Tag Archives: Horror Game

Unique Horror Game: The Thing

Warning: This is a horror game! This is NOT a generic science fiction romp, this is NOT a basic “blast aliens” shooter game. This is a without question a horror game, based on a horror movie. In the game NPC’s (non-playable characters) can do direct harm to themselves and others. It is a core part of the gameplay. I will be explaining that game mechanic in detail, though no images will be shown of it. Therefore, if characters becoming directly mentally unstable bothers you, maybe don’t read this post or play this game.
Kern’s note: I’m adding this warning because this game isn’t as well known as other horror titles. The movie came out about forty years ago. The game itself came out about nineteen years ago. I don’t want gamers to think this is just a common science fiction shooter game. It’s a near “survival horror” game, plain and simple. You’ve been warned.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. In gaming, we don’t often see good video games based off of movies. Many of them flop thanks to bad game design.

Messily cobbled together cash grabs were what we expected in the early days of gaming. Back in the day, licensed titles usually promised that a game was going to be absolute crap. This trend carried well into the 2000’s. Any possible way you looked at it, more times than not, games based almost entirely out of movie material ended up missing the mark.

However, there is one game from that early 00’s era that actually managed to be far greater than I think anyone could have expected. However, it isn’t your typical gaming fodder, either.

In 2002, gamers were given a very interesting title called “The Thing“, which was based on a 1982 movie of the same name. The reason I want to talk about this game today is because it stands as a solid horror experience. This is a very underrated horror gaming title in my personal opinion. Then again, it also only panders to a very niche audience.

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Basic Source Material

Sadly, not all gamers are movie buffs. I’m certainly not, and therein rests the biggest issue the game has. You really do need to have seen the movie, or know the events of the movie to really enjoy the game to the fullest.

If you like horror movies, you’re in real luck here. If you haven’t seen it, watch the 1982 movie first before getting your hands on the game. Do not watch the reboot, it won’t serve you well. Trust me, you will absolutely want that backstory of the original movie. If you don’t like horror movies at all, even slightly, this is a game you really might want to bypass.

Some gamers may disagree with me on this. That’s fine, but I think playing The thing is far more enjoyable after having watched the movie first. Now, as a quick warning, I’m going to have to spoil aspects of the movie just to talk about the game. This is why I decided not to make this a full on game review.

See, at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s fair to review The Thing as a standalone game. Its desperately needed source material comes from something outside of gaming media entirely. The Thing video game is a direct sequel based on the movie itself, and this cannot be overlooked.

So before we dive in too deeply, what is this game? Pure fear, that’s what. Pure damn fear!

The Thing is a third person horror game. It was developed by Computer Artworks and produced by Universal Interactive beneath their “Black Label Games” publishing label. Konami dealt with the console side of things, and so as you can see we have a solid line-up on that front. You can play this game on PC, PlayStation 2 or the Xbox.

As for the game itself, it doesn’t have all the typical trappings of the survival horror experience. If I’m being honest, I find it hard to really call it a “survival horror” game at all. At the same time though, you can’t really call it a “run-and-gun” horror based action game either.

The Thing is a game that meshes both of those elements very well, doing so in a way that is absolutely ruthless. The combat and enemy design is pretty spot on for its time. Even the weakest monsters can do insane damage if you let your guard down, and that’s one of many survival horror elements.

Most of the enemies are certainly bullet sponges, but even the ones that aren’t can move freakishly fast. As a result you need to be tactical and cunning to take down these “assimilated” foes.

On top of this, you’re in an inhospitable environment at best. You’re out in a frozen wasteland for some parts of the game. Venturing out into the cold for too long makes you lose health. Sometimes you have to be out there, other times it’s just worth the exploration. The rewards are sometimes really useful, but it is a risk and it makes for some great tactical decisions as a gamer.

See that blue bar above the red bar? If that blue bar reaches zero while you’re out in the cold, your health bar starts dwindling next. Plus, there are enemies to contend with out there.

