The Top Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever, Part Seven
Hey folks, Matt here, welcoming you to another edition of the Top Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever. In case you’re wondering why I’m opening the article for the second time in a row, well, after Friday and what happened there, Mark’s been spending the weekend scrubbing his tongue. Hey, how’s that coming Mark?
I CAN STILL TASTE THE SHAME!
Right. Well, knock that off, we have a column to do.
Ugh. Fine, fine. If I ever confess my lust for a Pokemon ever again, kill me.
Aren’t you in love with a furrie?
No. I’m in love with a FAN of furries, not an actual furrie itself. There’s a difference between liking people and liking anthromorphs, thank you very much. Anyway, nobody reading this cares.
If you say so. The idea of someone looking at pictures of a Ninja Turtle gang-bang bothers me, though.
God, you people won’t be happy until I’ve lost my mind, will you? Anyway, it’s your turn, get to it.
#12. NIGHTMARE CREATURES 2
Gamers beware any game that advertises the music in a game more than any other feature.
I remember the commercials for this game, with Rob Zombie music blaring in the background, as Zombie’s music was the main selling point of the game. The first Nightmare Creatures had its share of problems, but was still an interesting action-horror game. Unfortunately, Nightmare Creatures 2 took all of the problems from the first game and made them even worse. Large, sprawling levels that were just tedious to play through, horrible combat, and enemies that were both hard to kill and had horrible AI. Once you figured out the correct way to kill an enemy, the rest of the level was just repeating that over and over again. The game even tried to combine parts of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil… but unfortunately, it didn’t combine the good parts of either game.
But hey, it had Rob Zombie’s music in it!
Great. If there were Rob Zombie music in my pants, would you want to look in my asshole?
No. Wait, what? What the hell was that?
Almost as painful as: Watching the god awful movie House of a 1000 Corpses, a Rob Zombie film.
Two things: First, I didn’t like either Nightmare Creatures title, so I have nothing to say that Matt hasn’t said already. Second, you can find NC2 at your local EB or Gamestop for about $2 American, so if that doesn’t say it all, nothing does.
BROWN EYE OF ISIS:
First, a dissertation about the flamethrower.
The standard concept of the flamethrower is nothing new. Humanity has had devices which funneled fuel, gasoline, propane, or whatever flammable liquid the creator could locate through a tube over fire or hot coals to produce “thrown flames” for centuries. The modern flamethrower as we perceive it, however, is credited as the invention of one Richard Fiedler, when he submitted the test model to the German Army in 1901. The idea behind his flamethrower was that it was a four-foot tall gas canister with a hose and nozzle attached, with gasoline in the bottom and inflammable oil in the top. One would simply pull the trigger and flame would shoot out, immolating anything in its path. It was a largely archaic device by today’s standards, as the ignition device had to be replaced after each use, but it is largely considered as the first real flamethrower of the modern age.
It’s not largely documented, but the device is largely considered to have been fueled by fuels such as butane, standard gasoline, or perhaps even paraffin (kerosene). However, almost every flamethrower to have been produced in the past century has been of the backpack design, as it allows for the massive amount of fuel one would need to power such a device to be stored easily and without merit.
You might, I assume, wonder why I’d bother banging out the above in a recap of a video game.
I kind of was, personally. Of course, I’m still wondering why you asked me to look in your ass.
It was for effect. Stop being a bitch. Anyway, the rationale is simple: for as utterly uninteresting and bland as Curse is as a game, the single most insulting thing about it is that it can’t even manage to get its facts straight on something as simple as a flamethrower.
Forget the fact that the game plays like a broken Resident Evil (and that’s saying something). Forget that the 3D camera could cause motion sickness. Forget the stilted dialogue that shifts between good and bad without hitting the brakes. Forget the squandering of such a promising concept (mummies) in such a bland survival horror title. And let’s definitely forget how a rifle shot (as in bolt action, sniper kind) in the face can’t kill a person dead in less than four shots, or how you can kill a zombie with a truncheon in as many hits as said rifle. And forget the broken aiming mechanic which, while it’s thoroughly accurate considering the main characters aren’t exactly combat-ready marines, ultimately does nothing for the game other than slow it down dramatically. And, oh yes, forget that HEADSHOTS DON’T KILL ANY THING ANY FASTER THAN BODY SHOTS, NOT EVEN HUMANS.
The flamethrower in Curse is an abomination of God and man, and it makes me ill just by its very existence.
Even if we assume that someone, somewhere, had a functioning flamethrower prototype in 1890 (eleven years before the recorded debut of the modern flamethrower), it wouldn’t be hand-held, portable, and able to maintain its own fuel source. And even if it were, it would most likely require a firing mechanism change between bursts, as the first German model did. And even IF it didn’t, it most likely would be able to kill a HUMAN FUCKING BEING after five full seconds of direct exposure. At the very least, said human being would be en flambé and screaming for his or her life, not standing in the center of a HORIZONTAL COLUMN OF FLAME firing their pistol as if nothing was happening.
