Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Obscure: The Review

Release date: 2004
Platforms: Xbox Playstation 2 and PC
Developer: Hydravision
Genre: Survival Horror
Review: Published by french company Hydravision, Mortifillia, or "Obscure" as it is known in The UK and the states is a survival horror game set at leafmoore high. An american high school were students have been dissappearing and all is not as it seems at first glance. The 5, yes 5, protagonists are stuadents who attend the school but are shut in after dark by the janitor as he locks up the doors for the night. While at first this doesnt sound like too much of a problem theres a twist. Bizaare photosensitive creatures are infesting the school and attacking the students and your goal is to uncover the source of these disturbing monstrosity's and escape the school with your lives.Whilst many points for origionality are lost, the creatures, plot and gameplay could all be easily ripped off from resident evil or silent hill, there are many redeeming features that save this game from being just another resident evil clone. Light plays a large part in this game. The creatures envelop themselves in a black protective mist which lessens the damage they take and protects them from sunlight. As i mentioned the enemies are photosensitive creatures and using the combine mechanic you can tape a torch to the end of your gun and by setting it to high beam mode, which is only temporary due to overheating, you can burn away at the protective mist enableing you to take a shot at the monster and do much more superior damage. You can also, during the daylight portions of the game, smash in windows to flood a room with light and severly damage any creatures that are in the room or may appear as you look around for items and ammo.

The 5 protagnoists are all playable, though Kenny is avaiable in the opening prologue he does not become available for constant play till you rescue him about 2/3rds through the game. But each charcter has his or her own unique talents, the student reporter Josh can use his investigative abilities to tell you if a room is devoid of items or if there is somethign left to do. others include extra healing power, lockpicking ability, extra strength and speed and the ability to perform a double attack such as firing 2 shots in one action from a pistol. You are free to use whichever of the protagonists that you choose during the game allowing for the game to be played around your own style of play, do you aim to clear a room or enemies then explore?, or perhaps choose the flight rather than fight method? depending on your choice of characters your tactics to explore the school and combat the monsters is fairly versatile compared to the similar resident evil 0 were you could only choose between the strong billy coen or the medic rebecca chambers when you needed to.The controls are smooth and fluid with a good responsiveness. The cameras are static-staionairy but without the confusing camera angles of the origional resident evil. The soundtrack is superb, ranging from the opening basketball game played along to sum 41 to exploreing the abandoned hallways at night to an eeiry french choir the music allways sets the scene very well and it was entertaining from start to finish.A big selling point for this game is the ability for two player co-operative play, at any time during the game a freind can plug in a second controller and take control of one of the 4 other characters you are not playing as whilst this can hinder as much as help, actually working with another person rather than a computer contrlled bot is a breath of fresh air into the game and increases the replay value tremendously.So whilst a little short and not particularly groundbreaking plot wise, obscure is a highly enjoyable horror game for fans of the genre and an undrerated gem that i highly recommend.It is a shame however that this game is obscure by nature as well as by name, with little to no media advertising or magazine reviews it whent relatively unnoticed by the gameing community, in fact the sequel is allready out and has been released in europe and the UK only ,purely for lack of interest from the states, So if you want somethign a little new and out of the ordinary i recommend obscrue nd give it a solid 8 out of 10.

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