Friday, February 26, 2010
I'd like to think it was made by the devil to mess with my head... but it's made by this one guy named Amon Desiree... or Amon26 to the internet.
I'm really not sure if it's the hour, or the games crazy black and red graphics in the game... or the insane amount of coffee I've consumed tonight. But I feel creeped out, a little disturbed and totally amazed.
I am a huge fan of horror games... plus I love them old school platform shooters. Au Sable successfully delivers up the goods to satisfy my thrust for both.
Graphically Au Sable is very simple yet beautifully stylized. Though I use the word "Beautiful" very sparingly, because the shades and shapes that are mixed to bring Au Sable to life, make for a game that is a lot darker than it's graphics. In fact, I was a bit taken back by the level of dark imagery and atmospher the game strives to achieve.
This game really goes to show that you don't need flashy hardware braking graphics to deliver the chills.
Because with very surreal and well placed visual/ audio ques... this little monster was actually giving me little scares.
Like walking up to a bridge that suddenly turns into a bloody water fall with you plummeting down the side, before snapping back to a bridge with you walking harmless across it.
Or how about walking up to a tree that turns into a huge shadowy creature, with a girl's lifeless body hanging off one of the branches... then suddenly you see that there is no tree, and that your standing on some ledge.
And all this is just in the first few moments of the game. Don't get me started on the crazy fun you start to have when you get your hands on a gun.
Maybe I'm just a cheap sucker for this kinda stuff... but this is one game I think you should defiantly check out if you're looking for something interesting.
Hats off to the guy who made it for sharing his nightmare with us, I hope you sleep well tonight... cause I know I won't :P
Check out this write up on Au Sable over at Destructoid... along with a link to a download of the game at the bottom of the article.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I have spent countless hours playing through the likes of the Splatter House series, Castlevania, Doom troopers and shizz load of other titles. All the titles I could only dream of having as a kid... I now "own."
That said... last night I came across something interesting.
I play a lot of indie games and I'm always visiting the indie game sites and downloading new games to keep me busy. Every now and then I do a search for "indie Horror games", which doesn't usually always yield much.
But tonight I got me a little title called "Soundless Mountain 2"
What is it? It's a 2D, NES-ish version of Silent Hill 2
I read up a bit about it on Destructoid, and I found out that it was meant to be part of a 'de-making' competition. Which is exactly what it sounds like.
I decided to give the game ago, because I personally am starving for retro looking horror games. It started out nice... I thought the music was good, the interface was very simple.
But the moment I picked up that damn busted transistor radio... and I heard that crackling. This game became the shizz.
I felt like I was taken back in time, to when I would sit inches away from my tv screen, playing the likes Frankenstein and Ghosts and Ghouls. Except unlike those games... this was genuinely creepy. After awhile, I started looking past the 8 bit graphics and just got caught up in it.
The developer did a sweet job of capturing the original Silent Hill 2's feel. What Soundless Mountain lacks in graphics, it defiantly makes up for in everything else. It comes of as more than just a novelty, and really does stand out as a good game. If this thing had come out at the height of NES games, it would have made kids piss their pants.
Now granted this may not be every ones idea of a good time, but the best thing is that it's free. You can grab your self a download here.
There's an interview with Jasper Byrne, the guy who made the game, over at DeadLantern.com
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It's called Zombie Shooter... and it just total owned me. As in... it knew what I would want in a zombie game and it delivered just that. It's developed by a couple of guys who call them selves the Sigma Team, and I hope for only great things in their future.
When I got my hands on Zombie Shooter 1, I was totally blown away. Now mind you this game is not intended to be competing with the big market games out there, boasting mad graphics and such. This little monster has an audience... and it's people who love the thrill of a good zombie movie.
The key concepts in a zombie movie are: Zombies, guns and lots of blood and gore.
Zombie shooter delvers on this with a smile. In fact that's all I was doing as I was piling up the floors with layers and layers of dead zombie guts... I couldn't stop smiling.
You take on the role of a survivor in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and all you have to do is kill shizz and move on. In terms of story telling, Zombie Shooter may be a bit lacking, but since when do we need a reason to shoot zombies?
You're given a dozen or so guns and are left to explore the world. The game unfolds in a series of isometric levels that range from out door environments, to sewers and laboratories. All of which do a marvelous job of giving you a sense of dread and isolation. The action in the game gets very intense, with literally hundreds of zombie hordes lining up to take a bite out of you. And as if the zombies would ever get boring, higher levels introduce a few enemies who come armed with guns as well.
With all the big name titles that I've been getting and that are always being talked about, this was a nice little get away from me.
Zombie Shooter 2 expands on the idea of part one and adds a bit more of a story element to the game. Giving the player an option to choose one of 6 characters, each with their own starting attributes. As you level up through killing and exploring, you're able to apply skill points to your chracter, which makes them stronger or faster, maybe let them carry more ammo or have better aim.
