“CChh...Anybody Out There?...Cchh” (Static)
It is late, very dark at night. I am alone. The Rebellion forces have forced the majority of us to surrender. Yet, me and several others, who were at Research Center Number Eight, were far away from the action, and night fell before we could be taken as prisoners. The grids have been shut down. We’re trapped outside in the darkness: the doors won’t open. I envy those who were lucky enough to be inside. I, however, was on patrol. Allow me to introduce myself: I am “SniperKaiser19,” and I am trying to survive a night on Endor.
We received a message from the captain of the patrol that sounded something like this: “There are an unidentified number of untrained furry creatures moving in on our position. Don’t be fooled by their appearance - just stay alive. Shouldn’t be too difficult.” And with a crackle, he was off the intercom. I always thought that my Imperial training would prepare my nerves for such an incident. Now, I realized that I was terrified.
I had to focus. I had wandered back to the outermost entrance of a very, very small outpost storage building, right in the middle of the dark forest. It was locked, of course. “Calm down,” I thought to myself. “You’re a stormtrooper, the most elite, feared soldier in the Galactic Empire. You survived battles before, you can survive until extraction.” How long did the captain say it was until the rescue shuttle arrived? Regardless, it feels like an eternity.
“Who’s that,” I whisper, as I spot someone in the distance. I walk toward them, the only way I can see being with the aid of a flashlight on the front of my short rifle. That little circle of white light is all I can see. Nothing outside of it, and certainly nothing when the light turns off. Just a little circle that turns off every now and then to recharge for a few seconds. “Thank goodness,” I think, as I see another stormtrooper. “Mmm cup of tea,” is his name. We gather around the top of a short hill and pin our backs against a tree. We have the high ground, relative to our near surroundings, and they can’t sneak up behind us. Those Ewoks are small, and easy to kill, but boy, are they rumored to gang up on people.
Back before this whole nightmare began, when the Death Star was still in the sky and the base had not yet fallen, I would hear stories from the “old soldiers” about how the Ewoks would isolate scouts and swarm them, prodding them with primitive spears and knives and eating them alive. I brushed them off as simple stories, of course. I was from Coruscant, so I had never heard such things. But very soon, I saw the evidence for myself. I would spot, empty, bloody Imperial armor when on patrol, and scattered weapons laying about. But that was different. Then, it was not so dark that I could not see.
Me and “mmm cup of tea” held our ground silently, shining our flashlights into the darkness every so often. We did not leave them on, because to do so would basically be waving a red flag and shouting where we were. Most of the time, we were drenched in total and utter darkness. Occasionally, the captain, who was somehow still alive, would try and convince us to move around and to find each other: there’s strength in numbers. Yeah, not me and my buddy here. Our legs were practically glued to the ground with fear. We would hold our ground.
“Shuttle’s almost here, don’t die on me now,” the intercom urges desperately. Even the captain seems nervous. The intercom crackles, indicating that the other line has nothing more to say for the moment. Occasionally, we hear shooting in the distance, and panicked shouts, and screaming. The rest of the company is out there, God knows for how long. Me and my pal hold our ground, not talking, out of fear.
Finally, our hearts racing, we receive a notification on our scanners. The rendezvous point is only half a mile away. The shuttle will land, stay for just under a minute or so, and then leave. We have to make it to the extraction point before it leaves. Without word, me and “mmm cup of tea” turn on our flashlights and run, following our virtual map. Our breathing is heavy, and my heart thumps in my chest. “I’m not going to die on stupid Endor!” I think. I will see the light of day again. I will see my family on Coruscant again.
“Nub nub.” A high, innocent-sounding voice breaks the stillness, and instantly, me and my companion totally lost it. We fired incessantly in every direction until our weapons overheated, nearly killing each other. In the red strobe light of the lasers, I catch glimpses of hollow-eyed, furry creatures equipped with spears. When my weapon overheated, I frantically started hitting and kicking everything around me. When I broke free of the swarm, by some miracle, I just ran. I ran without the flashlight, crashing through thin branches and underbrush.