Unfortunately because this game is so fast paced, there’s an auto lock-on feature. If an enemy gets close enough, your character will lock onto it automatically. It is a bit clunky though, this is a game from 2002. Let’s not forget that particular era of gaming had a lot of clunky crap in it. As gamers, we just didn’t care as much back then. Going back to play it now, this is one thing that certainly didn’t age well.

In fact, I’ll say this; it can be an absolute pain in the ass. I’m not even joking here. I’m love this game, but it can be a complete and total piece of crap when I lock onto enemies I don’t wish to be locked onto.

Then again, almost all survival horror at the time were a clunky mess, which was part of the charm. We can turn our noses up at it now, but back then this game played as smooth as butter to our understanding.

Unique Horror Experience

So first of all, since the video game acts as a direct sequel to the movie, it won’t be retelling or rehashing too many of the movie related events. It will expect that you already know them, and I’m not joking on this, either. This is actually a full-blown story all of it’s own. It’s based on the events in the movie that took place prior to it.

You’ll get bits and pieces, but this is not a retelling, you can’t pretend it is. That said, onto massive spoilers for the movie. If you want to watch the movie, stop here! I mean it, if you don’t want it spoiled, stop! Go find “The Thing” movie that was made in 1982, watch it, and then play the game if you wish.

You play the game as a member of the United States special forces team. Your deep in the heart of Antarctica. Your mission is to investigate a United States outpost a few days after it has been destroyed. Other teams have also been deployed, but they’ve gone missing. You’ve got to find them, and find out just what in the hell is going on.

Fairly soon after the group arrives, your character and his team are made aware of some of the dangers. Namely, you find out about “The Thing“.

The explosion in the movie didn’t kill the creature. The blast maimed it most assuredly, but now it’s back and with vengeance. Further proof that not everything was completely demolished during the blast.

The rest of the game is about finding survivors and doing battle with the titular monster that managed to survive the events from the movie, “The Thing” itself. If you’ve played survival horror games in the past, then this general set-up should come as no surprise… it’s right out of other great franchises such as Resident Evil. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we’ve got the T-shirt, so let’s move onto what makes this game so good.

One thing I really want to make note of, is the atmosphere. The game is very good at building tension through your preconceived notions. Since this particular outpost was in the movie, getting to explore the area really helps to ramp up tension.

You’ll notice key locations that scenes took place, and although the graphics are old by today’s standard, it won’t matter that much. You’ll still know where you are in relation to the the events that occurred prior. This game is even better for those who want to walk down memory lane. Huge fans of the movie will thoroughly enjoy the game for that reason alone. That’s not the only theme that holds true, either.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what you’re in for. You’ve got yourself a halfway decent supply of guns and ammunition, but that’s not what you really need, and movie fans know it.

You can’t just waltz in guns blazing and expect to always win. You actually need fire to take down bigger enemies. Bullets don’t land a finishing blow on these big boys. You’ve got to burn them to a crisp.

If that sounds particularly familiar for survival horror at the time, you’d be right. Resident Evil: Remake had it’s own obsession with fire in 2002 as well. That very same year, players had to burn zombies after downing them. Zombies that weren’t burned, returned to life became the much more deadly crimson heads.

Like almost all horror titles, you’ll find written entries and research notes to give you clues about what happened in the area at the time. The best addition to this is the same recording that R.J. MacReady from the movie left behind, which is a really smart tie-in to the movie and the lore itself.

You’ll also come across survivors too. Now, this is my highest praise for the game, but it deserves its own section, so let’s get into it.

Survivors: Comrades or Burdens?

To trust, or not to trust? That is the question at the forefront of this gameplay mechanic. Just like in the movie, trust is a major factor in the game. You need to treat NPC’s with care, or you’ll only make the game far more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to the survivors, they are your bread and butter. They’ll have different things they’re good at. The medic will heal you, the technician will repair electronics, and the soldier will be a real powerhouse to fight along side you.

