.50 They Bleed Pixels - $4 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - $5 The Walking Dead - $15 Games such as Amnesia are also on sale but at this point everyone probably has it from one Steam sale or another. Recently-released Lucius is also on sale, but only at 15%, but that isn't much of a sale. We're also inching closer to the eventual Steam Holiday Sale so some may choose to just hold out for that one. Do any of the games included in the sale interest you?
  8. Horror as a genre is something that has been around for a long, long time. Stories like Frankenstein, films like Psycho, and others have captured the minds of people years after their releases. Although many will shrug off horror as a fad, it always manages to come around and bring out new, enticing experiences. The same is true of horror games, although they have seen quite a shift as time goes on. Now we“ve got games like Resident Evil 6 which received critical reception and may or may not even quality as horror anymore. Upcoming titles like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs instead look to try and recapture more primal scares. Where did horror games start? Will they ever come back to their roots? Most will suggest that Sweet Home, Alone in the Dark, or even Resident Evil started the horror game genre. However, the earliest attempts at horror were even older. They may not have sparked a fad, but they are important all the same, especially when you consider how similar they are thematically to what came later. One of the very first was Haunted House on Atari 2600 in 1982. The game had players controlling a pair of bright white eyes through a pitch black mansion. As you search for an urn which needs to be pieced together, enemies attempt to get you. Your goal isn“t to simply avoid them, though, as you“re required to collect other items in order to access new sections of the mansion. It“s an incredibly simplistic game but it set up a few basic ideas: haunted houses are scary and contain puzzles. Uninvited The Atari 2600 was home to other horror games, such as the extremely limited print run of Halloween, and a few others, but after that it was up to the computer crowd to come up with something. In 1986, a new game came to Macs named Uninvited. The point-and-click adventure took place in, you guessed it, a haunted house filled with creepy things. Again, it made sure to include puzzles for progression and a graphically impressive atmosphere for the time. The Lurking Horror was released a year later, but in stark contrast, featured no graphics. Despite being a text adventure, it managed to be quite effective at scaring the player and ultimately became a popular game. Heading into the late 1980s we will now see one of the games that everyone likes to classify as the “original” horror game... but we'll get to that in a minute. There is one more notable game that requires a mention. Project Firestart arrived in 1989, in fact, only a few months before Sweet Home. Regardless, it managed to be another title which now seems like a blueprint of the genre. Despite trying to be an action game, the atmosphere was made to be eerie. It offered up players only limited ammo as well which contributed to a feeling of weakness. In order to push the narrative, players would discover abandoned journals and learn from first hand accounts. What games do you know of nowadays that employ this same technique? While Project Firestart isn“t entirely playable today for most, it does deserve credit for being a fair contender for a blueprint of horror games. A few months later, Sweet Home arrived on the Famicom (the Japanese equivalent of the NES). It“s easy to see why people peg this as the de-facto horror template as it contains all the hallmarks, such as a haunted mansion, group of survivors, puzzles, and did in fact serve as inspiration for Resident Evil. Funnily, the game was itself based off a film of the same name, meaning it is licensed title. Regardless, it fused a horror atmosphere with RPG elements and managed to be a worthwhile adventure. Unfortunately, gamers outside of Japan have never had the opportunity to play a “legitimate” copy. Splatterhouse When thinking of these games, it“s easy to point out that horror has shifted away from ponderous searching into blood-soaked FPSes, but that“s not completely accurate. Even back in the 80s there were pairing horror themes with action gameplay. Massive series such as Castlevania had begun back then, as did Splatterhouse with its gory, gross, and over-the-top killings. Mostly though, attention was paid to depicting haunted houses. If you wonder why, simply look to the '80s film landscape, which was when the slasher film flourished. Slashers took place in shopping malls, markets, and more, but mostly they took place in scary buildings. Although there are even more games that peppered the '80s, the next big title is Alone in the Dark from 1992. With this title, we were pushed into a polygonal world of horror. Although the graphics appear more goofy today, they managed to bring the idea of static camera angles to the genre (which would later be used to great effect in Resident Evil and Silent Hill). The game featured two playable characters, monsters, and puzzles. Many attribute the creation of survival horror to this game, and while not entirely accurate, it“s easy to see why. Alone in the Dark definitely brought some new ideas to the table and helped developers and gamers both realize that survival horror experiences were possible in 3D. Between the end of the '80s and the '90s, many horror games made the rounds. However, there were a few notable ones before Resident Evil graced the PlayStations. Clock Tower: The First Fear arrived on Super Famicom in 1995 and brought more of the same - a haunted house. However, one huge innovation was the idea of one main antagonist. Instead of simply running from various monsters, there was one evil entity ready to stalk you throughout the entire game. No matter what you were doing, Scissorman