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  1. This weeks #TuneTuesday post has us look at one of the calmer cues from one of the most horrifying games to have been made. The cue is Ending: Alexander, 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. Should you survive to the very end, you meet Alexander in the Inner Sanctum, who has nearly completed his ritual. Should you let him finish it and not kill him, you are killed by the Shadow because [INSERT PLOT DEVICE HERE], which gains you the bad ending, and this piano piece in G minor plays. To me, it serves to purposes. To show the player you gone and fucked up (as if being torn apart by a strawberry monster wasn’t frightening enough!) as this is essentially a piano requiem, a song for the dead. To make the player feel for Alexander’s plight. There are no real heroes in this game, but some players would feel terribly sorry for Alexander’s circumstance. Should you unlock this ending, he gets what he wants, but the price is very dear (ie, your life) and despite all that transpires between Daniel and Alexander, I get the impression that he did care for you and did try to help you, but not as much as he was helping himself. Now I could be looking into this far too much, as Alexander could very well just be using Daniel the whole time so that he could [INSERT PLOT DEVICE HERE], but that is the interesting effect the cue has had on me. Music can warp and distort the listener’s perception on the media present, making you reconsider everything you have learnt about the universe unfolding in front of the eyes of the audience, and this cue has made me feel sorry for one of the most manipulative and sinister characters, Alexander von Brennenburg, Baron of Castle Brenneburg
  2. Guest

    And they all died... Song of Horror - Episode 2

    "No way! This game is cheating! That was fine in the last episode!!" - Kyathil getting a happy surprise Publisher: Raiser Games (devs Protocol Games) Release date: 31st of October 2019 Genre: Third-person survival horror adventure Price: 7.99€/episode (season pass 21.99€) Steam Pre-words Before I start with this review I want to add a few things to my previous review of episode 1, now that I've actually replayed it (for first episode and first thoughts you can read here Song of Horror Episode 1 ). I kinda grew used to the heart beat mechanic, plus I do think it was patched up, and don't find it that problematic anymore... You simply have to "follow the beat", which is not exactly simple... Depending on the character you choose to play as, interactions and comments in the game will be a bit different. Besides, the AI changes up the game quite a bit depending on how you play it! So every playthrough will not be the same and I LOVE it! Well done, developers! Story On our protagonist's search for the missing author, we get to the antique shop which is owned by the man that sent the cursed music box... But, something doesn't seem quite right and the people are once again missing? It's up to us to figure out what has happened and find that music box! But, tread carefully, lest we might find ourselves caught by the Presence... And that is not a pleasant experience. Gameplay Before starting, we get to choose between 4 characters with their own unique stories and traits just like in the previous episode. This time we get to choose between 2 familiar faces, Sophie and Daniel, and two new ones, René and Erica. Many things are basically the same as in episode one, such as some of the different ways you can encounter the Presence and the heavy focus on solving puzzles, but there are also a couple of new things! There are new dangers and, as I got to experience myself, some things that worked in the first episode might not work in this one... Don't expect the same treatment as in the previous episode! The game tricked me, more than once (or I was naive haha)! Also, I definitely do think this episode was much harder versus the first one, and a lot scarier. The dangerous events seemed more frequent and more difficult, but this is just my own perception and cannot verify that it is actually the case. In fact, I got all of my characters killed... Twice. Yupp. There was some frustration going and perhaps the occasional Swedish curse word. The puzzles were quite varied, with some being easier to solve than others. Especially the last big puzzle was a bit confusing and took a couple of tries before I made it. Considering how the frequency of the dangerous events seemingly increasing, it did increase the tension quite a notch versus before and there was a new danger added, The Silence. Since I do want to avoid spoilers as much as I can in these reviews, I'm not going to describe it too much. However, with this new danger there is a new mechanic and I still don't really know how it works. This was basically why most of my characters died, because I just didn't understand it. In the end I simply held RT during most of these events while gently tapping LT occasionally and it seemed to work. No clue if that is what you are supposed to do though and I do genuinely think it needs a better description in the tutorial! Apart from that I was not prepared for the final push of the episode, which caused the demise of my second round of characters. As previously mentioned, this episode was definitely scarier and more tense! Bugs Yes, there were a few bugs for me. At one point a character died despite seemingly passing the dangerous event and a lot of my progress was suddenly gone when I was going back to the game after a couple of days. It was a bit annoying, since I had to redo a lot of the things. Apart from that I didn't experience anything, didn't get stuck anywhere or so! Final Thoughts Most of my experience with episode 2 was absolutely fantastic, in a pretty terrifying way! I do love the increased frequency of dangerous events, and the variations... BUT, due to the new mechanic being a bit unclear and the weird lost progress, I had to do a lot more replay than was necessary... And not by choice. I must admit that I lost some of the interest when my second round of characters died as well and had to start it all over again. Luckily, you can change the difficulty so things get easier and if you've killed off the characters like that you will know what to do next time and thus be able to get through the game much faster versus the first experience. I couldn't help but feel that I shouldn't have to replay it all if I reached the final push, but I do understand the idea with the perma death etc. It's not that I think it's bad, it just became frustrating combined with the other parts that I just mentioned. The locations look great, music and sound effects are brilliant once again... The mix of familiar with new experiences lulled you into a false safety and thus made the entire thing even scarier! Loved that part, a lot! The puzzles were pretty clever, yet fun and I definitely noticed a few references to classic horror games. Despite the parts that were less enjoyable I do think Song of Horror is my horror GOTY, or maybe it has a split place with the RE2 remake. It truly brings something new and unique to the horror game table! Thank you for letting me play this episode! For those of you interested, the next episode is released on Friday 13th... Can't wait to see what lurks in the new shadows! Yes, there is a high chance that I will do a live stream of it then! /Kyathil
  3. Guest

    Song of Horror - Episode 1

