Thursday, 31 July 2008

Resident Evil: Twilight - A Halflife 2 Mod

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

New Wii Horror game, Cursed Mountain.

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

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

-anyway, im going off tangentially here.

So according to the developer, cursed mountain is:

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

-On that topic

Time for a recap on alan wake.

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

yeah, i thought as much.

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

Wake up!

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

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

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

and include an address unknown easter egg!

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

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

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

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

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

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

frankly i dont think so.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

He's covered wars you know.


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

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

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

Friday, 11 July 2008

Monter Madness: The Battle for Suburbia - The Review

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

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

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

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

Danny like.

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

SCORE [6/10]


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Alone In The Dark: The Review

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

So i've put this off for a while. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think a list is appropriate.

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

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

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

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

SCORE [8/10]

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