I first saw 9 Childs St played by Gab Smolders, and I really liked the atmosphere and tension of this game! The full game is in development, and I look forward to seeing what all it adds and changes compared to this demo.
The Building 71 Incident
This is one of the rare games that I played myself before watching someone play it on YouTube. The Building 71 Incident has a great atmosphere and even more (if more subdued) music and sound effects. It is a very short game, and the ending is a little bit sudden and lackluster. But it’s a promising beginning for the developer, and I look forward to see what might come next.
The Crypt Terror
The Crypt Terror is my top pick of these 3, for its atmosphere, audio design, graphics, and setting. It is also quite short with a sudden ending, but for some reason it didn’t bother me as much. If the player takes their time to walk around and really absorb the setting, it’s simply fantastic and eerie. It is featured in the 90th(!) 3 Scary Games episode from Markiplier.
Note: while there is an updated/remastered version, this post is for the original game
Like many horror games, Midnight Shift was one I first learned about in a Markiplier play-through. I really liked the atmosphere and aesthetics, as short of a game as it is. Recently as I was browsing itch.io I saw this game, and decided to play it myself, to see if it still held up.
The first thing I noticed right away is the response to the keyboard and mouse; it is definitely delayed and laggy. On the pause screen, it still reacts to the mouse moving around, which is quite strange and a tad annoying. But, the graphics and atmosphere are still top notch! The red light was quite blocky on my system. Like most PC games I really wish there was an adjustable field-of-vision, it is set far too low. One of the first few trigger events, picking up the storage room key, caused the game to freeze for a few seconds.
The mannequins are of course still creepy; are they ever not? The ones that always turn their heads to keep looking at you are the worst, in the best way! Picking up the two keys slightly changes the level layout, as well as the number of mannequins and the poses they’re in. Approaching the exit, you definitely feel as if you’re being escorted to your doom.
While the credits show this was a project at Edmonton Digital Arts College, clicking its icon/link reveals the school has actually closed, which is unfortunate. I really enjoyed this short experience, and would love to play more like it!
This is a new series in similar vein to my “Bandcamp find” posts. There are a LOT of great games (free and paid) on itch.io, and I’ll be highlighting my finds as time goes on.
One of the most popular free games available on the site is Doki Doki Literature Club. Created with the free Ren’Py visual novel engine, this game is FAR different than what it appears to be on the surface. It’s pretty hard to describe much more without spoilers, so I’ll simply leave it there. Note that this game does tackle some potentially sensitive and emotional issues.
I’ve been a big fan of Deus Ex for a long time, and probably the biggest reason for that is its soundtrack. Yes it has an amazing story, lots of fun weapons, level design, etc. but it was always the music that stuck with me after playing the game, and I still listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis.
Last month, original composers Alexander Brandon and Michiel Van Den Bos worked together to bring a re-imagined soundtrack: Conspiravision. At 17 tracks, this is a sizeable collection, taking familiar themes and combining with modern instruments and production techniques. For me it will never replace the original, but it is a fantastic addition to the family of great soundtracks this series of games has produced!
After the release of Resident Evil 7, Capcom had a bit of success and renewed enthusiasm on their hands. Their new engine made the game look great, and the move to first-person was generally a success. While everyone was happy to have an all-new entry in the series, there was apparently enough demand after the Resident Evil 1 remake to do the same for the second game, along with a forthcoming remake of teh third entry. Unlike 1 remake’s traditional third-person perspective and 7’s first-person perspective, for Resident Evil 2 they decided on an over-the-shoulder view, and I think it really works well. I do wish the remake for 1 was in first-person, as that would really immerse the player in the atmosphere of the mansion.
By default the game begins with the player as Leon Kennedy (who more people may know from the fourth game), driving to Raccoon City to begin his new job on their police force. Stopping at a convenience store on the way, shit hits the fan and he escapes with Claire (whose brother happens to be Chris Redfield) and heads to the city.
Split off from Claire, Leon makes his way to the police station, a retrofitted museum. Armed only with a pistol, Leon starts exploring the station, soon finding a shotgun to help fight the enemies. First there are zombies to contend with, and then a “licker” is found crawling the wall and ceiling. While it’s possible to sneak by these blind enemies, if you’re running from other zombies or the Tyrant then the lickers will almost certainly get you.
Oh yeah, the Tyrant, aka “Mr. Stompy-stomp”. He is without doubt the scariest enemy in the game, not only just because he’s basically invincible. I think it really is due to the sound of his footsteps as he gets closer, and the fact he is ALWAYS roaming around. While he moves slightly slower than the player can run, he does speed up if within close distance. Besides running, he will also home in on you when you inevitably have to shoot a zombie in your way.
Eventually Leon makes his way to the parking garage, the sewer, and the Umbrella labs. Along the way are several more fun weapons and enemies, along with another character, Ada Wong. You get to play with her for a short while, armed with a pistol and a handy electronic hacking tool.
After completing Leon’s portion of the game, we start over again, this time as Claire. Split off from Leon, she also makes her way to the police station, this time near the back where the helicopter has already crashed. Early on Claire has 2 pistols: a weak pea-shooter with little ammo and a hip-shot .45 revolver that’s slow to reload. Thankfully it’s not long before she gets a grenade launcher(!) and an uzi(!!). Going through the station, the Tyrant also makes an earlier entrance, which helps to keep the tension going despite Claire’s impressive arsenal.
Eventually Claire makes it out of the police station, also through the parking garage, and makes her way to the orphanage to save Sherry. For a short while you actually play as Sherry, trying to escape the orphanage and avoiding Chief Irons. Before she’s inevitably caught, however, William busts in and kills him. Claire arrives at the orphanage, saving Sherry and takes her through the sewers, to the train car, and finally the lab.
Upon defeating the mutated William and saving Sherry once and for all, Claire meets Leon on the train and escapes the self-destructing lab.
Similar to the first Resident Evil, the best part of RE2 is the initial environment (in this case the police station) and playing as Leon. Exploring this new environment, finding clues about what happened, and those little items and treasure that open new doors and areas never seems to get old.
Everything that comes after isn’t necessarily bad. Claire’s campaign is also fun to play, and the different weapons do help, but I certainly wish Claire was forced away from the police station to a different and unique location to play through, such as an apartment complex, mall, etc.
Overall I had a lot of fun with the Resident Evil 2 remake, and I’m curious to see how well the third one does!