Lone Survivor

Silent SNES is a psychological horror adventure sidescroller by Jasper Byrne, in which a young man seems to have mistaken an outbreak of spasmodic flesh mannequins for the bird flu.

You start as You (not you, You), a young man who seems to recollect very little of his recent life, including his near surroundings. You also seems to believe a dust mask to be an effective shield against shambling monstrosities with a propensity for biting and an inability to grasp the concept of depth, should You decide to cleverly dodge into the background shadows. Long story short, there’s monsters everywhere, and You wants out of this place, because you know, getting bitten to death sucks.

Oh, but that’s not it, no sir. Drugs Are Bad For You pulls you (not You, you) into the mind of You, and boy, is it fucked up. You eventually meets Her, who seems to be someone You held in high esteem, and she is the main source of mystery and motivation for You (aside from not being eaten alive by Them). I won’t delve deeper, simply because I can’t. Most questions you might have about You’s past life, current state of mind or encounters are never answered objectively, materializing instead as inside-out renditions of Thriller, a shady cat-comics lover in an overcoat, the lovechild of Pee-Wee Herman and Billy, and a man in a suit with a cardboard box on his head.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

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I like it. I like it a lot. Daddy’s Gonna Rape You is tough. Some small things aren’t easy to notice, but I like how something as simple as ammo or flashlight battery replenishment are embedded into the surrealism of the game. There are some details going on you might miss the opportunity to act on at first. Along with the multiple endings, this provides good replay value. The save mechanics make sense, the shortcuts back to the only place you can save in are well positioned and scarce enough to make You’s journey a challenge, and you always have the choice between being sneaky or shooting everything that moves. This last point is many times ruined in games when the choices are too unbalanced, especially in the case of stealth being an easy choice over melee as deadly as storming a bunker alone with a pocketknife. Can’t See Shit, Captain features no controller support, though. It’s fine on keyboard, but it wouldn’t hurt to have that little extra for controller-nuts like me. Joy2Key it is.

Another thing I love in Mommy’s Gonna Cut You is the absence of a GUI besides the inventory. No bars, no meters, no points, nothing. You is You, you become You, no interferences, no idiotic sanity accounting, no control, no idea of when You’ll start feeling hungry, tired, nothing at all. You are stripped bare of anything that could possibly distract you from You’s point of view, therefore guaranteeing total immersion, which is what a horror game is supposed to deliver. I won’t be scared if I’m simply told that my character just crapped his pants. That’s what sanity meters do. They’re pantscrapping measurement tools, and that’s pure, extra virgin and unprocessed bollocks. If you want me to crap my pants, then make the game do so. Even if you don’t want that, even if you just want me to jump from time to time, to leak one or two drops of pee, to shiver a bit, to lay an egg, whatever, just make the game itself, its environment, events, characters and story have that effect on me. A sanity meter is the equivalent of an “applause” sign at live shows: shallow, insincere emotion, and a waste of everyone’s time, vocal chords, and skin cells.

The Matrix doesn’t seem so bad anymore, now does it?

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The Magic School Bus works so well, in fact, that it doesn’t even need fancy graphics to keep you on edge. It’s not something that will rape your mind with horrifying nightmares for a month, far from that, but while that was never a requirement, it still does a better job than many games with modern graphics. The music, also by Jasper Byrne, accomplishes this masterfully. Hell, all of the audio is spot on. I didn’t know a vacuum cleaner could sound like that.

I’ll end this by addressing the bloated, pulsating elephant carcass in the room: The influence of Silent Hill is more than obvious, no one can deny it. By Silent Hill, I mean Silent Hill 2, the only Silent Hill game there has ever been. I do not know of any other Silent Hill, and if you do, I’m so sorry. I believe, however, that a great formula can be used more than once with very good results, and this is one of those cases. Why? Sensibility.

Speaking of which, hey, Konami, Jasper called, he found your taste.

9/10

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2 thoughts on “Lone Survivor

  1. I’ve been trying to play this one for a long time, and maybe I will do it soon.
    And another thing: Silent Hill 2 the true SH?? NO! SH2 has a great psychological “love-trauma-shit i killed her” story, but for me, the true thing is in Silent Hill 3 – great story, hellish mindfucked horror and a well built difficulty curve troughout the game (SH2 for me was a almost a walk in the park, except for the part where I wasted all my ammo fighting the two Pyramid Heads).

  2. Pingback: News: January Roundup « RAM Overload

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