    "I am not going to play more horror games until after New Year's Eve" - Kyathil pre discovery of Song of Horror Publisher: Raiser Games (devs Protocol Games) Release date: 31st of October 2019 Genre: Third-person survival horror adventure Price: 7.99€/episode (season pass 21.99€) Steam Pre-words First of all, I really didn't have the intention of reviewing yet another horror game... But, I really couldn't resist this one. I'm kind of amazed since this game somehow dodged my radar until shortly before the release. Song of Horror has been under development since 2014, by the Spanish based studio Protocol Games, with a whole lot of ups and downs in the process. They attempted to fund the game using Kickstarter twice, but both attempts were unfortunately unsuccessful which obviously had a big impact for the future of the game (in fact many considered it cancelled since nothing seemed to be happening for quite some time). There was also a change of publisher along the road. I personally really admire the decision to keep on going with the development, finding new ways to make their dream game come true, despite these bumps in the road. Yay for not giving up! On Halloween they released the first 2 episodes of the game, with more to come in the future! Story The famed writer Sebastian P. Husher has gone missing, along with his entire family. Worried, his editor sent an assistant to his house in order to look for him – but he never came back… These disappearances spark a set of events that will soon reveal something dreadful: a nameless, eldritch entity known only as the Presence seems to be responsible – and it’s still somewhere, out there, lurking in the shadows, awaiting you… You may die, but the horror continues – others will pick the investigation up from where you left it until you all find out the origin of The Presence and put an end to this nightmare. Visuals&Sound Most of the eerie atmosphere of the game comes from the sound and visuals. Visually the game looks very realistic to the environment, with great lightning and shadows, which helps the player immerse themselves into the game. However, the characters themselves look a little bit off in comparison and not nearly as realistic with pretty wonky facial animations in cut scenes. This might be intentional, can't really tell, and it doesn't have a huge impact on the game and didn't remove the spookiness , but it was something that stood out as I was playing. The sound effects are absolutely fantastic, with realistic noises from doors, clocks and what not and the sound track features some really creepy, but cute (?), melodies. Gameplay A famous author has gone missing, his assistant who was supposed to find him never returns and the only logical conclusion is for you to follow in their footsteps. Survival instincts are never great in horror games! The game is very story-driven, with the character(s) investigating what's going on at the house of previously mentioned writer. You're off to discover what kind of horror lurks around, but also a bit about the people affected by it. Before the episode starts you get to choose between a couple of different characters, with different associations to the house and the missing people, that will serve as your investigator. The characters have different backgrounds, personalities and personal possessions that will have a certain impact on your game experience. If any of the characters die, you will get to choose a new one that will pick up the torch from the deceased one. I did read that deceased characters might return at a later point, probably in a future episode, but how or why that would happen I cannot tell! Paying homage to the 90s, A Song of Horror uses a third-person perspective and a semi frozen camera angle which definitely gave some cosy, nostalgic, flash backs to old classics like the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill. The third-person perspective did make the game a bit less scary for me personally, but not in a bad way. It actually felt really nice not having jump scares served in your face every now and then, like so many modern horror games do! Not that the game won't provide you with some scares at all, mind you... Some were so clever and unexpected that I almost jumped. H. P. Lovecraft 's work has also been a big inspiration for the story and mechanics of the the game. There is, of course, the Presence... A mysterious entity that seems to be chasing the characters and for some reason resides in the house you're investigating. Several people are missing, most likely connected to this entity. There are objects that seem to resonate with the otherworldly and paranormal events that will send chills down the spines of yourself and the character you play as. But, in order to really convey this fear to the players themselves they cleverly added things such as a heart beat, vibrating with your controller, whenever your character is unnerved. I'm convinced that sometimes this was added just to spook the player, while everything being perfectly safe in the game itself! However, tread carefully as you investigate this mystery. You never know what lurks behind a door or corner and carelessness will punish you.... There are two things that the devs high lighted a lot in this game, the behaviour of the Presence and that the actions of your characters will affect future events. Apparently the AI for the Presence will note how players tackle obstacles in the game and adapt accordingly, making the game experience a bit different depending on your play style. This was not something I reflected upon a lot as I was playing, but when I watched other people play the game I did notice a some differences! It actually made me wanna give the game another whirl with a character I haven't played as, yet, and try to change my own play style a bit in order to see how different the game experience will be. Needless to say, I really love this aspect! With regards to actions potentially affecting future events I cannot judge, since I only played one episode so far, but looking forward to see if my actions so far will affect future episodes! Bugs I didn't encounter a lot of bugs as I was playing, but there were a few and I do think they are worth mentioning. A few times it seemed like the marker for interactable objects glitched out and either didn't disappear after doing one-time interactions or you could see a marker, but not interact with it. Additionally I got stuck in stair cases a couple times, it was almost as if the characters simply tried to nope out from the game. Definitely not judging them for wanting do that, would do the same! It even caused me some stress during a tense situation, where I wanted to quickly get away but was quickly very stuck instead. Final Thoughts Most of the controls and mechanics worked smoothly, but a few were a little clunky such as a certain heart beat mechanism... This and the bugs could definitely be improved. All in all though, this is a really well made horror game. I absolutely loved the focus on solving a mystery, the story, the 90s vibes, the characters and their quirks, and most of the puzzles. It's spooky and creepy, sometimes also pretty darn scary, without being downright terrifying as some other horror games are. It offers plenty of replayability, both with the adaptive AI and the different play styles of the characters. It didn't feel like a haunted house experience, where you simply wait for the next scare, instead every puzzle piece you put together invoke a curiosity for the next one and a determination to solve the case! Looking forward to playing the next episode and want to thank Protocol Games for providing Indie Forged with a key!