All of the comrade types are assets, and they help you out during certain segments of the game. You’ll want your comrades repairing electronics and watching your back. There is just one tiny problem. The Thing is out there, and they know it. You’d better watch their backs too.

If you aren’t careful, your comrades will be your absolute greatest detriment to survival. If they get infected by The Thing, they’ll eventually turn on you. Even if they aren’t assimilated, if you’ve managed to lose their trust, they won’t follow your orders and they could become unstable.

Another aspect of survival horror shows itself in spades here, inventory management. You’ll have to manage their weaponry and their ammo, and the importance of that can’t be understated. These NPC’s can and will occasionally become emotionally unstable, just like in the movie. They just can’t handle being too stressed out.

If they get upset, you’re in for a world of trouble before you know it. These comrades can end up shooting blindly into the dark, having nervous breakdowns, and of course being assimilated as part of The Thing itself.

Your comrades just can’t handle unreasonable levels of monsters, gore and death. Just as a real person would begin to emotionally fracture under this sort of stress, so do your comrades. These NPC’s may end up killing themselves due to a complete and total emotional breakdown. Worse yet, they may end up shooting at you during their unhinged rampage.

This is one of the key places the game really sets a high bar. I just can’t praise it enough. It is true to the movie in this way, it’s almost astoundingly so. Trust was a huge theme in the 1982 movie. You could argue it was one of the core themes directly. I certainly do. Having that aspect brought over into gameplay was a masterful decision. Your comrades need to be able to trust you, and you also need to trust them.

Gaining trust is easy enough, give them some weaponry or aid them in battle. Help them, and they will happily return the favor. However, don’t get sloppy. Loosing trust is easy too, almost too easy, and this is a key factor in gameplay.

One of the biggest plot lines in the movie was that The Thing was able to replicate any living creature it killed. It was incredibly hard to tell that someone had been assimilated until it was too late. Once your teammates are infected, they will eventually turn on you. More often than not, this happens just when you’ve gotten too comfortable with them.

You can test if a teammate has been infected by using a bit of their blood, but by doing that, you risk losing their trust. One of the key gameplay tactics is to give yourself a blood test as well, to prove you aren’t a copy of The Thing hiding in plain sight.

Final Thoughts

Okay, look let’s be honest. The barrier for entry is steep on this thing. You’ve got to know about the movie at least a little. On top of that, the game is old now, the movie might as well be geriatric. If you don’t like dated horror, you might not like this game.

That is a very valid complaint to have, because how we understand horror games has changed significantly in the past few years alone.

Classics are classics for a reason, and both the movie and the game are classics in my opinion. They do stand the test of time… but, that’s not without notable flaws. If you haven’t experienced both pieces of media, you might really want to. On the other hand, you might just want to write it off, and that’s fine too.

There is a real horror experience to be found here. A grotesque one to be sure, but a truly horrifying experience regardless.

This is a solid game. It has a bit of that early 2000’s clunky design that’s very noticeable nowadays. Sadly that’s unavoidable. It doesn’t diminish the game though, at least not in my opinion.

The Thing stands as a unique horror title, only bolstered because of it’s 1982 movie counterpart. Does that make it perfect? Oh hell no. Do I think this game should stand as a beloved classic among gamers? Oh, hell yes I do.

To me this game is right up there with the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, it is an experience worth having.

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Game Review: Silent Hill

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In the 90’s, survival horror began to become an iconic genre that spilled into the gaming market

People all over the world wanted to sink their teeth into something a little more bone chilling than the average shooter, platformer, or role-playing game of the time.

Game consoles of the 90’s such as the PlayStation could support better graphics, and PC gaming had been receiving plenty of its own horror classics for a while. Consoles needed to catch up, and fast. Thankfully, two types of horror franchises lifted from the shadows to meet this demand. Both of these titles hit the ground running, but they were vastly different in nature.