Part two of the game also has a very nice look to it, as it's presented sort of like an old horror movie. With most of the game being in black and white, except for certain elements here and there... like the blood, which is a gory red in contrast. It also has a bit of a film grain to it which adds to the zombie movie allure of the whole thing.
The action in part two is allowed to develop a little slower compared to part one, but once it kicks in it doesn't let up. Giving you a few new zombie types to take on, as well as boasting up to 60 different weapon types... Zombie Shooter two ate a lot of my sleepless nights.
Now... there is some slack that goes to Zombie Shooter 2, because the guys that made it, also made a game called Alien Shooter. They get crap because the games are carbon copies of each other, except one has aliens and the other has zombies.
... I don't care.
This game is simply about shooting things... and you pick up the one that has things that you like shooting at. Having played Alien Shooter after I played Zombie Shooter did nothing to take away the joy that Zombie Shooter lit in my heart.
I love this game and can't wait for part 3.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I actually finished Dante's Inferno lie 2 weeks ago.
I picked up the game on a Monday and smashed my way through it to finish it at like 2am on Wednesday morning... clocking in at 13 hours or so game time on the Hellish setting.
Yeah... I rock.
I really think I should have written this entry lat week while the game was still burning in my head.
But if it means anything, after I had finished Dante's Inferno... I just got right back into it again on a harder setting to get me all the collectibles and such.
The trick with Dante's Inferno is to look past the "inspired by the epic poem" crap and just play it as a mad beat-em-up. Cause at the heart of it, that's what it really is.
A fancy dressed beat-em-up.
If your looking for a coherent story narrative, this isn't the game for you. But if you're after a few hours of mad hack and slash fun, with lots of cool locations and interesting baddies. This be it brother.
The action is what kept me going... Once it picks up and you get into the flow of the combat... this game really delivers. I spent hours after I was done with the game, just playing through it again.; I didn't bother spending too much time in the "arena" that I unlocked after completing the game, because I found it kind of lame.
The 2nd play through wasn't as crazy as the first, even on the harder difficulty setting. This was because I had totally decked Dante up with a shizz load of upgrades and relics that made him an ass kicking master.
Most of what I feel about the game hasn't changed from my first impression. This was a game that only just falls short of greatness. If you can just look past the other shizz and play the game for the combat, then Dante's Inferno really shines.
The theme of Hell really plays out well too... and if you're a fan of fire and brimstone, then it does well to add to the game.
Sadly at the end I was left with a game that wasn't totally what I was expecting, and has taught me not to pre-order shizz anymore.
Well... except the Splatter House remake maybe :P
But serioulsy... Dante's Inferno has kind of shaken my belief in Visceral games too.
They had more than won me over with Dead Space back when they were Redwood Shores, but after playing through Dante's Inferno... the polish and innovation that shined in Dead Space didn't carry over at all.
The dismemberment game-play, the lack of a normal hud, the voice acting and the exploration. Not to mention a creepy story that's interesting enough to keep you motivated.
I gave up saving Dante's girlfriend about 1/4 way through the game. I just put Dante in the Isaac Clarke rig that I got with my special edtion of the game, and pretended I was playing a Dead Space expansion. For something that had so much great literature to pull from... i have to stress one more time how half assed the story is.
Now with talks of Dead Space 2 leaning more towards being an action shooter rather than survival horror, I hope these guys don't fuck up the next big "Must have or I die" game that I'm looking forward to.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
They had me at Hell… but they lost me at FMVs
So I finally got my copy of Dante’s Inferno: Death Edition yesterday, and boy was it a bundle of mixed feelings.
I have been waiting for this game for some time now, with many sleepless nights and fantasies of fighting through Hell. Every day I would read articles and follow the games progress, annoying my friends with new Dante related trivia over coffee.
To say that I had high expectations for this game would be an understatement…
Before we go one let me tell you that I like this game… but only for a few specific reasons which I’ll get into as you read on.
Holographic Covers don't show good in pics
The games presentation is awesome… the art on the start screen and the music all hint at the great horrors that await only a button press away. After kicking the gear into “Hellish” I sat back and was waiting to be blown away…
Then came the first bit of the game… which is where my heart start cracking.
The first bit of the game is exactly what you play in the demo. And here in lies the games major flaw to me. The demo seems very jiggered… it felt like it was cut and paste to give the player a sense of action and to move the story along at a pace that allows you to get as much as you can from it.
Well… the sad problem is that that’s how the whole game feels…
If this is the same team that brought us Dead Space… then I think their writer must have left for some other job.
