The Top Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever, Part Four
Hi. I’m Mark.
And I’m Matt.
And welcome to bad games.
Lots of them.
… you don’t think they’re breaking us, do you?
Nah. I’ve played lots of bad games, and I’m fine so far.
… oh God.
Shut your hole and get to work. I’m tired and I’d much rather be in bed than sit here and stare at you.
#24: ALONE IN THE DARK: THE NEW NIGHTMARE:
Now, Resident Evil might have been the first game to use the Survival-Horror moniker, but it wasn’t the first survival-horror game at all. That prestige goes to the original Alone in the Dark, which to this day still influences modern day horror games.
The console sequel, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, is not only one long title for a video game, but it also influenced modern day horror games as well. I’m sure several developers, after playing The New Nightmare, took a look at the game they were creating and said “Let’s do our best not to be like this piece of shit as possible”Â.
That’s not to say it’s a completely horrible game. The graphics are great on the Dreamcast version, especially for the time it came out, the voice work and story aren’t a complete joke like many other horror games. One of the worst things about the game stem from the fact that it’s a sequel to a game that is much better than it is. The New Nightmare feels and plays like any other generic horror game, which is something that will disappoint any fan of the original game. Add to that the game does the following wrong:
Respawning enemies. Something you’ll see in a lot of games, but in a horror game where ammunition and health are scarce this can be a game breaker. Take for example the utterly horrendous Evil Dead: Hail to the King, one of the worst problems with that game was the tedious amount of enemy respawning which made it nearly impossible to progress. This isn’t as much of a problem in AitD:TNN until you factor another problem with the game in…
Finding out which key matches the right fudge packing door.
What are you, five?
I have a fully developed adult vocabulary that doesn’t require the constant use of profanity yours does. Eat me.
Anyway… for whatever reason, the designers decided to go against common logic by not informing you what key goes to what door. So, if you found a key, you would have to check every single freaking door until you found the right one. Add the fact that the enemies in the game respawned anytime you left the room with the amount of time you have to backtrack in order to find out which door you had to go through and it just ends up a mess.
Plus the characters both controlled like tanks. Looking back it’s amazing how many developers didn’t take advantage of the Playstation controllers analog set up for character movement. That and how many survival horror games like this one started out with a plane/helicopter crash. What’s up with that?
Almost as painful as: Sitting through Uwe Boll’s Alone in the Dark movie.
Oddly enough, while I’ve never really done much with the console versions of AOTD:TNN, I HAVE played a decent amount of the hand-held version of the title, as my cousin owned it for a while. For some reason, I didn’t hate it per say, but it really never did anything for me in the time I played it, and even for a GBC game, I thought it looked pretty ugly. It was largely uninteresting, bland, and not terribly fun to play. Sadly, from what I know of the console variants, this is more or less on par with the franchise as a whole. I do, however, have something to say about the PS1 version of the THIRD AITD title.
And that is?
#23: Cold Fear:
HAY LOOK @ ME I’M R E 4 2!
Look, I’m okay with the “rip-off” practice in video gaming; someone makes a game, makes a shitload of money, and a bunch of me-too developers jump on the bandwagon to make nearly identical games. It happens. Sometimes you get GOOD games out of the mix; most of the time you get crap. It’s the nature of the business.
And I’m okay with trying to turn convention on its ear. You want to take the ideas given to you and change them, go ahead. Put your survival horror on a boat or a submarine or a plane or whatever; I’m totally cool with that. Want to get rid of the monsters? Go for it; Disaster Report was entirely about trying to survive in a city afflicted by natural disasters and I loved it.
But please, please, please, do me one favor. When you go to make a rip-off, try, PLEASE try, to maintain the few things that made the original game successful. Variety. Enemies that are interesting and not entirely stupid as hell. A FRIGGIN’ MAP. Y’know, things like that.
Cold Fear really tried to be something not detestable, which just makes this even worse. The main character speaks Russian, and actively translates signs that (I assume) are REALLY written in Russian. This is a good attention to detail, and it impressed me quite a bit. The graphics, while by no means as good as those found in Resident Evil 4, were solid enough and didn’t offend me by their very existence.