When 1996 came around, Capcom released Resident Evil. The horror title showed gamers just what they could hope for when it came to survival horror. It coined the phrase, and that successful effort would change the social sphere of gaming as we knew it.

Konami was hot on the heels of this new bandwagon, and they jumped into these new possibilities for gaming feet first. They aimed to make a game that could become Resident Evil‘s direct competitor. They knew this would not be an easy thing to do, as Resident Evil had cornered the market fairly spectacularly in the horror genera in one single game.

They wanted to create a cinematic game-play experience first and foremost. With this in mind, “Team Silent” was formed with a ragtag production crew. These were people with big ideas and bigger personalities. They didn’t necessarily fit the creative mold that others in the industry did, and that is why they were chosen. There was only one small issue…

The members of “Team Silent” had no idea how to go about making their new game. Horror games were not the staple that they are today. Survival horror was a newly coined term, and it was unknown territory. The team felt the weight of their task weighing down heavily upon them. They had the skills, but they had no idea how to apply that knowledge to a horror title. These once bright-eyed game enthusiasts began to become discouraged under the pressure.

Like many developers do, they began forging their own path. In the end, they ended up choosing a much more subdued narrative for their story. Something far more contemplative and vague than Resident Evil could ever be. All of their efforts eventually paid off, providing a game that split horror fans down two distinct paths.

Each path worthy in their own right.

While zombie fans had Resident Evil to keep them awake at night, others were hungry for something darker and thematically deeper. These fans had a different game to call a masterpiece. This game was known as Silent Hill.

As a gamer, it’s hard not to have heard of these two powerful franchises. While many consider both games it under the branch genre known as survival horror, Silent Hill is far from it. No, this game is without a doubt a psychological horror series.

Released in the early part of 1999, Silent Hill offered players a different type of experience.

Unlike its zombie infested distant cousin, this game provided a look into unsound minds, and along with it, a compelling narrative that wasn’t so simple to unravel. There are still questions left unanswered when it comes the lore of the game, meaning that new players to the series can still find it enjoyable.

With several games, decades of terrifying fun, and a spin-off movie, Silent Hill is by far one of the most fondly remembered franchises that requires a reboot.

For a while, fans even thought we were going to get that reboot when “P.T. Silent Hills” came out in 2014. It was a terrifying playable demo that has it’s own complicated story to tell.

I only wish to give it a brief mention here, because if I didn’t it would be a huge disservice to my love of the franchise, and everyone who worked so hard to bring fans another taste of the franchise.

Sadly, for many reasons, the reboot just wasn’t meant to be. Still, the legacy of Silent Hill, and the franchise as a whole, is something that should be remembered. Both for some of the best gaming in history, and some of the greatest failures later titles provided within horror as a genre.

Surface Level Shenanigans

It’s hard not to know at least a few fragments of Silent Hill‘s story. It may as well be a campfire tale, spoken with flashlights in hand while eating marshmallows with friends. Even so, the concept is effective for sending chills down any spine. The problem is, most of the story is left up to interpretation, and that’s by design. Silent Hill’s creator Keiichiro Toyama, made sure that the plot is as consistent as it is vague.

This writing style is a great way to spin fan-theories, and conjure about what goes on in the game. Unfortunately, since so much is left up to interpretation, and there are multiple endings, not everyone views the events of the game in the same way.

There will always be debates surrounding Silent Hill, and that’s the way it was designed to be. Just keep that in mind as I gloss over the very basic story.

There lingers a fictional town somewhere along the foggy shores of Toluca Lake. Within this small and seemingly insignificant location, a quaint little community resides here. One that probably fell on hard times and left forgotten about. It’s not likely one to attract a boat load of tourists any time soon, but something about that little town is compelling anyway.

As if the town has a voice of it’s own, it sings an almost sirens call. Unfortunate souls are attracted to this gloomy place. They find themselves wandering through a pit of dark truths, and murky discoveries. That sad, destitute little town, is known as Silent Hill.