  4. This weeks #TuneTuesday comes from, 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street'. The song is 'My Friends', composed by the incredible Stephen Sondheim. This musical is based on the play of the same name by Christoper Bond, who depicted Sweeney Todd, not as a raving throat-slitting lunatic like the Sweeney Todd of ye olde British myth, but a killer with a purpose. Similarly, Mrs Lovett, a woman who puts people into meat pies. As morbid a topic for a musical you think it is, very few musicals have overly positive themes. Les Miserable has The French Revolution, Hairspray has racism and segregation, to use two examples. This song appears towards the beginning of Act 1. Sweeney Todd has discovered through Mrs Lovett what happened to his wife and daughter, the latter in the 'care' of a Judge Turpin, who raped Todd's wife, forcing her to commit suicide. Todd has a new mission, which is to avenge his supposed dead wife and reclaim his daughter, Johanna. Mrs Lovett suggests Todd becomes a barber once more, to lore the Judge to him. She returns him his razors, which is when this almost hypnotic Ab sus chord plays on sustained strings and Todd sings today's song to his razor. Todd is almost in a trance as he sings to them. The opening lyrics are filled with sibilances (S sounds). 'These are my friends. See how they glisten, see this one shine, how he smiles, in the lights.', giving a beautiful dream-like quality to the song. He then opens up in both volume and emotion with the following line, 'My friends'. The song progresses, and there is a key change to A major, the semitone higher and Mrs Lovett begins to sing, making the song a duet. What makes this song a different sort of duet is that they don't sing together. Todd is still singing to his razors, whilst Mrs Lovett is singing at Todd, hinting her true feelings to him, but he is obsessed with his own motives and razors that will 'soon drip rubies'. And if that is not enough death for you, the melody constantly references the 'Dies Irae', as does the rest of the musical. I'd look into it if I were you, as it has been referenced as a sign of death in film. My brother loves every Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (poor thing) and my mother has a fantastic taste in older musicals (her favourites are 42nd Street and Fiddler on The Roof), so for years I felt I couldn't rightfully claim one as my own. Daft as that may sound, but we all have our fav bands, musicians that are different from what our friends and family listen to, even if we all share the same music tastes. That changed when I began my A levels and we had to study 3 musicals, which were 'Oliver!', 'Oklahoma!' (another fav of mine) and 'Sweeney Todd' (I still own my various notes and the piano score of 'Sweeney Todd'. Best £70 I've spent!). Whilst my class hated the musical lessons, I naturally loved them and was very drawn to the almost operatic Sweeney Todd, which I saw in the summer of 2012, with Micheal Ball and Imelda Staunton as Sweeney Todd & Mrs Lovett respectively and I thought that was fantastic. It may come to no surprise to you that 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' is my favourite musical. It is morbidly dark and witty in places, with some of the best music to ever hit the West End (and Broadway). If you ever get the chance to see it on stage, you must go! Failing that, the Tim Burton film adaption starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter is a very good film, staying very faithful to the musical.
  5. Xeno

    Top 10 Horror movie icons

    When the first horror movie is made, a new phenomenon is made to test movie goers courage and psyche. When horror movie icon Frankenstein come on to the screen, a series of icom monsters follow by, like Dracula, the Werewolf, and the Mummy. Then in the 80's blood were exploited and creative kills help push the horror film to something that we enjoy and anticipate with our favorite horror flicks. While horror films can have changed over the time with revamps or remakes of classical films, there is nothing more recognizable as these horror movie icons. Whenever we hit the horror genre, these characters pop out quickly into our minds. They have been stable in the horror films and has been parody a couple times as well. And on this list, we are going to count down the top 10 horror movie characters of all time. Let’s begin. 10 Candyman Let's start with a killer that center around an urban myth. Candyman focus on a black slave who was viciously beaten by slave and cotton field owners before severing his hand and cover him in honey on the field, leaving him to be stung to death by bees. And all for loving a white woman. He curses his murders and promises to haunt their generation and kill them, leading a long line of families from descendants slave owners to be damned with a stigma from Candyman. Because of this, those who repeat his name five times in front of a mirror who soon be greeted and for the most part impaled by a hook from behind. Candyman display a tragic being, a phrase you'll hear a lot on this list, who's searching for true love, only to be killed, and now murders anyone who calls for him including his great great great granddaughter who believes it’s all a myth until he appears. His kills aren’t that special yet interesting, displaying a distinct kill that no one can see with the exception of those who call for him. And the great acting of Tony Todd, along with the creepiness of bees covering Candyman's body from torso and below make this a wonderful character. If you haven’t seen this film, I say go check it out for yourself and see how haunting and hallucinating the character can get just for testing this myth. Just don’t say his name 5 times before a reflection glass. 9 Samara Samara is an urban legend, which you may hear more on this list, that curses those who watches a tape that shows her coming out of the well she was thrown to and soon out of the television. Based off the Japanese film which is based off a Japanese urban legend, seriously, all of Samara victims die within 7 days after watching the tape. Her appearance is both grueling, eerie, ominous, and creepy. And the story of a child being murdered by a family member is also tragic. The acting of Daveigh Chase is spot on, capturing the ideal of how Samara be when she exits the television and marching towards the fool who pop the tape in. There’s really nothing special about the character except the looks of Samara is what any creature would look after coming from the dead, decayed and decrepit, yet has the power to suck the souls off any fool who watches the film. It’s the tense moments that makes the character so terrifying as seeing the ring and the story of Samara would soon bring a closer solution to about her mysterious, but with the film continuing after the tape is stopped, you know you are in for a real treat. And seeing the petrified look her victims have as she marches towards them is outstanding. Just don’t bother looking for this tape since we can now watch it online. 