Digital Death (part 3)

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.

Fear%20Effect%20[Disc1of4]%20[U]%20[SLUS-00920]-frontThe 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

Digital Death (Part 2)

Level 2. In which I lean to smash every piece of art I find because there must be a key hidden within.

Towards the end of 1995 something crazy happened. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty! Also, the PlayStation came out. Whereas one of these things would be relegated to a trivia question, the other changed the world!!!! Okay, maybe not, but the PlayStation was the tits and since I was a spoiled brat, I got one for Christmas that year.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my Genesis…or my Sega CD…or my 32X (what can I say, I was a Sega mark), but it just seemed like the right time to try something new. I was already familiar with this whole cd business thanks to the Sega CD, but, if you ever played that piece of crap, you’d know that what I knew wasn’t much.

One of the first games I got (besides Ridge Racer which came with the system if my memory serves me) was a little diddy with a somewhat odd title called…

Resident Evil (1996)

Alright folks, here it is, the big daddy of horror gaming. Don’t believe me? Ever heard the term ‘Survival Horror’? Yeah, that term was literally coined by Capcom (makers of the game) after RE hit the scene. To be fair, RE didn’t really invent the genre. Alone in the Dark, which featured similar gameplay mechanics did proceed it. But since almost nobody played that game (definitely nobody I knew anyway), RE gets all the credit.

The story finds some special agent types, called S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics and Rescue Service), investigating disturbing reports from the forested area surrounding Racoon City. It seems that there have been some recent attacks and the victims appear to have been…eaten! Anyway, the S.T.A.R.S. unit head out…and promptly crash their helicopter in the forest. Doing their best Harrison Ford impression, they casually walk away from the crash like it wasn’t shit. Unfortunately, the woods are teeming with zombie dogs. The zombie dogs, or zogs as I call them, force them to take refuge in a massive nearby mansion (The Spencer Mansion).

The game starts as soon as the doors close behind you. Character options are either Chris Redfield (sharp shooter and all-around panty dropper) or Jill Valentine (the master of unlock37472-Resident_Evil_[U]-7ing—no, really, she is actually called this in the game. It’s like, shit, I can unlock like a champ, maybe I can be a master of unlocking as well…). Depending on who you pick, the story changes slightly. If you go with Chris, you meet jail-bait Rebecca Chambers. Choose Jill and mouth-breather Barry comes running to your rescue suspiciously fast. He reminds me of that weird cousin who always tries the bathroom door just after you go in. It’s like, dude, we all know you’re just trying to see somebody naked.

No matter who you select, the real star of the game becomes quickly clear: the house. This place is a work of art. Exquisitely detailed rooms. Confusing, yet somehow brilliant, floor layouts. Secrets and mysteries hiding behind nearly every painting or statue. Continue reading