I didn’t even know if my companion was behind me. I didn’t care - I was in full panic mode. I saw the lights from the shuttle landing. Such a wonderful sight! I ran with all my strength, and watched as the spotlight under the shuttle grow as it landed. It touched down. The platform landed. My heart raced! I began to laugh hysterically! I was actually going to live! I was just ten short paces away! Then, into the light, swarmed dozens of Ewoks. I felt a sharp jab somewhere in my lower back, and then another one in my stomach. I gripped the railing of the platform weakly, and then lost strength and fell. Then these words came up on the screen: “SniperKaiser19 WAS LOST TO THE FOREST.”
I used to have recurring nightmares about zombies. Probably one of out four nightmares included an undead horde chasing me (and I nighmare regularly - my ratio of nightmares to otherwise wacky/happy dreams is typically at least 3 to 1).
It bugged me a lot. I tried finding reasons for why they'd keep popping up, but nothing really made sense. I was often stressed out, sure, but it wasn't like I dreaded conformity or got bullied/mobbed in real life.
Finally in college, after complaining about them for probably the umpteenth time, my friend just sighed and said, "Why don't you play Resident Evil?"
At first this suggestion seemed counterintuitive; how would playing a zombie survival game improve my odds of avoiding zombie nightmares? However, my friend just waxed on how dreams represent things we're trying to get a handle on in real life; except in my case, there were no real life zombies to practice on so handling digital versions might actually help me.
The latest title for the series at the time was Resident Evil 4. Not gonna lie - that kinda killed the series for me. Only because it was the best game ever and no other Res Evil title can ever compare to it! - *cough* I had difficulty getting into other titles after that one.
Honestly speaking, the zombies in Resident Evil 4 (and other titles in the series) often feel a bit more like ominous mutants, especially with all the crazy versions that crop up. However, the plagas taught me to headshot early on as I quickly learned that bullets were precious and stab-and-grab often made for better strategy options than slaughtering everything solo.
After beating the game, and playing it through a few more times with my little sibs (coaching from the side and laughing when they got chainsawed) I finally had another zombie nightmare - and this time I simply pulled up my carefully managed inventory attache case and withdrew my favorite shotgun. I wiped out at least one horde's worth of monsters before I woke up, feeling a lot better than I had in a long time.
Although if I had the option to go back and do it all over again, I'd shoot Ashley. Or just leave her somewhere for the horde. Honestly, saving that idiot felt like an entirely separate level of nightmare...
Silent Hill 2, Still My Favorite Horror Game
I feel like it is a great time to be a horror video game fan, especially with the modern technology at our disposal (horror games in VR are awesome). However, when it comes to my favorite horror game of all time, the classic Silent Hill 2 easily takes the crown. I remember seeing a trailer for Silent Hill 3 and immediately being interested in its world. I went to GameStop and could either buy Silent Hill 3 new, or get the first two games for less. I decided to start with the first two games, and I am so glad I did. I eventually did play the 3rd game and although I enjoyed it, the first two remain my favorites in the franchise.
I loved how the first game puts you in a world that is dangerous, and morphs into an even more twisted, dangerous world as you play. Silent Hill 2 doesn't do this as much, but its plot is what puts this game on the top of my favorite Silent Hill games. Protagonist James receives a letter from his deceased wife stating that she is in Silent Hill, and he takes the trip to find her, resulting in a journey that can be heavily analyzed psychologically. James meets other characters that have also been called to Silent Hill, whom also have psychological voyages of their own. He also encounters Maria, whom is a sexier, more flirty version of his wife that keeps you on your toes. The somewhat generic enemy types from the first game are replaced by disturbing fleshy monsters, and the very deadly, iconic Pyramid Head first appeared in this game. There is a slight open world feel with exploring the foggy, abandoned town, and locations like an apartment building, hospital, prison and hotel are all terrifying locations. The game has multiple endings for replayability, and to this day the themes of the game still stick with me. Silent Hill 2 is not only my favorite horror game of all time, but one of my favorite games period. I played the original Playstation 2 copy, but there was also an expanded version with a playable Maria, and an HD remaster that had mixed reviews. Someday I may check those out too. It is probably never going to happen, but I think a full remake of this game for the modern era like the Resident Evil remakes would be incredible. Regardless, Silent Hill 2 is definitely worth tracking down and playing.
Harry Situation Reviews: Dead Space
Alright, let’s finally talk about Dead Space.