8 Chucky When it comes to living in a home with a terrifying doll, none has come more recognizable than Chucky, a mass murder who was shot and killed, but not before he use voodoo magic to put his soul on a popular doll. Chucky has a unique sense of horror as he is shown to only be a toy, a figure that can impossibly do no harm and can easily be fooled as the spirit of the murder would spring out and attack those unexpected victims. His main goal of course is the transfer his soul into another body, preferably a boy for some reason, since his soul cannot be contained in the doll for too long, and the object would soon reject him, forcing him to pass on. His voices and one liners do tend to give a crack at what he is doing and who could forget that icon laugh. I will knock some points down cause after the first three films Chucky seem to have fallen off the wagon, having a family, becoming a generic slasher film. But overall, when we see this popular play toy, we immediately think of this madman. Then immediately locking it away for good hoping it won't spring to life. 7 Jigsaw and the Pig The Saw movie franchise has not one, but two iconic characters. Saw centers around a group of people trapped in various torture device, being forced to solve a puzzle for their life or in need of rescue at the hands of someone else's hands. Unlike most on this list that center around a supernatural being, one character is real and the other character is a mascot of a true killer. Let's start off with the pig, a follower of Jigsaw, this fowl being purpose is to capture those that deem unworthy in Jigsaw eyes and is placed in a trail for their lives. The pig has mostly captured criminals, liars, and relatives to those who are in the ultimate task. There are instincts that the Pig has killed people, however, this is mostly in video games so I can’t really count that. Not many people would remember this character more than the Jigsaw puppet, a character who is very creepy in its own right, having a wooden head cocking side to side while having a jaw move to simulate the actual murder speaking. Jigsaw also carries a trademark laugh as originally the puppet was a toy for an unborn child the murder was prepping to have. Yeah, in a twist, Jigsaw actually had a tragic past that we can get into the future. Still, to keep his identity a secret, the doll serves as a perfect object to convey his captures that they are in deep trouble and must survive or suffer the ultimate price, their lives. Overall, these horror icons help us look twice at night and think twice about our actions, before we are tested for the sake of our lives. 6 Michael Myers Low and behold a man who doesn't speak nor have any reaction or sympathy for what he has done. Michael Myers is a scary character, being tall like a basketball player, built like a football player, but have not emotions at all whenever he searches for his primary victim. Coming from the popular Halloween series, he’s easily remembered with his trademark mask, coverall suit, and his trademark kitchen knife, but has used other weapons to kill his victims, including his bare hands, actually ripping someone's head off. He's even tough to kill, which begs the question how can you actually kill a man who not only seems invincible, and has a habit to appear anywhere at anytime. Plus his theme is also memborerable, eerie at night, horrific when alone, and on several ringtones on people's phones. He's cold blooded and disturbing if you find him, one Halloween night. 5 Pennywise Clowns are scary. That can't be any truer when you speak about a character like Pennywise. Unlike the character's on this list, with the except of Chucky, Pennywise mostly haunt the same kids until they are grown, seeing that they know about this freakish being and nobody else. Seeing the trademark ballon is a sign that the horrors of being is around and close by to torment your life, either with a lost of a loved one, a past that disturbs you, or the actions that continues on right now. Plus, let's face it, both Pennywise is terrifying no matter who you choose. Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard has done an amazing work as the character, putting their own twist of how Pennywise personality work. With Tim Curry, it’s an idea of how clowns act that puts the fear of almost any clown you would find in a children's party or circus. For Bill Skarsgard, the vibes of his performance as Pennywise maybe the same as a modern horror of a clown in a twisted carnival. If you ignore the disappointing reveal at the end of one of the films, then you surely know how petrifying it is to be around clowns. No matter what type of clown it is. 4 Ghostface Ghostface is actually human. Okay that might killed some interest of this character since of course most of the characters on this list is supernatural, with the except of the characters from Saw. But honestly, the popularity of this character 90's is asthoniging, fans of the Scream movies wanted to be Ghostface for Halloween. Even I was Ghostface during my elementary school Halloween party. Ghostface is a murder based off a slasher film that centers around the same character in the film's film...which kinda feels Meta, that target a victim and her friends and family. . He mostly haunts people with phone calls towards his prey, at one point asked for the victim’s favorite horror film before identifying the victim and their every move and set himself up for the kill. Armed with a knife, Ghostface trademark weapon, he can easily sneak up and stab his victim multiple times and even slite his victim’s throat. What also makes Ghostface amazing is the fact that anyone can be Ghostface, it can lead to so much plot twist and suspects that’ll make your head spin. It’s a who done it film that change the direction of horror films. Just take a look at the opening of Scream 2, and figure who is the actual Ghostface killer if you happen to be in this scenario. You wouldn’t!! An icon slasher that change the genre of horror films in the 90’s, we can just help but enjoy the scream. Also his parody in A Scary Movie. 3 Leatherface Just by the sound of his chainsaw, there’s only one thing you need to do and one thing only, RUN! Leatherface is an amazing horror figure in the horror films, arming himself with a chainsaw and hammer and chopping his victims into pieces for his families stew...who happens to be cannibalism. Good to know that the bodies are preserved for something healthy, I guess. Leatherface is a tall scary monster, one who can be easily identified from miles away, but what makes this manic so amazing is his face. You see Leatherface not only kills his victims and deliver to his family for a nice 8 course meal, but also wear the face of his victims as a mask. Depending on how unique you are, or if you are unlucky, how pretty you are that attracts him, Leatherface will crave off your face, craft it into a mask, and walk around with it, knowing that you will always be his side and show off how awesome it is to his other foes. Unfortunately, Leatherface seems more like a lackey rather than murder on impluse or agenda, but that’s a minor when it comes to the noise of his weapon and scream. Speaking of which, the chainsaw is pretty much a known and related to Leatherface, that parodies of horror characters would wield a