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  1. Carrying on with the paints-shitting terrifying music, this weeks Spooktober #TuneTuesday is Peak Level from 'Chaos;Child', composed by Takeshi Abo. I did cover this game in a recent(ish) #TuneTuesday thread, but to give a brief summary, Chaos;Child is the fourth main entry in the Science Adventure series (the same series the famous 'Steins;Gate' comes from) and a thematic sequel to Chaos;Head. As such, the plot is incredibly involved and rather confusing at times. In it, you take the role of Takuru Miyashiro, the president of his school's newspaper club, who investigates the "Return of The New Generation Madness" serial murder case that has been taking place in Shibuya. During the course of the game, he experiences delusions where the player gets the option to choose if Takuru should experience a positive or negative delusion or neither. These choices affect the plot's direction, causing it to branch off from the main narrative into different routes. That is, once you've played the game through for the first time, as you only have access to the common route (the canon route if you would). Chaos;Child is a murder mystery thriller, so death is commonplace within the narrative. Various members of the cast are thrown into mortal danger constantly. This is when today's cue enters. When 'Peak Level' is heard in the game, it is usually in direct conjunction with murders related to the Return of The New Generation Madness. In other words, it is played when someone is being murdered, usually horrifically and slowly. Chaos;Child doesn't fuck about either, as it does not shy away from any of the horrific imagery of someone chopping up their own arm and eating their own fingers, to use the very first thing you see in the game. And being a visual novel, the sound design and descriptions is just so much more immersive than your typical game, for a lot of the work is done by you. These are genuinely terrifying moments to sit through. In the early sections of the game, it is other people who are killed when this cue plays, but when the cue plays when you and/or your school buddies are around, that is when the fear goes from 0-to-10 really fucking fast as you are forced to watch your near defenceless protagonist and friends flee from whatever is attempting to tear them apart (literally in one case!). On its own, without any context, 'Peak Level' sounds like a broken Trance/Dubstep with some weird tribal vocals going on. But when 'Peak Level' is played in-game, it makes Chaos;Child one of the most frightening narratives to experience. There are 2 instances where this cue is it's most frightening, which is the end of Chapter 6 and 8. I won't tell you why so you'll have to experience Chaos;Child to find out.
  2. Week 3 of the #Spooktober takeover of #TuneTuesday has us look at a more intense #horror game cue, one that I think is terrifying, both in and out of its associated game. The cue is 'Suitor Attacks' from Justine, the DLC from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, composed by Mikko Tarmia. You play as Daniel, a young man from London who has awoken in the dark and empty halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past. All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that a 'Shadow' is hunting him. It does not take him long to find a letter from his past self, telling him that he has deliberately erased his own memory. But before doing this, he instructed his future self (ie, you) to kill Alexander, the castle's baron (it's set in 1839). Why he didn't kill Alexander before wiping his memory is beyond me... Gaping plot flaw aside, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror games to have spawned from the mouths of hell, and I am in that mindset. The Dark Descent takes many influences from Lovecraftian horror, using the famous quote “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” to it's fullest. I discussed in a previous #TuneTuesday thread (almost a year ago) about the impeccable sound design and score, both of which scares you more than the monsters themselves. You cannot fight the monsters, so your only option is to hide. They are sensitive to the light from your lamp, so you have to hide in the dark. Problem is, Daniel is scared of the dark and can start making whimpering noises, should his Sanity drop too much. You can't really look at them drains your Sanity Meter, which is not good for Daniel. In short, you're fucked. As for today's cue, this is found in the game's only DLC, Justine. Here, the player takes control of an unnamed female character, who awakens with amnesia in a dungeon cell, accompanied a phonograph. It contains a recording by a woman named Justine, who tells you that she is the subject of a psychological test. The player character is then allowed to escape, or die trying. In some ways, it is more frightening than the base game, for reasons I will avoid for spoiler reasons. In addition to the new monsters that you can't look at, there is also permadeath, so if you die in the game, you have to start all over again! Where it excels is its ability as a laxative. You will die a lot in this DLC, especially at the DLC's penultimate puzzle, which involves you moving about in a pool of water, so your movements are slower, whilst you are being chased by one of these Suitors, who is much faster and aggressive than the ones before it. Accompanying this is this uniquely aggressive cue, which is horrible in every sense of the word. I won't begin to attempt to pull it apart in a music theory sense, because (as I'm sure you can hear) is an atonal mess of screeching strings, harrowing synth pads and thumping percussion. As I said on November 2018, I do believe everyone should experience this game, whether you have the stomach to actually play it, or watch someone else through a let's play. One could argue it is because of PewDiePie's Lets Play that Lets Plays are a thing at all. It certainly made PewDiePie an internet sensation which, in turn, made gaming more mainstream, rather than just an expensive waste of time to the general public.