might be right around the corner, ready to strike. Hiding or simply running was a necessity lest the protagonist fall into a panic and possibly get killed. Although non-Japan based games have no legal means of playing it, the rest of the Clock Tower series has arrived in other countries. Resident Evil Finally, in 1996 something amazing happened. A game with B-horror quality voice actors, polygonal graphics, and a weird story managed to become a massive hit. Resident Evil hit the PS1 with a bang and players couldn“t get enough. The game took place in a mansion, of course, and had two playable characters as well as zombies (and other creatures), static cameras, puzzles, and basically all the hallmarks of what was now known as the “survival horror” genre. Although very few of these features were new, they were put together in a very playable fashion. Its tank controls may not have aged well but the game is definitely deserving of praise for making horror games mainstream. From then on, horror truly exploded in the gaming landscape. Tons of games peppered the landscape, although only few became notable. One such game is Silent Hill, which also came to the PlayStation in 1999. Although it would be hard for modern gamers to really understand, at the time most viewed Silent Hill as a Resident Evil rip-off. Even covers of magazines depicted protagonist Harry Mason as a muscled, grizzly man ready to shoot the head off zombies. Of course, Silent Hill was nothing like this and instead focused on an entirely creepy town and the cult at the center of it. There was more psychological goings-on than just surviving, and that helped usher in other types of horror titles. Other games came out in this time period attempting to either cash in on tropes, or try something new. Overblood attempted to be more of a sci-fi zombie game, but didn“t catch on much. Parasite Eve took a page out of the Sweet Home book by fusing horror with RPGs, and perhaps to better effect. Blue Stinger tried and failed at being a beat ”em up like Splatterhouse. Echo Night tried to channel ghosts and give a more moody approach, but still relied on puzzles and eventual stalker character like Clock Tower was able to establish. If there was one thing in common, many developers at least attempted to keep some semblance of scariness in their games. Titles like Silent Hill 2 arrived in 2001 and only further pressed players to embrace psychological horror. With the age of the PS2, many titles arrived which played to the strengths of the original Clock Tower. Rule of Rose, Haunting Ground, Clock Tower 3, and more all paired players up against continuous stalkers. The idea that the scariest thing is to be unarmed, or poorly armed, fueled these titles and made them enthrallingly horrific experiences. Others like Fatal Frame also made use of this logic, although they did arm their protagonists with a “weapon”. Resident Evil 4 With the arrival of Resident Evil 4 (first on GameCube in 2005) we saw the genre attempting to shift. Along with zombies that weren“t quite zombies, the game became much more action-oriented. Although Resident Evil 4 managed to mix scares with action, it gave a glimpse to what the next generation of horror was set to offer. Plentiful (enough) ammo, a strong hero, and loads of zombies was something that fans wanted more of. Despite the shift in tone, it was still impossible for Leon S. Kennedy to shoot while walking. Games continued to filter into the genre but most weren“t very notable. Gamers seemed to not be very focused on the genre, even when the launch lineup for Xbox 360 featured the horror game Condemned. The genre wasn“t dead, but it seemed stagnant, until Left 4 Dead invigorated it in 2008. Despite attempts at horror action before, they most always seemed to air on the side of “horror”, unless they were Doom. Left 4 Dead though brought a very fast, exciting zombie shooter to the masses and it was a huge hit. Then we entered the age of zombies which is only now in recession. Zombies invaded horror games left and right as well as non-horror games, like Call of Duty. Zombies became the focus of completely un-horrific games like Plants vs. Zombies and basically lost all luster as a scary being. This evolution of zombies was one also felt by the movie industry, where film fans were angry that zombies were granted cognitive ability and now run. Fast, weapon-toting zombies entered into our games and many loved it, while some horror fans felt the genre had sold out. For a while we have lived with an overload of zombie games like Dead Rising, Dead Island, and beyond. Games like Dead Space, also out in 2008, kept many facets of the modern action-horror game but still desired to scare players. The fight between the splintering of horror was interesting, where some decried action-horror as a complete bastardization of the genre. Others believed that action-horror was the only way to go. Regardless of your opinions, it definitely seemed that the ones getting bought the most were from the action category. This is easy to see by simply looking at how Dead Space 3 appears to be jumping even further into action territory. Even the Silent Hill series tried its hand at more action-focused adventures with Silent Hill: Homecoming and Downpour. Alongside all these action heavy games, though, independent developers were rising to the occasion. Many longed for the games they grew up on, and because no big company was publishing them, made their own. From this world of indie development we“ve seen older types of horror return. Games like Lone Survivor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and even Slender are putting the focus back on psychological or stalking scares. No matter what side you“re on, horror can maintain itself with many forms. Horror has lasted and evolved tremendously over the years. The question is now what will we see next? Perhaps we will see big companies follow indie examples and make horror games just the way they had years ago.
  9. Marcus Estrada