You play as Harry Mason, a single father who’s on his way to Silent Hill for a small vacation. While driving at night, Harry swerves his car out of the way to avoid hitting someone that seems to be standing in the middle of the road. After waking from the crash, he notices that his daughter, Cheryl has gone missing. With snow littering the ground and fog thick in the air, he sets out to find her.

While Harry attempts to find his daughter, he wanders into the town. There he meets a police officer who attempts to help him, and eventually finds himself entangled in the dealings of a cult that seek to manipulate Harry for their own goals. As the game continues, players realize that the town of Silent Hill may as well have a life of its own.

However, all of that is only on the surface… The game has a deeper story… A darker one… I shouldn’t have to say this, but beyond this point, there will be spoilers.

A Town’s Sinister Tale

The above summery alone makes for a compelling story, but it isn’t the complete story. It’s not anywhere close to it. Instead, it’s a fabrication, made to lure the player in. Remember, this is a psychological horror game, and the story itself is intentionally vague. Nothing is as it seems.

I am now going to gloss over the actual story of the game, and if you haven’t played it before, you may struggle to keep up. This is not a simple premise, and it was never intended to be.

Contrary to what you might think given the details above, the story isn’t one about a father looking for his lost little girl. Even though you play as Harry, it’s not his story that begins to unfold as the player progresses.

Instead, Silent Hill is all about a little girl named Alessa.

This little girl was born into the town’s religious cult. This messed up collection of demon enthusiasts preach a far different bible story than usual. Apparently, the god they speak about returned to the heavens before the world was done being created. This ultimately lead to a flawed, and imperfect design. This god then promised to return one day.

The cult aim to speed up their god’s return the best way they know how. The crazy old lady, Dahlia is the current leader of the cult. She has the idea to use her own child as a means to do it. Unfortunately for Alessa, Dahlia isn’t just the cult’s current leader, she’s also her mother too.

Alessa has psychic abilities, and Dahlia believes that they can use that to impregnate her with god. Let me say that again. Dahlia, crazy person that she is, thinks that she can get her psychic daughter pregnant so that she will give birth to their god.

Obviously, it should come as no surprise that this plan fails spectacularly. The stress of the ritual forces Alessa’s powers to activate, causing catastrophic damage to Alessa, and her powers. During this messed up series of events, Cheryl is created. Once she is, Dahlia can no longer complete the ritual.

To make this explanation as simple as possible, the cult needs Cheryl and Alessa to reunite if they have any hopes to complete the ritual so that their god can be born. Alessa refuses to let that happen, and does everything in her power to keep the cult’s plan from coming to fruition.

Why does this matter? Simple, because the mechanics act as a metaphor for this story.

Everything in this game has mechanical weight that means something to the greater plot. For example, the story I just detailed above is the explanation for the “Otherworld” which is a commonly visited mechanic in the game.

After playing the game enough times, you can figure out that the “Otherworld” is merely Alessa losing control of her powers and her mind every now and then. When she does, her mind allows the darkest parts of her torment to seep freely out into the world.

The monsters that players see are physical manifestations of this poor girl’s suffering. The puzzles are tied to her intrinsically. When you look at the game through that lens, everything begins to come together and make a lot more sense.

Most of the characters are mechanical in nature too. The side cast carry the weight of monologue heavy diatribes. The few actual characters you run into are unstable at best. Some characters openly lie willingly, and others will merely offer a version of the truth. As I said before, the town itself might as well have a life of it’s own, and it certainly seems that way as each person you meet continually muddies those narrative waters.

Harry himself is merely the vessel the player uses to understand this sordid tale. Cheryl acts as the simple narrative device that new players cling onto as the story unfolds.

Intuitive Design Done Right

It would be easy to assume that since this is a horror title, that it would have game design that felt similar to Resident Evil. That assumption would be incorrect. While they’re both horror titles, the way they display that horror is vastly different.

There are a lot of the same hallmarks to horror series sprinkled in the game. Limited ammo, puzzles, and exploration are all part of the greater whole, but in very different ways.