  3. Game: Ellen Publisher: Red Mount Media Release Date: Available now on Steam, PS4, Xbox1 & Switch Steam price: £7.19 Purchase on Steam Try the demo Genre: Point and click adventure, horror We have officially entered October, the month of Halloween which is arguably many peoples favorite month of the year. Time to make those plans for the big day at the end of the month, get stocked up on that candy for the trick or treaters and dig out those scary outfits for the kids. The gaming community also likes to get in the mood for spooks this time of year as well and what better time to tell you all about a horror game that you might overlook when it comes to choosing a game to satisfy your thirst for scares. There are plenty of games that fit this category out there, but one you might overlook is a game called Ellen. If you are looking for a game that sets a dark and atmospheric mood that isn't going to take you 40 hours to beat but has enough content to leave you satisfied then Ellen could well be the game for you. Although it was released on Steam in February this year so not particularly all that new, it was released on consoles last month and with it now being Halloween month there really is no better time to give Ellen a shot. Ellen has you play the role as James, an inspector whose job it is to inspect the mansion owned by the Smiths family who have all been brutally murdered years ago, all except for the daughter Ellen who's silhouette has been spotted at the house by several eye witnesses. You start the game having fallen from a great height and injuring your leg so to start you are limping around slowly until you find a medical pack which enables you to walk normally again and also run which comes as a real blessing after limping around so slowly. Before I get into what I enjoyed about the game, I will explain about what I thought could be improved in the Steam version. Basically it's the controls, you can play the game with a gamepad as I prefer to so I used my Xbox One controller and it didn't seem fully supported. First of all, on Steam it does not specify if Ellen supports gamepads either fully or partially so I'm assuming the developers at Red Mount Media would prefer you play with a keyboard and mouse. That's fine, but if that is the case then should gamepad support have been implemented at all? Don't get me wrong, most of the game works ok but you cannot perform certain actions with the gamepad, for example there are some book shelves you can hide behind by pressing the action button. Except the action button on the Xbox One controller does nothing apart from inspect the book shelves, I was having to press "E" on the keyboard to actually hide behind it. Also the game always prompts you to use keyboard buttons even if you are using a gamepad and the controls menu says nothing about what the buttons do on a gamepad whatsoever. So from my experience, if you are playing the Steam version go with a keyboard and mouse. Gamepad support aside, the dark tone and terrifying atmosphere of the game remain intact, music in the game is only triggered after certain moments or when you reach certain areas. Throughout large portions of the game there will be no music and all you will be hearing are the sounds of your footsteps and creepy noises in the background like doors creeking open and the sound of crying in the distance to name a couple of examples. Ellen does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat as you start to notice the mansion playing tricks on you. You will come across a tv switched on playing white noise distortion even though there is no electricity in the house, after you switch the tv off and leave the room it will be turned on again when you come back. You will notice objects have moved since you first visited that particular area, grandfather clocks have all of a sudden started working and creepy reflections in the bathroom mirror! This isn't even the most horrifying stuff that you will encounter, Ellen is a game aimed at mature audiences for a reason, I won't spoil too much as to why but make sure you are prepared for some violent scenes. I might not be the bravest gamer around but I was determined to plough on and try to uncover the dark truths about what happened to the Smith family and find Ellen! We cannot go any further without talking about how the game looks visually, Ellen's art style is very appealing to me. It has a really retro pixel art style going on and I love it! It compliments the tone of the game very well and brings out the dark setting and while