But these things do not do nearly enough to balance out the problems, for the problems are many and ultimately insurmountable.
There’s a dearth of variety in the game. Most games of this type try to throw new and different enemy types at you, and hand you new and different weapons. Not so here; you get maybe five weapons to play with, and I got about halfway through the game before I saw my THIRD enemy type. THIRD. That’s just a complete disregard for variety, I’m sorry.
A lot of the concepts don’t work very well either, I’m afraid. Okay, the humans that are still alive try to shoot you on sight. I guess I can understand this, but why can’t I simply identify that no, I’m not infected, so please don’t shoot me? Am I supposed to be okay with shooting the Russians because they’re shooting at me? Or maybe because they’re Russians? It just seems stupid and avoidable somehow, yet there it is. Aside from the harpoon gun (admittedly a neat weapon) every other weapon you get, you’ve had in other games. The actual game concept screams of being one part “The Thing” and one part “RE4”, right down to “OH NOES MY FEMALE COMPANION HAS BECOME INFECTED!”, thus catapulting the game from “ME TOO” status right into “COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT” territory. Oh, and again, there is no map. None. At all. I don’t care what possible reason the developer had for this; it’s stupid and lame.
All in all, Cold Fear is a low down dirty shame. Survival Horror/Third Person Shooting on a boat sounds pretty cool, and some of the actual gameplay elements are neat (tumbling around on the boat due to loss of balance, for instance), but the complete and utter lack of anything interesting aside from the boat environment itself combined with the pervading feeling of ineptitude on the part of those involved ultimately makes for a disappointing experience. It’s by no means the worst game here, but it’s certainly not worth your cash, either.
Almost as painful as: Replicating seasickness by drinking a bottle of syrup of Ipecac.
I got this game for $10 and I still felt ripped off when the first hour went by and I was still bored out of my mind. Considering it was Ubisoft, I’m surprised it wasn’t called Tom Clancy’s Cold Fear.
#22: Friday the 13th (NES):
Gotta take a trip back in time for this one. EA wasn’t a gigantic game empire, Jack Thompson was probably bitching about Mario jumping on turtles, and barely any games could be defined as horror games at this point, and most of those would likely be PC games. Friday the 13th was slightly ahead of its time in some ways. Instead of being a complete side scrolling platform game like many other movie to NES titles Friday the 13th put you in charge of 6 counselors and a bunch of camping kids when Jason shows up to kill you all. In the game you could tackle different areas of the game at different times and you could switch between the camp counselors who all had different attributes.
Doesn’t sound too bad so far does it? In fact you might like the game…if you have some weird sado-masochist streak. People talk about how older games were harder than recent titles, and Friday the 13th is a prime example. This game will pimp-slap all but the hardest of the hardcore and leave the rest crying. You know how Jason carries a machet? The camp counselors you control get a weapon to start the game as well. Rocks. That’s right, you are supposed to stop the nearly unstoppable hockey mask wearing manic with rocks.
Rock beats scissors right? Too bad Jason also throws axes.
And hey, if you’re bored fighting Jason you can fight the legion of zombies and crows he somehow summoned! Throughout the game it’s your goal to light some fires in fireplaces while protecting the kids. You can go about the game in pretty much whatever order you want to, but every now and then Jason will randomly show up to make your life hell or to kill kids. When he attacks a siren goes off and you have to go protect the other counselors or save the children. Which means stopping what you were doing, and going to wherever he is to hopefully not get your ass handed to you and start all over again. Of course you can let some of the kids die, only a couple need to survive. If all that didn’t sound like enough fun the game gets even more difficult when night falls, plus health is only found randomly when you kill enemies, and if the two counselors who can jump higher die you might as well restart. All with no save points.
It’s frustrating, the difficulty is cheap, and most of all the game doesn’t have the kill-kill-kill-mom-mom-mom music.
Almost as painful as: Having nipple hair pulled out.
Given the choice, I’d sooner play as Jason and stab those whiny counselors in the face. Oh, and by the way, this is a non-game. Games are fun and entertaining; this is neither. Pass.