chainsaw as a weapon. Just be sure you have the stomach to take what he serves. If you have one after meeting him. 2 Freddy Kruger The next two are hard to list. They are both iconic, memorable, and by far the greatest horror film characters of all time. Even I had nightmares when I was a child thinking about these two coming to slaughter me. But overall I had to decide who is more iconic than the other so here it is. Freddy Kruger at number 2. There is so much that makes Freddy Kruger such an amazing character. His personality. His backstory. His appearance. The gloves with finger knives. And most of all his unique way of killing his victims, as he’s able to get them in one place that no one can ever escape, their dreams. People have made attempts to cover up Freddy Kruger’s past and history. And his victims find ways to not only eliminate the biggest nightmare of their lives, but also ways to stay awake, going as far as robbing a pharmacy for prescription pills to stay insomniac and avoid being killed. But once their in the dreamworld it’s game on, as Freddy Kruger has colorful ways of killing his victims, either based off their personality, fears, conditions, or addiction. Nearly all of Freddy Victims have been murdered by his glove knives or a cartoonish way. Plus his punchlines are just amazing as well as his laugh. There are different iteration of this horror icon, so by all means check out any Nightmare on Elm’s street films and see how amazing Freddy is. If anything, watch them all. And hopefully you can survive the night sleeping. 1 Jason Vorhees It’s Mother F-ing Jason! The one who holds an eerie and ominous noise. The one who is the master of all weapons. The one who is the uber king of machetes. The one who has the mask! Jason has a tragic backstory that lead to him coming back to life as a vengeful spirit, killing all teenagers and camp counselors who are foolish to spend their days and nights at Camp Crystal Lake. His almost a zombie like being as nearly all efforts to kill him seem frail, not having a chance to put him down for even a minute, easily getting back up and ready to kill his prey with little sweat. Interestingly a fun fact, Jason didn’t start in the first movie or with a mask but rather in the second film with a hood over his face. Jason’s mask is well known, and an easy trademark of his character as many people easily parody Jason in films and games, but mostly with a different weapon. Cursed by a vengeful mother and a spirit that even hell cannot contain, Jason Vorhees is the number one iconic horror character of all time. Enjoy the list? Have someone else that I missed? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to follow this page for more top 10 list and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Xeno9933. As always, Stay Awesome
  6. Halloween is near! And this year, once again, the gaming community is spoiled with several sweet treats (or perhaps, scary tricks) from indie game developers around the world. Here is a list of 11 spooky and not-so-spooky indie games to keep an eye out for this Halloween. _____ 01 _____ :: Song of Horror Developer Protocol Games Website | Facebook | Twitter | Discord Publisher Raiser Games Website | Facebook | Twitter Availability Steam Paid, Episodic Coming 31 October 2019 In this survival horror adventure game, get ready to hide from The Presence as you investigate what happened to the famed writer, Sebastian P. Husher, and his family. Controlled with advanced AI, the supernatural antagonist will learn and adapt to your every move, making the experience unpredictable and unique with every gameplay. Finally materializing after five long years of hard work, this game is not to be missed! Extra Treat: Join the Discord server before 31 October for a chance to win one of the 10 Season Passes for Song of Horror! _____ 02 _____ :: Monster Reapers VR Developer Virtual Uppercut Studios Twitter | Discord Publisher Virtual Uppercut Studios Availability Steam Paid, Early Access Coming 30 October 2019 A game for players with HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, Monster Reapers VR assigns you the task of hunting monsters that have invaded the land. With rogue-like elements such as procedurally generated levels and plenty of randomized ability upgrades, each run of the game is going to bring you a new experience. Extra Treat: Follow MonsterReapers and share their tweet before Halloween for a chance to win one of the 2 Steam keys! _____ 03 _____ :: Grimm’s Hollow Developer Ghosthunter Tumblr | Twitter Publisher Ghosthunter Availability Steam | Itch.io Free, Full Coming 31 October 2019 In this cute spooky RPG, you play as Lavender, who woke up one morning surrounded by skull-masked strangers. With a scythe in hand, she sets out to find her brother in an attempt to escape the Hollow together. Meet cute ghosts, chomp on ghostly treats, and explore haunted caves along the way! _____ 04 _____ :: Journey For Elysium Developer Mantis Publisher Cronos Interactive Website | Twitter | Discord Availability Steam Paid, Full Coming 31 October 2019 Step into a world inspired by ancient Greek and Roman mythology in this VR game for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. You play as an unnamed hero who has to overcome several challenges to reach Elysium in his afterlife and his story slowly unravels as you progress. Immerse yourself in this chilling black-and-white underworld as the hero journeys along to find redemption. _____ 05 _____ :: Grave Man Developer PixelCollabs Discord Publisher PixelCollabs Availability Itch.io Free, Full Grave Man is the fruit of a month-long community project headed by PixelShorts and Mk.2. Your job in the game is to keep the graveyard peaceful on Halloween night by knocking the dead back into their graves. Time waits for no one, so pick up your shovel and get cracking! _____ 06 _____ :: Cat Lady Developer Rose City Games Website | Twitter | Discord Publisher VIZ Media Website | Twitter Availability Steam Paid, Early Access Released earlier this month, Cat Lady is a rogue-lite shooter game where you play as Ally, who is on a mission to get rid of the evil that is haunting her Grandma’s mansion. It is certainly up to Ally and her cat allies to save everyone from the impending catastrophe! Expect more mansion areas, cat allies, and enemies coming to this Early Access title in its future updates! _____ 07 _____ :: Today Is My Birthday Developer Wonder Games Studio Twitter | Discord Publisher Crytivo Website | Twitter | Facebook | Discord Availability Steam | Crytivo Demo (Steam) Coming Soon TIMB Steam Demo is slated to release close to Halloween, in time for horror game lovers to explore a decrepit Wonder Park filled with life-threatening dangers. Your goal, as the protagonist Thomas, is to survive using your wits and speed. Muster up your courage to step into this theme park of your childhood memories. _____ 08 _____ :: CARRION Developer Phobia Game Studio Twitter | Discord Publisher Devolver Digital Website | Twitter | Facebook Availability Steam Sneak Peek Planned for a 2020 release, CARRION has surprised us with an early sneak peek that is available until 2 November. If you are tired of running