Sunday, 10 February 2008

D: The Review

Now this is an obscure one for you tonight folks.
released in 1997 on the Saturn, the PlayStation and the PC. D was a game i have only ever heard of on chris' survival horror quest and so when i found a pristine ,'as new', copy in a bargain bin at game station i snapped it up for 99p and gave it a go.
my thoughts then?
D is... interesting lets open with that. You play a woman named Laura who begins the game entering a hospital, only to find all the residents of said hospital dead in puddles of there own blood. She is then approached by what i can only describe as a fluid membrane floating on air like a rippling window which envelopes her and changes the hospital into some sort of medieval castle.
and it just gets weirder from there.
D is a game in the same vein as the likes of Myst, a first person point and click adventure. which might be alluring for some but for me seemed quite a tedious idea, however it has to be said WARP (the games developers) pulled it off in a rather interesting way here.
though by interesting i also mean the way an ed wood film is considered a "cult classic". Good but only for a niche value rather than as a serious project as intended.
the booklet gives barely any information other than the controls and the fact that the game is 2 hours long. I'm not kidding your given a 2 hour time limit to finish it. imagine my surprise when 10 minutes in I'm asked to please switch to disc 2 of 3 all ready.

The plot is as surreal as the locale', very little info is given as you play. you press start and are then forced to figure everything out on your own with no help nor hint given from the game except for a 'hint mirror' which can be used 3 times, once for each disc i imagine.
the basic feel of D is surreal, random dead bodies spiked into the back of doors, glowing bugs triggering visions of murder, talking water bubble's in the air and mirrors that try to grab your are only some of the bizarre spectacles on offer.
and finally a shenmue style real time event does occur with no margin for error, now that really bugged me.

The puzzles range from mind bogglingly simple to completely random, like finding a statue with 8 coloured buttons in front and absolutely no guidelines on what your supposed to do. this was really vexing given the time limit since you could breeze through all the puzzles till one final one on disc 3 stumps you for 30 minutes, and god forbid they could put a pause button in. granted that might be because they wanted you to feel the stress of it to complete the experience but in my opinion most gamers don't like being out and out forced into a corner gaming wise and this lack of freedom comes off as quite restrictive.
though its not all bad. for the time the graphics are very impressive. the opening camerawork and music throughout are enjoyable, not unlike a cheap, albeit entertaining, indie horror flick.
Basically i would give a most fitting analogy to this by comparing it to one of those interactive rides at a theme park like the haunting or something. it genuinely feels ,at 2 hours in length, like an interactive short film. it can be played in one sitting, which to some might be a gripe, to others it means getting a story without putting dozens of hours in.
personally i enjoyed it for its uniqueness but as a stand alone horror game theres many better options out there. but if your a collector this is a neat little obscurity that i can at least say is worth a look just to experience it once.

id give D reasonable [3/10]

2 comments:

Cunzy11 said...

Consider this a shot across the bow! There's a war comin!

Danny said...

huh.