    From the album: Marcus's Album

  10. Marcus Estrada

    Scratches Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  11. Marcus Estrada

    Amnesia: The Dark Descent

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  12. Marcus Estrada

    The Path Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  13. Marcus Estrada

    Downfall Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  14. Marcus Estrada

    Corpse Party Sequel Announced for PSN Release

    Corpse Party was one of the most surprising games to grace the PSP late in its life cyle. Originally created as a simple RPG Maker project, it then grew and was updated into a PSP version in Japan. Americans were then finally given the chance to play it via the PSN thanks to XSEED last year. Now, the PlayStation Blog has just posted that the sequel, Book of Shadows, will be coming out here. Corpse Party: Book of Shadows takes on a different style of gameplay from the first. Instead of looking like a top-down retro RPG, it is done with a first-person perspective. In this view you are given a point and click style interface which you can explore Heavenly Host Elementary through. It is said that this game even has a larger focus on dialogue and story than the first, enough so for the blog to mention it may feel visual novel-like at times. Book of Shadows will still be only a PSN release, although no price or date have been given so far. All we know is that it has a release date set for this Winter. If you have yet to play the original Corpse Party, then maybe now is the time. From tomorrow until November 6th the original game is going to be on sale for $10 (regularly priced at $20). Here are a handful of screenshots to give you an idea of what the game is like:
  15. If you've been feeling like there's not enough horror coming out lately from respected members of the industry, then perhaps this news will be of interest. Developer Red Barrels, which consists of industry veterans from Price of Persia, Splinter Cell, and Uncharted, has just announced their first title and it's looking spooky. Titled Outlast, the game is currently set to arrive for PCs and wants to be a different sort of horror game. How will Outlast differentiate itself from other horror titles currently out? Philippe Morin, Co-founder of Red Barrels, offered an interesting comment on this: “There are already a lot of great games out there about terrifying monsters that eat brains; we want Outlast“s to be scary because you“ll know the enemies you face still have them.” So, instead of mindless beasts, we're going to have to contend with smarter enemies. The indie game scene seems to have been following this trend for a while now, but it seems that bigger developers are finally testing the waters. The world of the game also happens to take place within a sanitarium, which is sure to amp up the creepy factor. Outlast is pegged for a 2013 release on PC as a digital download. Here's the teaser trailer which shows what direction the game is heading: Does it look like developer Red Barrels is crafting a sufficiently scary game? Or is it silly?
  16. Marcus Estrada

    Resident Evil 4

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  17. Marcus Estrada


    From the album: Marcus's Album

  18. Marcus Estrada


    From the album: Marcus's Album