away from monsters, why not try being the terrifying creature instead? Play as an amorphous creature of unknown origin in this 2D action reverse horror game and strike fear in everyone to your heart’s content! _____ 09 _____ :: Raven’s Point Developer Grumbismal Games Website | Twitter | Discord | Patreon Publisher Grumbismal Games Availability Itch.io | GameJolt The Silence Demo Still in development, Raven’s Point is a fast-paced horror boss rush game where you have to escape out of locked rooms and defeat four unique bosses. The Silence demo, featuring two of the bosses and released just a few days ago, lets you step into the shoes of Sara who is trapped in a mysterious house. Are you prepared to uncover the mysteries surrounding the house? _____ 10 _____ :: Death and Taxes Developer Placeholder Gameworks Twitter | Facebook | Discord Publisher Placeholder Gameworks Availability Itch.io Demo New Demo Coming Halloween 2019 Coming in early 2020, Death and Taxes is a 2D narrative-based game where you play as a Grim Reaper who reap souls via paperwork. Decide the fate of various individuals’ lives and your choices will in turn decide the fate of your incarnation. While a demo is already available, a new demo with improved content (as well as a Steam page) is scheduled to be released on Halloween. So, wear your best tie and get ready to show up for work! _____ 11 _____ :: Dicey Dungeons Developers Terry Cavanagh Chipzel Marlowe Dobbe Justo Delgado Baudí Publisher Terry Cavanagh Availability Steam | Itch.io Paid, Full Halloween Special available until 4 November Dicey Dungeons has been released for two months but the developers have just dropped a surprise Halloween Special content for it. For this spooky occasion, new enemies have appeared and characters have dressed up in Halloween costumes. Do not miss the chance to get rolling in this fast-paced deck-building rogue-like RPG! _____ _____ Hope you will have a spectacular Halloween with these indie games! Do not forget to wishlist and/ or follow the games you are interested in if you want to get their latest updates! Feature Photo: Yuri_B from Pixabay
  7. Guest

    My Indie Horror Top List!

    Halloween is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate it than with some spooky horror games? I've been a big fan of Halloween since a kid and have been playing a variety of horror games on Twitch the last couple of years, with a heavy focus on them during October. Thus I wanted to share with you my 5 top pick of indie horror games! However, I will not add some great well-known titles such as Layers of Fear, Amnesia or Outlast due to them already being classic horror games and the goal of this article is to introduce something new to the table. Also, I haven't played every single horror game out there and some are not included because of that (such as Devotion and Home Sweet Home). When I compiled this list I took several things into consideration and will add ratings reflecting these aspects: Scare factor - This one is given, I think. This is my biased opinion and they are rated in comparison with what I've experienced so far. Gameplay - How smooth the gameplay is Story - Is there any deeper story or just something to justify all them scares? More aspects could definitely be considered, but don't want to write a long, tedious, novel! Without further ado, here are my top picks for indie horror games: 5. Pacify Publisher: SKH Apps Release date: 29th of February 2019 Genre: Co-op puzzle haunted house fun times? Price: 3.99€ Steam On fifth place comes the only multiplayer game on this list, which might also be part of the reason why it's actually on the list too! You can choose to play solo or together with up to 3 other unforunate souls, in either co-op mode or PVP. If you play solo, which is most of my personal experience of the game, it will be a whole LOT more difficult and scary... So beware! The game takes place in a house which you and your comrades, for some reason, are set to investigate. This is not just any house though, but one of those happy houses haunted by a happy little not-at-all-creepy ghost girl! After a short time in the house it becomes clear that it was a very bad idea to enter and the goal is set to simply escape. But, it's not as easy as just running towards the exit and pray to any eventual diety that you get out safe and sound. You have to solve puzzles, with tools such as dolls, matches and keys... And keep a constant eye out for that happy little girl, because if she detects you she will politely ask you to join her games and you will politely not want to participate in that. One advice, do read the notes you find... It will make everything much easier! What I really like with this game is that it is a scary game to play with friends, but it's not like many other scarier multiplayer games such as Dead by Daylight which is basically a hide-and-seek game set on a pretty big map. Sure, there is a bit of hide-and-seek in Pacify too, but how you get out is a bit different (and pretty hard to nail, especially solo) and the map is not very big... It's just a house after all. It is also really fricking scary, much more so than Dead by Daylight. I'm pretty sure I browned my pants at one point while playing... It's also not a very expensive games and considering how many hours you can spend with it (it's quite replayable) I really think it is the game with the best price vs play hours on this list! If you and your friends enjoy some spooks, preferably as a team, I can warmly recommend giving this gem a spin. Score: Scare factor - 8/10, Gameplay 8/10, Story 5/10 4. Narcosis Publisher: Honor Code, Inc Release date: 28th of March 2017 Genre: First person survival, horror Price: 12.49€ Steam You are an industrial diver about to do everyday work on the bottom of the sea... And about to experience the absolute worst work day of your life. You put on your dive suit, doing your normal routine... Only this time something goes awfully wrong and you are left alone in your half-ton, high-tech dive suit described as a "walking coffin", trying to get back to your base and figure out what exactly happened. And whether anyone else survived. All this while carefully monitoring your oxygen level and defending yourself against hostile creatures. The sea hides many beautiful beings, but also lethal dangers. Navigation is slow in that heavy suit, your tools are few and the depth is very, very dark... You need to be clever in order to survive and return to the surface. Narcosis features many familiar horror game concepts, such as the oxygen/sanity level which can be somewhat compared to the light source mechanism in games like Amnesia. The oxygen level will naturally deplete with time and you will need to find refills in order to not suffocate and die. Additionally, if you encounter hostiles or experience horrors it will start depleting more rapidly due to the protagnist breathing more rapidly (as you might expect a stressed person to do). I personally think this is a nice and realistic detail and makes the game feel more real. There are a couple of jump scares, but not that many, and some horrifying events that will increase that spook factor with quite a few