At the time of the game, clunky controls were the staple for the horror genre. To some degree it is a hardware limitation of the time. They make a reappearance here as well. Thankfully though, it’s not as clunky in this game as its survival horror counterparts. I wouldn’t call them “tank controls” exactly. However, that said, running can be a chore on occasion.

Harry moves decently fast once you get him running, but you can’t always outrun every single enemy in the game. Some of the hallways are too narrow for the usual Resident Evil style bait and dodge. This means being prepared to stand your ground tactically. With this in mind, let’s discuss how to survive.

Weaponry isn’t just limited to guns and knives. There are plenty of objects to pick up and use as well, encouraging trigger happy players to take a different approach when it comes down to selecting weapons. Each weapon has its own “recharge” time, so to speak. Some weapons are faster than others, so learning how to time an attack is crucial to a successful enemy encounter.

Ammo should be saved for the larger fights, while other other items can be used to take down a lone enemy or two. Like Silent Hill‘s survival horror cousin, the best choice is to conserve weaponry and just run away when you can. However, because you can’t outrun everything, the average player will need a good stock of weaponry for those unavoidable encounters and boss battles.

As shown above and here as well, some spaces are tight and claustrophobic.

The camera accommodates this aspect well, adding significant tension to any environment. When it comes to the camera itself, it tends to be smooth and easy to control. No forcefully fixed camera angles here.

This allows for easier navigation, and comfortable coordination while in combat. There’s just one downside, it is a very a slow camera. This means anticipating where you’d like the camera to be is a skill players will come to learn quickly. The camera will move on its own to a decent spot whenever you enter a new area, and sometimes it’s best not to adjust it at all.

The concept of exploration is vast, and feels closer to an open world, at least for its time. It’s not as sprawling as an open world game is nowadays, but Silent Hill is a vast town, with plenty to explore.

The player is able to access a decent amount of the town fairly early in the game, allowing the player to stock up on supplies early and often. This is a double edged sword though. Stocking up early can give the false impression to new players that you will likely never run out of supplies, but it is very possible, and very easy to do so.

The game itself has a rather linear and set narrative direction. No side quests here, sorry. The game won’t let you venture too far from the beaten path. Once you’ve entered a building, that similar horror feeling will come flooding back to any players of Resident Evil. The hallways are dark, the areas are often crawling with enemies. Puzzle solving and key finding are the name of the game.

In general, exploration and backtracking are a bit more linear and laid out. A few doors in some locations aren’t meant to be opened at all. Silent Hill asks the player to traverse many locations around the town, so this “on rails” approach is slightly required. That said, environments can still be confusing to a newcomer. There are street names to remember, and fog to navigate. Thankfully, as Harry walks around Silent Hill, he’ll scribble things down on the town map. New players should check it early and often for clues and hints.

The “Otherworld” as Harry calls it, will crop up from time to time, and the player will have to navigate that too. While it might be the same basic area you’ve been wandering around in already, this world is darker, grittier, and different. Previously opened paths will be cut off from access, and monsters can catch the player off-guard if they aren’t prepared for encounters. Previously safe spaces are no longer safe, and this added element makes backtracking fresh and enjoyable.

The puzzles are difficult, hands down. This is one such puzzle, and one of the most iconic ones. Truthfully, it’s a very common puzzle to get stuck on. Silent Hill offered some of hardest puzzles that a game of its day could provide. They’re vast and several are multifaceted, offering vague hints and very little else. They’re not impossible though.

This puzzle here, is proof of that. It’s all about understanding the words that you read, and applying them to a broken piano.

To make it simple to understand, you just need to know three things. White birds are white keys. Black birds are black keys. Some keys are broken and don’t make a sound if you press them. Pushing the keys in the right sequence is how you solve the puzzle.

