Level 3: The worst town ever!!
Boy, 1999 was a crazy year for me! I had a steady job, both the Matrix and Phantom Menace had come out (screw you guys! I like the Phantom Menace!), and I even managed to get a girlfriend (I know, that one surprised me as well). With all that great stuff going on, I was ready to declare 1999 the greatest year ever in the history of years…and then Silent Hill came out and ruined me. But before we travel to that awful little town, we need to make a pit stop first in Hong Kong.
Fear Effect (1999)
We all like cartoons (that wasn’t a question), and we all like horror stories (I’m just assuming), so what happens when you combine them? You get Fear Effect!
A couple things right out of the gate for this one. First, it was cel-shaded. There was a run in the years following this game where cel-shading was all the rage, but this one predated that jazz. Also, unlike the Resident Evil games, which used pre-rendered backgrounds (for the movie buffs, think matte paintings, for everybody else, basically static images) this bad boy did something different, it used full-motion video on a loop. This made the environment pop in a way that was not really seen at that time (it was also responsible for making this rather short game come on 4 DISCS!!!). Things were always moving in the background. Sure, it was a little weird if you hung around long enough for the loop to repeat, but hey, it was still awesome.
The gameplay was a mix of shooting, puzzle solving and quick-time events. You got your pick of mercenaries. A couple of grease balls named Deke and Glas, and super fox Hana. Obviously, I picked Hana. Mmm, Hana, in her tight leather pants and over-abundance of cleavage…
Huh? Oh, right, the game. A fun thing about Fear Effect was that you could literally be scared to death (hence the title). Your health bar would deplete if you ended up in bad situations. Hilariously, you could actually regain health by calming your character down (things like solving puzzles and killing baddies in an efficient manner) would bring you back to the green. Continue reading