The narration in Dante’s inferno seems very rushed… which make story telling the games weak point. Sure we get the gist of it… but it just seems like they randomly stuck in story elements in the middle of all the combat. Which kinda wastes the amazing cut scenes that present the story.
And the cut scenes are amazing… But the detailed FMV sequences just feel very abrupt and out of place. The game also has these animated flash backs that work a lot better in terms of story telling, and it would have been so much cooler if they just stuck with that.
Visually the whole game is a treat. But that has a weird thing to it too…
The look of the levels and the designs, vary in quality... with some of them being very polished to some that just feel rushed.
Plus I was really disappointed as to how short the Gluttony level was… for all the hype that surrounded that level, you start it off with a boss fight and then it’s a few hops and turns before you’re in the next circle.
And I’m not sure if it’s a slack thing that I loved the first boss fight the best (second of you count Death as first)
Also… I hate all the comparisons that people make between the game and the original poem. So let me at least compare one element of the game to the “animated epic” film that coincides with it.
In the animated feature we see our hero Dante run into a lost shade named Virgil, who then becomes a sort of guide for Dante through his adventures in Hell. The two seem to become “friends” pretty quickly and soon Virgil becomes like the little fairy from Zelda.
“kick it in the balls Dante!”
“open that door Dante”
“the princess isn’t here Dante”
“You da man Dante!!”
In the book and the animated film, Virgil acts sort of like Dante’s main man in terms of Hells “system mechanics” and such, giving him advice on how to go about tackling things
This could have translated to the game so well…
But sadly in the game, Virgil has been reduced to that annoying guy that keeps telling you the bloody obvious. Every now and then he shows up to give you some random piece of information about something or other, or to recite some random line from the poem.
That whole feeling of “I got your back” that he has in the animated film isn’t there, and he ends up being someone you wanna say “fuck off” too.
In fact there are times when I just run by him without talking… cause it interrupts the action.
And that’s where the game saves it’s self.
The combat in the game is VERY brutal and unforgiving (At least on Hellish it is) With you having to pull out all sorts of tricks to stay alive. The combat moves are awesome and have really cool animations to them. And there’s nothing more satisfying than beating the shit out of those goat demon guys before choosing to punish them to absolve them for their sins. Combat upgrades are divided into two trees which are Holy and Unholy. So far I haven’t absolved a single soul, which has led my Unholy combat tree to open up.
I’m not neglecting Holy cause it’s a shit tree, it’s just that I like to play all “up in their face” when it comes to combat and holy movies are more to do with range attacks.
The baddies mix it up pretty good too… I read some slack about the lack of enemy types, but this really isn’t that big a deal. Although the flying bat things fucken annoy me only cause I don’t know what the heck they’re meant to be.
What made the game even sweeter was the extra content that came with the Death edition, like the making of and a little talk session with the games art designer as he explains the art for the game and the concepts behind it. But I imagine if I’d picked up the regular copy there really wouldn’t have been anything else to do with the game afterwards.
With the combat being so good I am looking forward to the co-op DLC that’ll be out in April, and I’m also looking forward to playing as Isaac Clarke from Dead Space.
Whoa I’ve written quite a bit…
Let me just say… the combat in this game is freakin awesome and is the only reason you should check it out. If you want story, you’re better off watching the animated feature that accompanies the game. Sad thing is … I kinda agree now with IGN’s score of 7.5/10 now.
I’d give it more of a 8/10 my self.
With minus 2 for shit storytelling and lack of buddy moments with Virgil… Now if you’d excuse me, I gotta go finish up Greed.
Dante's Inferno: After Thoughts coming soon
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Today I read something over at Kotako about how the EA guys promoting their latest effort Dante's Inferno, did a little tempering with the source code for their front page.
Basically they embedded some nifty ASCII art into it, along with clues to a new promotion. You end up getting a a whole lot of shizz from other sites that all direct you to this one site, where you to submit a bunch of passwords which in turn unlocks a download for a zip fire.
So I got the passwords, which were hidden in the source codes of a whole bunch of other web sites, and I went ahead and started the down load.
And then I got some goodies...
The file unzips into a folder that has a bunch of wallpapers, with some really cool vintage looking art, as well as hi res screen grabs from the new Dante's Inferno Super Bowl trailer, which airs during the game on the 7th of this month.
You also a get a sneak peek at the music of the game with a few MP3 bits of the sound track, as well as a 25 page art book which I personally found very cool, and was the high light of the pack for me.
O and you get some hi res (3300 x 5100) posters ... so yeah.
But you know you had me at Issac Clarke.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
What I found was a trailer for a little gem called "Blood Trail"
And holy shit is this damn trailer freakin awesome... I mean gruesome :P
Blood Trail is a CGI horror piece based on a screenplay by Matt Cochran. Apparently it's set to be developed into a feature film, video game and graphic novel.