the characters do not have faces, the emphasis is not on what they look like but what role they are playing and we are seeing that kind of thing quite a bit in games these days. Being a point and click adventure you will be backtracking a lot around the house discovering things that were not there before and you will do well to remember certain obstacles you are not able to overcome as no doubt you will find an item that will enable you to come back and get passed it later on. The fact that Ellen throws you off course with its creepy sound effects and strange occurrences in in areas you have already been in previously prevent backtracking from becoming a chore. One solid piece of advice I would give to you all is that you must remember not to drain the battery of your flash light as new batteries seemed hard to come by and you need it to see in pitch black areas. A point and click adventure wouldn't be the same with the odd puzzle here and there and Ellen has puzzles of its own you must overcome. You will be picking up clues all over the mansion which you must look through to figure out how to best some of the puzzles so just make sure you are picking everything up you see and try to interact with everything you can. It's the same mechanic that runs true with every point and click adventure so I'm glad Ellen did its best to anchor itself within the genre while giving us a fresh experience unlike any other at the same time. Also, there is something about how Ellen's pixel art monsters looked and sounded that really gave me the creeps! You will get to a point in the game where they start appearing fairly often and you must not over use running as you will run straight into one and it will kill you instantly! Over using your running is not a good idea in general as your stamina bar will deplete making you worn out. You will often be thinking that you wish you had some kind of weapon to take these horrible monsters out until you remember that you are not a super hero, you are an inspector. You will need to use your brain and figure out how to get passed these abominations by running and hiding a lot of the time which I fully appreciate. So if you are looking for something different to try this Halloween but require a guaranteed spook then I strongly advise considering Ellen. It won't take you 40 hours to complete but it will leave you with a chilling satisfaction and is a nice smaller game to play if you fancy a break from the heavy hitters. It is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Xbox One so you can play on your preferred system and there is also a demo to try in case you are still not sure if you want to part with your hard earned cash just yet. I would love to hear what you think about Ellen or if you are on the fence and why in the comments down below. Thanks for reading!
  4. I have decided to celebrate Spooktober by choosing #TuneTuesday tunes that are either spooky or paints-shitting terrifying. To kick the scarefest off, this weeks #TuneTuesday is 'Black Fairy' from Silent Hill 2, composed by Akira Yamaoka. Set some undetermined time after the events of the original Silent Hill, you take control of Jaaaaaaaaaames Sunderland, who returns to the eponymous town after receiving a letter from his wife, Mary, to come to their 'special place'. It's a fairly normal premise, but what makes it odd is that Mary is dead and has been for 3 years. Regardless, James sets out to the monster-ridden town that is enveloped in a strange for. From this opening, the astute player will work out that James isn't ok, and neither are the few people he encounters on his journey. I'll say no more on the matter, as I will enter massive spoiler territory. That being said, this cue is played during the final boss and is a perfect culmination of the game's themes and ideas. James finds out that <<INSERT SPOILER>> and his whole world begins to crumble. The strange, almost atonal synth pad just pulsates, not really going anywhere creating this incredibly uncomfortable tension for the player. Yet somehow, there is something about it that makes you want to listen to it over and over. Like much of the game's soundtrack, 'Black Fairy' has a strange dreamlike quality, or more appropriately, one befitting an awful nightmare. I highly recommend lovers of horror games and game soundtracks to listen to experience Silent Hill 2 and it's trippy ambiences, for it is arguably one of the best horror games to exist, with one of the most unusually pleasing soundtracks.
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