#21: The Thing:
Hey, here’s a grand idea for you: let’s take a nearly two decade old movie and make it into a “horror” game! Now, normally that sort of thinking isn’t too bad, and had the game worked, it might have actually been something memorable instead of a $5 game in the used bin. Unfortunately, for everything the game does RIGHT, it does just as many things horribly WRONG.
Basically, the game’s storyline picks up a few weeks after the movie ends. You and your party of Special Forces soldiers arrive at the Antarctic base from the movie and, after a thorough analysis, determine that some f*cked up shit went down and everybody died. Nothing terribly exciting happens while you’re on the base, so you move on to another location (the Norwegian base that’s nearby), and THIS is the point where everything goes to hell.
Now, the game itself does SOME things right; you can freeze to death in open air, on account of being in the arctic, and the Thing monsters look appropriately hideous. The game seems to want to be Half-Life meets Resident Evil REALLY BADLY, and it manages, for the first half of the game, to get the concept and atmosphere right a decent amount of the time. The problem is, not only are the gameplay elements bland and uninteresting, but about halfway through the game, the presentation basically falls apart.
Marvel to the Trust/Fear system! So long as you shoot everything you see and keep your allies from seeing gross stuff, you’ll never need to worry about it. Thrill to the variable character jobs! Never mind that the only important one is the Engineer; everyone else can go screw. Enjoy the amusement of never knowing when an ally might turn into a Thing! Except for the fact that almost all of the turns are scripted and you’re never given any sort of advance indication of them, at all. Be thrilled by the vast amount of teammates you can recruit! Except for the fact that visual models repeat, as do character voices, both for no good reason, and the fact that all of your teammates either die or disappear for no viable reason, which basically means that none of them really mean anything.
Notwithstanding that halfway through the game, you’re stripped of your inventory and left to recover it, just to make things more “challenging”. Not only that, around that point the game stops being about survival and becomes all about blowing away any person or Thing that moves, which is a shame, because The Thing isn’t a terribly exciting third person shooter.
Also feel free to marvel at the broken camera that makes shooting things by your feet nearly impossible, or the constant sea of white you’re left to traverse as you negotiate the Arctic North. And don’t forget the game ending that fans of the movie will have seen coming in THE FIRST TEN MINUTES OF THE GAME. And if you AREN’T a fan of the movie (and really, why not?), you’ll have NO IDEA what the significance of the ending IS SUPPOSED TO BE. Trying to use a twenty year old movie for reference is one thing; expecting the player to have actually SEEN it to get what you’re trying to accomplish is quite another.
Oh, and there’s not a single female that I can recall in the entire experience. What the hell is up with that?
Maybe they were smart enough to stay far away from this mess?
If that were true, we wouldn’t have Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness.
Is it a bad third person shooter/survival horror game? Is it a bad licensed game? No, it’s BOTH! Two great tastes that taste great together, not unlike a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, only made out of moldy peanuts and dog shit. There’s nothing memorable, exciting, or interesting to be found here; fans of the genre will find it woefully lacking and underdeveloped, and fans of the movie will find the treatment of the license to be weak and sad. Lame, lame, lame. Stay away, far away, from The Thing.
Almost as painful as: Rinsing your mouth out with hydrochloric acid
As a fan of the movie this game was painful to play. Still, it could’ve been worse, they could’ve made a video game out of The Fog where you wander around aimlessly for 90 minutes and then get killed off screen by ghost pirates.
That sounds mad awesome.
No. It sounds like someone put pirates in Haunting Ground.
Ah. Is that on the list?
No. I liked Haunting Ground.
Oh. So it’s a good game?
I’m playing favorites. I’m comfortable with this, you should be too.
Alright, well, join us next time when we look at more crappy horror games, including a game starring Lance Henriksen and something that’s all Joss Whedon’s fault.
Assuming we haven’t hung ourselves by then.
Wait, we’re allowed to kill ourselves to get out of this?
Don’t even think about it. I will find a way to bring your ass back.