Puzzles can be solved without looking them up. The game offers you everything you need in order to figure them out. As an added little bonus, the puzzles actually mean something to the core narrative, so they’re not just made to slow you down. They’re made to progress the story in subtle ways.

Unbinding From Hardware Limitations

Silent Hill was praised for its atmospheric dystopia and unsettling visuals. In truth though, the game was designed this way was because it had to be. Due to the limitations of PlayStation hardware, the fog was added to keep everything from rendering all at once. The same could be said for the particularly dark backdrops. Less rendering meant a smoother experience, and faster loading times.

However, this too, became part of the game’s lore. The particularly dark backgrounds in parts of the “Otherworld” were explained by Alessa’s psychic powers. The thick fog that settled over the town was explained as being a product of the nearby lake. The occasional falling snow ties the dreary world together, and helps to make everything much more believable.

On top of that, for its time, everything looks awesome. The careful quality control of visible details were crucial. The game is immersive thanks to each and every environment. Combat is mostly fluid, and each area is truly a spectacle of what horror can accomplish if it is done right.

Characters feel fully realized, although in cut-scenes there can be odd moments when they don’t look quite right. Enemies are fairly disturbed and the horrifying placement of certain details do enough to make a player unsettled as they play.

When it comes to sound, the music is masterful. To me, it is probably the absolute best thing about the game. It is, in a word, iconic. I hear its music and I’m taken right back to the emotions I had while playing the game. Now later titles in the franchise certainly blow this one out of the water, but they were more advanced games, and had a much more powerful consoles at their disposal. With that in mind, the soundtrack to Silent Hill is everything we could have hoped for from Akira Yamaoka.

The voice acting is good, not outstanding, but the actors do their job. Rather, let me put it this way. The voice acting stands up far better than most in horror games of the time.

The only time characters sound weird, is when they should sound that way. It isn’t because characters have a sudden case of inexplicable constipation. Some of the characters are completely insane, and others just aren’t normal to begin with. The acting lines up with that, and really, that’s enough.

Final Thoughts

I do not consider Silent Hill to be a survival horror game. That is my passion when it comes to horror games, and I stand by the fact that it is certainly psychological, not survival.

However, with that said, I have nothing but praise for the original Silent Hill. This game is by far one of the most unsettling games to ever launch on the PlayStation. Furthermore, you’d be hard-pressed to find such a deep and immersive story anywhere else for its time. The story holds up to this day, and the music does too, even if the graphics don’t.

There’s only one reason I have for why a person shouldn’t play this game. It strictly falls down to players who aren’t horror fans. If they’re not, the game wasn’t made or tailored to them, and of course they won’t like it. They shouldn’t go near this thing, if that’s the case. It’s nightmare fuel, plain and simple.

Frankly, I’d say that horror fans who simply want gratuitous gore and simple plot lines should avoid this game too. Particularly if you’re a fan of modern horror that holds your hand and keeps complicated questions of morality to a surface level.

There’s real psychological torment to be found in this game. Abusive situations and trauma linger deeply within the core of the story being told. Silent Hill has gore too, but that’s not the crux of the game. It’s window dressing into the far deeper narrative.

For the rest of us, as in those who occasionally like deeply disturbed horror, this game is worth playing. The experience is unlike any other, and I don’t say that lightly. I could say the same thing comfortably about the first three games in this series. They’re experiences that you just don’t find everyday.

If you like a good horror game, this game is for you. If you enjoy going back to experience classic horror titles in the genre, this game is for you. If you are an absolute diehard fan of horror in gaming, these have to be on your shelf, or someplace in your gaming library. These games are unequivocally made for you.

The original Silent Hill is a true psychological horror game. I love it for that alone. Just like it’s survival horror cousin, Silent Hill has a place on my shelf. It’s earned that place, and all of the acclaim it has received over the years. It fully deserves every ounce of praise it receives going forward too.