Curse, as a product, is woefully uninspiring, and the sole reason for its existence, the idea of survival horror with mummies, is largely underdeveloped and bland. There are two characters one can play as, but neither is more or less interesting than the other; indeed, they’re both rather mediocre. As a survival horror title, Curse is neither terrifying nor terribly survival dependant. As a third-person shooter, Curse simply does not work; all of the broken mechanics aside, shooting someone in the face should equal instant death, period, even with a hand pistol. At range, yes, I can permit for bad aim; within five feet, if you can’t plug someone in the temple, take the gun and kill yourself, please. As a story-telling experience, I’ve read more compelling stories in Penthouse. Ultimately, Curse simply does not work as a game experience. That it is hard to find is complimentary; no one should play it, much less want to.
… and FIX YOUR FLAMETHROWER DAMMIT!
Almost as painful as: Performing a mummification ceremony… on yourself.
Rented it. Almost beat my record time for returning it back to Blockbuster. I’m surprised some thousand-year-old dead Pharaoh didn’t rise up out of his sarcophagus and curse the developers for making this piece of junk and trying to portray Egyptian mythology within it. I would’ve forgiven the game however if there had been a mummy wandering around shouting CUUUUUUUUURSE!!!! CUUUUUUUUUUURSE!!!
I don’t think multiple exclamation points were really needed there. We got your point with one.
Thanks for the punctuation lesson, Captain Colon.
You saw what I did there, right?
Yes. Colon, ass. Ha ha. Eat me. And now we enter…
THE TOP TEN.
#10: CLOCK TOWER 3
Most horror games start with an interesting premise, then somehow screw it up in the following games, or they start off badly, but get better with sequels. Nightmare Creatures 1 was a decent try at something new, but Nightmare Creatures 2 killed any progress they made (otherwise known as Syphon Filter syndrome). Silent Hill was only okay, but the sequels improved the series. With Clock Tower, the first two (or three in Japan) games were great. The games were essentially a very freaky version of hide and seek; you played the game trying to solve a mystery while a killer came after you, and you had to hide or throw objects to slow the killer down. No guns, or any other type of combat for that matter… in Clock Tower, you played the defenseless victim, which added a lot to the tension of the game. If you tried to hide in the same place a couple of times, the killer would figure it out, and it would be game over. Very few games have the kind of intensity that Clock Tower does, like when you’ve hidden in the bathroom stall for the 3rd time, and as you hear the killer come into the bathroom, you wait to see if this time Scissorman has figured out where you are hiding.
Clock Tower 3 is barely like any of the previous games. Set in 3D, with analog control, it had the potential to be an even more messed up experience than the previous titles in the series… but somewhere along the way, the developer must’ve thought that what worked in the series already wasn’t scary enough for modern day horror fans.
So instead of the usual hide from the killer mystery, Clock Tower 3 had you traveling through time facing serial killers and freeing wayward poltergeists.
Sort of like “Quantum Leap”Â, but with DEATH.
Pretty much. There was still the element of hiding from the killer, where it felt like a Clock Tower game, but those parts are brief. One of the most confusing additions to the game were these really odd boss battles where you had to chain down the villain in chains made of light, then shoot the boss with a magical arrow.
It felt almost like a completely different type of game, with the Clock Tower name slapped on the cover to sell a few more copies.
Almost as painful as: Dropping an Xbox on your foot.
The most insulting thing about Clock Tower 3, to me, is this: Capcom buys the rights to Clock Tower from Human Entertainment, then puts out Clock Tower 3, which is the most UNLIKE Clock Tower game on Earth. THEN they release Haunting Ground, THEIR OWN PROPERTY, and this is MORE like Clock Tower than Clock Tower 3. Sooooo… why did you even bother buying the license except to kill it? Stupid.
I’m all for innovation in established video game genres; as far as I’m concerned, re-inventing the wheel is great, but tricking out the old one until it’s the bestest original wheel in the world is good too. There’s nothing wrong with trying to bang out the kinks in a genre and make a game that HAS originality without entirely BEING original. But all too often, developers make a game that tries TOO hard to be better than it ultimately ends up being. Maybe it’s badly designed, maybe there’s a problem somewhere in execution, hell, maybe something just didn’t work the way it should have. When something like this hits a console or the PC, it depresses me, because you can look at what was done and say, “That’s a damn dirty shame”Â, because while there’s SOMETHING good, there’s so much bad that the good can’t hope to shine through.
And then there’s Siren.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Sony, as a development house, should really stick to 3D platformers and not touch anything else. I mean, if we look at their track record, what games tend to be the most well received? “Ratchet and Clank”Â, “Jax”Â, “Sly Cooper”Â, “ICO”Â, “Shadow of the Colossus”Â, and “God of War”Â. And everything else tends to either be mediocre or worse. Remember “Primal”Â? “The Getaway”Â and its even more wretched sequel? “The Mark of Kri”Â, “Rise of the Kasai”Â, and “Rise to Honor”Â, their three separate failed attempts at action titles? I mean, none of these titles were truly vomit-inducing experiences, per say, but I can’t honestly say I’d really be proud to say I played any of them.