notches. It's about as scary as SOMA, mostly relying on atmosphere and sounds to provide the horror elements (but not only). The suit is really clunky to steer, which bothered me at times, but also added to the overall claustrophobic atmosphere of the game. Yes, you do a whole lot of exploration in the deep vast sea and yet you feel trapped and smothered due to this suit. I did read that some people found the graphics outdated, but I didn't think so myself and thought the game was realistic and at times really beautiful. Fantastic soundtrack to increase that abyssal ambiance too! The whole concept of Narcosis is to get a glimpse into how traumatic it would be to be put into a situation like the one the protagonist experiences. How he reacts to the events and surroundings feel realistic, most of the time. His desperation to find someone, anyone, increases the sense of despair and loneliness... And the constant fear of what lurks in the dark, but also in his own mind. The fight for survival is not just to survive foes but also to keep sane and not fall into utter despair. It also features some really nice plot twists that left me bamboozled for days! I really do hope that the protagonist got a BIG glass of some good whisky after his adventure. I definitely enjoyed my play through of the game and want to thank the developers who kindly offered a key to it! Score: Scare factor - 6.5/10, Gameplay 7/10, Story 8/10 3. Apsulov: End of Gods Publisher: Angry Demon Studio Release date: 8th of August 2019 Genre: Future viking horror Price: 16.79€ Steam When I first saw a trailer of Apsulov I thought it looked a little bit like Alien:Isolation, and me being a huge fan of the latter just had to check it up some more. It is described as a first person dark adventure/horror game where Norse mythology is mixed with sci-fi! At least I thought that sounded pretty cool, not that I had any idea whatsoever just how these developers planned to intertwine these concepts. Just like a lot of other games, especially horror focused ones, you wake up without having a slightest idea as of who you are, where you are or when you are... However, it really does sound like you are in deep need of some water and perhaps a mint! Unlike Pacify where you choose to investigate a haunted house (bad idea), in Apsulov you for some reason wake up in the middle of this nightmare and thus we cannot really blame her for having bad survival instincts by entering obviously bad places! At first it looks like the game takes place in some sort of space station, hence the Alien: Isolation vibes, but is actually some kind of underground science center. Humanity was digging deep into the ground on a quest to find Norse artifacts, but something went wrong and the result was chaos and suffering. The protagonist's personal quest is to explore this underground facility and figure out her place in all of this. But, her surroundings are very dark and in the darkness lurks less friendly entities... There has been quite the evolution since the studio's previous titles, Unforgiving: A Northern Hymn. The graphics are fantastic, including the human models, and the gameplay is really smooth even though it introduces more complex elements versus the older game. Just like in Unforgiving, there is voice acting and I suspect they have the same voice actors for the Swedish and English language options... Partly due to the pretty obvious Swedish accent for some of the characters. One thing that I did miss in Apsulov is the choice of having one spoken language and another as subtitles. It's a very minor thing though. What is scary in Apsulov is, mostly, the atmosphere, the plentiful amount of hostiles, and the overall darkness of the environment... There aren't that many jump scares and the ones I encountered did make me almost fly off the chair! Pretty good ones! The environment is pretty dang dark, but you do have a kind of special vision that will make navigation possible in dark places (and find hidden things!). Some cut scenes are pretty creepy and/or gory, so do keep that in mind if you decide to try this game out! I don't think this game is near as scary as Alien: Isolation, would put it on a similar level as Dead Space, but it doesn't make the experience any less enjoyable. In fact, I had a hard time putting this game down and started it right after finishing Blair Witch! There are plenty of puzzles, some more complex than others and the mythological lore is brilliantly woven into the story line. As you may have noticed there are many familiar concepts from other horror games in here, but the developers have also included their own unique twists and turns of things! Once again I feel like I could write so much about my experience of this game, but this article is not supposed to go in depth about the games mentioned and thus I have to stop! Seriously, if you're into horror games, JUST PLAY THIS! I truly enjoyed this game, not just as a horror game but as a game in general, and am proud of what the studio has achieved! Well done and thank you for providing me with keys for your games Score: Scare factor - 7/10, Gameplay 9/10, Story 8/10 2. SOMA Publisher: Frictional Games Release date: 22nd of September 2015 Genre: Sci-fi horror Price: 27.99€ Steam (heavily discounted during sales) On second place is my favourite horror game of all time, SOMA. I played it for the first time a few months after it's release and despite this being a couple of years ago by now and having played many horror games since, it is still my absolute favourite. Not because of the horror factor, it might be the least scary one on the list, but because of the amazing story! That's right, a horror game featuring a deep and thought provoking story! How odd! While Narcosis explores how a traumatic event can affect a human, SOMA explores what it means to actually BE human. Also, the game tackles this topic in an absolutely brilliant fashion! The game was developed by Frictional Games, also known for their masterpieces Penumbra and Amnesia (which in a way made horror games popular again). There are some elements to the game which are very similar to their previous titles, such as monster chasing scenes and the mechanics of the hostiles. A huge difference is the focus on figuring out what has happened to you and the location you are currently on, instead of focusing on scaring the living crap of you (there are some occurrences of that too, of course, but not that many in my opinion). I sincerely wish the worst to a certain Akers. It is still really scary, with many dark areas and terrifying sound effects! The areas you discover are also vastly different from those of Amnesia, parts are inside of a science center (ish?) and parts are taking place in the deep sea, while in Amnesia you are stuck in a big mansion. I have to mention that I found the sea levels absolutely gorgeous while playing, really beautifully done! While playing Narcosis and Subnautica I did get flashbacks to the sea parts of SOMA, which makes me think that these games took some inspiration from SOMA for their own sea levels. Might be wrong though! Still, fantastically done. The soundtrack to SOMA is also absolutely amazing and have been adding my favourite tracks to my "work mode" Spotify-list, game music is fantastic in the background while coding. As previously mentioned, I do think that the story is what makes SOMA unique and where it's absolutely brilliant. The journey that the protagonist makes, the characters he encounters (and the fates of various people in the world) and the difficult choices he has to make are all so fantastically well done that it left me slightly traumatized. But, just slightly. It's amazing how real the characters feel, partly due to excellent voice acting and how affected I got by the events. In order to progress in the game you have to solve puzzles and use stealth to avoid threats, in classical Frictional Games manners, but you also have to make choices that will affect those you've encountered. Some of these choices left a very bitter taste in my mouth and some might have also produced a tear or two. It is a very heavy game and as such might night be suitable for all, it is also a pretty scary game even though it's not on the same level as Outlast or Amnesia. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience to get through and might pick up again in the future! Ps. I really want something new from the studio! It's been 4 years, please give us some new horror game Frictional! Score: Scare factor - 6/10, Gameplay 9/10, Story 10/10 1. Visage (Early Access) Publisher: SadSquare Studio Release date: 2nd of October 2018 (first EA chapter) Genre: Psychological horror Price: 20.99€ Visage on Steam On the first place is what I personally think is a spiritual successor of the infamous PT and despite it being still in early access, with just two chapters released, it is one of the scariest gaming experiences you can get! Oh boy, how I screamed while playing this masterpiece! Thus, make sure you bring extra pants if you decide to give this game a try and remember that it is not for the faint-hearted. Also, keep in mind that it is still in early access and you might detect a few pesky bugs along the ride! Visage is a PT-inspired horror game taking place in a very old, seemingly haunted, house. Many families have lived here in the past and while many families lived there in peace, some faced a horrible fate. You are Dwayne (a little unclear so might be false) and for some unknown reason you decide to live in this, ill-rumored, house. Maybe Dwayne is there to investigate paranormal activities? Maybe he got a secret death wish? Who knows?! At least I would never even set a foot inside a house like this, because I very much enjoy living. Dwayne will quickly discover that there is definitely something, or someone, haunting the house and some of the inhabitants of the past will pay him a visit... In some ways, Visage reminds me of another PT-inspired indie game - Layers of Fear. Just like Layers of Fear, it features a super realistic looking house that will sometimes change appearance as the stories progress. There will be some jump scare scripted scenes, but they are few and far in between. It's a bit more focused on puzzle solving compared to Layers of Fear and we are not investigating the fate of just one family, but several, and they are split up in chapters that you unlock in different ways. The chapters themselves differentiate quite a bit from each other as well. For example, Lucy's chapter is following a rather linear path, classic horror game style, while Dolores's is less so and much more focused on puzzles. What is unique with Visage is the random events that will occur throughout the game, they can be things such as suddenly switching off the lights or a little peek-a-bo of a previous inhabitant... During one play through you will not experience all of these events and thus every play through will be a bit unique. This in combination with the fantastically eerie music and sound effects, the realism of the environment and the super creepy stories are what really made utterly terrified as I was playing through the 2 released chapters. I can't even described in words just how scary I found this! If you're looking for a game that might scare you beyond imagination, then this game is certainly for you! Score: Scare factor - 9.5/10, Gameplay 7/10, Story 7/10
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Ben Burns

    On Supernatural

    It's no revelation to suggest that TV has achieved a level of respect that we never thought possible. There have been some great shows over the years, but let's face it, until fairly recently, television was bargain bin compared to the level of production in films. For me, I think the first time I realised how incredible a serious TV show could be was my first viewing of Supernatural. I was stuck alone, in a house, for the whole summer of 2010 and I was feeling both isolated and bored. I needed something to occupy my mind and, being a huge horror fan, I stumbled across this spooky serial about a couple of brothers who hunt monsters and ghosts. It sounded like a lot of dumb fun so I 'acquired' the first season and started watching. I was immediately hooked and, seeing that there were five whole seasons already, I binged the whole thing over the next two months. Warning: spoilers ahead. Season 5 of Supernatural is probably the best single season of a TV show I've ever seen. It still illicits the feels from me on a level that few other shows can. The episode where they go over the history of their car, a prop that has been in pretty much every episode of the show, has basically been integral to their success on more than one occasion, but one which you barely pay attention to, is absolutely genius. They actually made me feel emotions about a car! I remember the first time around, my enthusiasm for the show slowly died after season 5. I think I limped on into season 8 and then gave up. Re-watching it, I realise why now. It's no secret that the creators of Supernatural never intended it to go past 5 seasons. But the narrative decisions made in season 6 feel like a betrayal of what made the show so great. Castiel, probably my favourite character, was shown on multiple occasions throughout season 5 to be a stalwart, loyal friend to the WInshesters. In fact, there’s even an episode where they travel to a future in which Dean and a band of survivors struggle against Lucifer in a blasted, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Castiel is still there, working with them. For this reason, I’ll never be able to accept his betrayal in season 6 and I think that was the start of what I saw as the show’s decline. I’m about to embark on season 7. I vaguely remember something about a virus called Leviathan and I know Bobby Singer, the other big ally to our heroes, is going to die. But the memories from my viewing past season 5 are hazy because the quality just wasn’t there anymore and the best characters kept getting axed. It’s sad what became of Supernatural, but it just goes to show that you can have too much of a good thing. It should have ended after five seasons and I think, for me, it probably always will have. Still, they’re now onto their 15th season, so there must be something worth sticking around for. I’ll keep an open mind.
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