Depending on who you ask Dead Space is one of the most famous (or infamous) science fiction survival horror game in existence. It was developed by Visceral Games and published by EA, which is a company known to send fear into the heart of gamers everywhere. Set in the far future, you play as an engineer named Isaac Clarke (a nice homage to science fiction authors Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke) traveling to a large mining ship called the Ishimura to do some repairs. Unfortunately as you arrive you find that the entire crew has been killed and reanimated into monstrocities called Necromorphs. The only source of this outbreak comes a mysterious artifact known as the Red Marker. You must fight your way and survive against the onslaught of Necromorphs as you uncover secrets about the Red Marker and the Ishimura, as well as try and find your girlfriend Nicole, who is stationed somewhere on the ship.
This game is famous (or infamous) for two main reasons:
1) It is terrifying. I mean it. This game is scary as balls. When I was younger I couldn’t even finish the game because I was so terrified to progress any further. That’s a testament to its infamous legacy.
2) It is extremely violent and gory. The amount of excessive blood and gore is enough to turn any gamer away. If you’re someone that’s not a fan of this kind of content then avoid this game if possible.
A major positive towards this game is the lighting and atmosphere. Much of the ship is in darkness, creating the most eerie atmosphere in space since Ridley Scott's original Alien. You're constantly looking over your shoulder and around every corner because you know that's when the Necromorphs are hiding and they'll pop up any given moment. They'll pop out of vents, they'll pop out of the doors, they'll burst through the walls. There's no such thing as safe on the Ishimura. This is how you do horror in a video game right, aside from having a bunch of monsters run out and attack you. The first 10-15 minutes of the game (which I'm sure most are familiar with) are without a doubt one of the most terrifying moments in the games.
The second positive is the game's combat. Unlike in other survival horror games, the necromorphs are not like traditional zombies. Shooting them in the head won't do a damn thing. If you want to put them down for good you gotta take out their limbs. And the weapons you use are not really weapons. They're engineer tools because the character you play isn't some space marine or super soldier, he's an engineer, so you use what you can.
The graphics are another major positive. This game was made back in 2008 and the graphics really do hold up very well today. Everything on the ship feels and looks very real like you yourself could be apart of this universe. It makes it feel very alive, despite the fact there are shit ton of dead bodies and necromorphs everywhere.
I'm also in love with so much of the backstory and lore within this game's universe. For example, you learn that the Ishimura is out in illegal space and their main operation is to retrieve the Red Marker for a religious group known as the Church of Unitology. Think of them as a combination of Evangelist Christians and Scientology. You can actually learn more about the backstory and the Ishimura's crew through a series of diaries and audio logs that are scattered throughout the ship. I must warn you, the audio logs are one of the most eerie things I've come across. A majority of them are about how some crew members have when crazy after discovering the Red Marker (which is one of its many sinister affects) or how the crew is desperately trying to stave off and survive the Necromorph outbreak. The most disturbing audio log involves a crew member dismembering his own limbs so he doesn't hurt anyone should he turn into a necromorph. It's pretty fucked up and it keeps you up at night. I would love to talk more about the story and of Dead Space but sadly there's too much to cover in this review.
There are also plenty leave plenty of room and quiet time to do some puzzle solving. You'll need to do these in order to progress through the game. Some are pretty, others are pretty challenging. But what I like about these puzzles is that they serve as a welcome break from all the Necromorph-slaying you'll have to do throughout the game. Trust me, after the 50th Necromorph that's tried to kill you you could use a breather because this game doesn't offer a lot.
Sadly I can't go into more details such as talking more about the story due to trying to contain this review under 1000 words. There's also not much to criticize either. I will say that one criticism I do have is that there isn't much character development in the game. You don't really get much character out of Isaac Clarke, who is pretty silent the whole game. They fix that in the sequels which I consider an improvement. Overall, I do consider Dead Space one of the most terrifying games I've ever played. If you want to try the game, its available on Steam and backwards compatible on all systems. Just play it with the lights on.
-Lighting and atmosphere
-Pretty damn scary
-Lore and audio logs
-Lack of character development
Final Grade: A
So those are my thoughts on Dead Space. Have you played this game before? What were your thoughts on it? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
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