It’s 2021 now, and it’s time to put that into perspective. This February, Silent Hill turned 22 years old. Think about that. In America, the game is old enough to have a beer if it wanted. As gamers, we can’t let this game slip into the forgotten corners of our history. It’s too paramount to be forgotten, too important to be bypassed and ignored by younger generations. It’ll slip into obscurity without passionate fans behind it, and that would be a crying shame.

My final thought is; play this game. If you even remotely like horror games with a bone to chew on, experience Silent Hill for yourself. Take the time and do it. It’s worth it. It’s that simple.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

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Is Death Stranding Worth playing?

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

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Hideo Kojima is a master at making good games. It’s not a question, it’s fact. He’s a risk taker, making games with mechanics that don’t have a “one size fits all” approach.

From the early Metal Gear series, to the P.T. Demo, Kojima has proven time and time again that he knows what it takes to make a good game. His greatest games push incredibly deep narratives, multifaceted, and compelling.

Then Death Stranding came out, poor reviews flooding from everyone that had gotten an early release of the game. Hard core gaming critics and casuals alike were unimpressed.

Reviews slammed the game for being an uninteresting slog with questionable story telling. Others complained about the fiddly controls in the game, and the somewhat annoying mechanics.

My interest in this game continued to rise with every negative review. The annoyed rants from the larger review sites only fueled my desire to play it. I didn’t really know what I was in for.

My expectations weren’t incredibly high because I feel the the higher my expectations are for something, the more I let myself down when those expectations aren’t reached. After all, my expectations are my own, and game developers don’t owe me anything just because their artistic vision didn’t meet my own wants and desires.

That said, I have three basic criteria for any game I play. If a game can meet these standards and I still don’t like it, then it’s my fault. If I ended up buying a game I don’t like, and that’s not something I can blame a developer for.

My three rules are the following:

  1. The game must ultimately be playable. No game breaking bugs, visual eye sores, or glitches that will severely hinder and impede my game-play experience.
  2. The game must be reasonably priced for what it has to offer. If I shell out money for a game, I want to know I’m getting a quality game that reflects that price. I don’t mind paying large amounts of money for a shorter game-play experience, but, that experience must be worth something.
  3. The game must be accessible to me. I have a fine motor-skill disorder. That often means games like Dark Souls kill me repeatedly on hard mode. That said,  I can still play, beat, and enjoy the game. I don’t ask for an easy game. However, I expect the controls to be fluid. The subtitles must be easy to see. The mechanics of the game must choreograph properly what’s happening on screen. For example, if something’s about to shoot at me, I want an obvious sign of that someplace. I don’t want to be sniped and have no obvious way to tell that it is about to happen.

I think that those three criteria are essential for any good game. With the building blocks in place, any game has a chance to be a fun, interactive medium. Having completed Death Stranding, I’ll say this…

For adults, Death Stranding is worth playing at least once. This is not a children’s game, and it doesn’t try to be. This game was crafted for an adult gamer, with a firm sense of self, and a firm grasp of morally grey ideology. Parents should use caution when buying it for their mature teenagers.

Do your research first, and don’t just pluck this game off of the first shelf you see.

The controls are a little clunky, yes. There is absolutely no disputing that. However, if I can figure them out and navigate the game with Dyspraxia, then the controls must not be a complete failure. They are repetitive, but that serves a narrative purpose. It’s not complete and total garbage. They’re just not the greatest, either.

Multiple layers of subtext in the game will always be important, and Death Stranding uses mechanics as a metaphor. Everything in this game seems to have been placed there intentionally, and the story is captivating in its own strange way. I adore the opening quote at the start of the game, and the somber opening song.

The themes are dark and heavy, the game reflects that masterfully. The world is beautifully crafted, and the design is completely immersive. The mechanics aren’t always easy. There are times when the game falls a little short, but it isn’t a bad game.

If you start to look at the game as a complete narrative experience, it’s actually quite good. If you haven’t played it yet, pick the game up when it’s on sale.

Give it a try. You may end up liking it too.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeAnime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

There are plenty of ways to support us. To find out more, click the button below.