Don’t forget Rule of Rose.
I’M TRYING TO.
Well, Siren far exceeds even those standards. It is, without question, a failure in nearly all respects, and a prime example why Sony should stick to what they know, lest they continue to produce crap like this.
Siren’s major problem is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s the story of a ceremony in the town of Hanuda, a ceremony which, among other things, causes a siren to sound out throughout the town, turns the water in the area red like blood, and makes the villagers into “shibito”Â, AKA the walking dead. That’s all fine and dandy, and actually makes for an interesting concept, but the buildup and the game itself fail to deliver on an otherwise interesting premise.
Half of the story works towards the “psychological horror”Â bent, IE crazy things, general hysteria, while the other half works toward the teen slasher “BOO! GOTCHA!”Â bent, IE shit jumping out at you and such. I’ve no idea how one could take two wholly disparate concepts and blend them together into something that works, but Sony bones it up royally here. You might be interested in the town and the ceremony, but you’ll find yourself wholly uninterested in the characters you’re expected to save along the way. Part of this is due to the generally uninteresting voice-acting (featuring Japanese people with British accents, no less), largely because it’s fairly mediocre. It’s either bland or way too cheesy (I never knew a video game character could chew the scenery until now) and never really evokes the feeling it’s trying to achieve.
The other reason this doesn’t work is because the game itself doesn’t work. Each stage you play, regardless of character, tasks you with the goal of getting from point A to point B while accomplishing whatever other things need doing along the way. Of course, most of the time, there will be massive groups of the aforementioned shibito standing between you and your goals, which amounts to you having to find a way through them. The game places great emphasis on the hide and avoid style of gameplay made famous by Clock Tower and Demon Night, but doesn’t manage to give players anywhere near as engrossing of an experience. This, of course, is because the core gameplay elements are totally broken.
See, every one of your characters you can play as is equipped with an ability called “sightjacking”Â. Effectively, sightjacking allows your character to see through the eyes of the possessed shibito in the area, to figure out where they are in relation to you, and to see what they see (items of importance, the exit, other shibito, you, whatever). The idea is that you can see what they see, figure out their patterns, if they have any, and then move through the area you’re placed in without issue. In practice, you’re either going to find yourself sitting around analyzing their patterns more often than you actually end up DOING something, or you’re going to die a lot. WHY you end up dying depends on the section you’re in… sometimes you’re playing as someone unarmed, sometimes you have an unarmed ally, sometimes you’re armed with an incredibly useless melee weapon, or sometimes there are too many shibito. The reasons are many, but the results are the same: frustration. If you’re not frustrated at replaying a section, you’ll be frustrated at having to sit around for half an hour mentally mapping out a five hundred foot map so as to avoid instant death.
The visual presentation elements try to make up for these failings; sightjacking looks really neat (like tuning a TV, only in your head… complete with static), as do the environments. Rivers full of blood red water, appropriately Japanese homes, and characters themselves all look pretty good, by and large. The characters (well, the human ones) are mapped with real faces over their polygon frames, which produces an artistic effect, which is interesting, even if it looks goofy on occasion. But chances are, the interesting visual presentation will wear off long before you’ve completed the game, which ultimately leaves you fighting to remain interested in the title while spending two hours on one miserable stage.
The saddest part of the whole experience is that, even when taken as individual components rather than as a whole, the game elements don’t work. The concept doesn’t work because, again, it’s trying to balance two wholly different styles of horror. The gameplay doesn’t work because it’s either thoroughly boring or thoroughly frustrating, depending on how you try to play. The story doesn’t work because you ultimately don’t care about the characters. Siren is ultimately a non-game, where the objective is not to enjoy it, but rather to force your way through it to reach the end so that you never have to play it ever again. Says I, thanks, but if I wanted to “work”Â in my free time, I’d volunteer for overtime or write for… a web… waitaminute…
Anyway, playing Siren is like sitting through “House of a Thousand Corpses”Â.
No, playing Nightmare Creatures 2 is like watching House of 1000 Corpses. We established that three games ago.
Okay, alright, fine. It’s like watching the remake of “The Amityville Horror”Â. You could do it, but why? You’ve seen better other places, and whatever itch this scratches in you can be scratched by far better material with less pain and suffering associated with it. Do yourself a favor and stay away from Siren.
Almost as painful as: Suffering thousands of simultaneous, severe paper-cuts.
Saw it for $6 and turned it down. Switching between several characters is only cool when everything else about the game doesn’t suck.
Agreed. Well, that wraps up another edition of the Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever. Join us next week, when hopefully I’ll be done scrubbing my tongue.
… and also, we’ll be covering another Resident Evil knock-off, a game that’s as unique as it is bad…
… a game that takes place in Hell (partially), and a game that’ll make you nuts! Well, maybe. Until then, see you Wednesday!
Nope, nothing extra this time, I got nothin’.