Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Berserker's Top 10 Horror Games

I'm the type of person that truly makes a meal out of every horror game that I play. I crave them and I get all swept up in the mood by playing them in the dark with my surround sound up to a high volume. I guess my likeness for them spawns from the horror movies that I used to watch when I was younger - Hellraiser, Dawn of the Dead and such.

Anyway, since it is close to Halloween, I thought, why not make up a top 10 list of my favorites up to this day. Please keep in mind that this is a list of all that I have played through completely so far. I never have been able to make it too far in the original Clock Tower and I still haven't played the latest Alone in the Dark.

10) Haunting Ground

Haunting Ground is quite an underrated survival horror if you ask me. It plays much like Clock Tower 3 but takes a much more serious approach overall. The game emphasizes running and hiding, though it does have a few interesting puzzle-like boss battles. When Fiona (the main character) is scared too badly she will run in a manner that you have little control over and if she hits a wall then she will stumble or fall to the ground - this really increased the level of tension when an enemy suddenly appears similar to the way it did in Clock Tower 3.

The dog companion was a nice touch also. Rule of Rose is the only other horror game that comes to mind that used a dog companion but Haunting Ground was the first to do so. Haunting Ground felt very epic also. The twist and turns that Fiona's adventure takes made for a surprisingly much longer and satisfying game than I first imagined.

9) Resident Evil: Code Veronica X

Alexia and Alfred Ashford are some of the most disturbing characters in the RE universe and when it comes to character aspects, I love crazy characters since they are so unpredictable which makes for an all around exciting story full of surprises. CVX is my personal favorite Resident Evil game in the series mainly because of its story and overall graphical look that it carries. The characters almost look anime inspired in a way instead of realistic. I also look back it for its 3-D camera and 3-D backgrounds that made it to where the game didn't have to pause when your character ran through an area.

The return of Wesker was also an exciting twist since he was long believed to have been dead since the Mansion Incident yet he resurfaces with new powers that make for some very cool cutscene fights between him and Chris. If you ask me, his appearance in the Resident Evil universe doesn't have the same special appeal as it used to ever sense his constant need to emerge ever since CVX, but I still enjoy Mr. Shades all the same.

Also, I'm a Chris fan, he's my personal favorite character, and CVX is the Redfield game of the Resident Evil series. It's the story of the Redfields vs the Ashfords and it will always remain my favorite RE because of that. Why am I a Chris fan? Read on and you might find out.

8) Silent Hill 3

To me, Silent Hill 3 is memorable because it has the best dialogue and cutscenes out of the series. I really enjoyed the lead villain, Claudia and her overall cold nature displayed throughout the game. Her saying of "I'll be waiting where all begins... in the town of Silent Hill" still is one of the most memorable and chilling quotes of the entire series for me.

Then there's Valtiel - what a mystery he is. He's like another Pyramid Head-type creature that we know even less about. The connection to the first game was interesting also. Altogether, it brings some meaningful closure to the whole Alessa saga.

7) Siren: Blood Curse

Siren Blood Curse is wicked, demented, and overall evil all combined together. This game wants to throw some of the most disturbing stuff your way to where you'll never want to venture out into the dark again. The atmosphere is so extremely well done in this game. Characters that you might play as in one chapter might just die off in a later chapter and this game carries one very interesting twist that increases its length in a very nice way that I don't want to spoil. The overall story is pretty deep.

In all honesty, the frustrating gameplay kept me from fully enjoying the original Siren. I played for the story and atmosphere and that was it. I literally felt like I was forcing myself to play through it at times just for those aspects. Thankfully, Blood Curse's gameplay is quite good with only minimal control complaints every now and then.

6) Eternal Darkness

Sanity effects! Such an interesting way to build up tension or just plain screw with your head! Having enemies suddenly spawn on the screen when your health is low and then running away only to find that they are illusions - this sanity effect was one of my personal favorites. Also, my memory card is corrupted!? For a first time player to this game, I would actually recommend keeping your sanity gauge low throughout the majority of the game - that's where the party's at!

Besides the sanity feature, the overall setup with the way the story was told was engaging. The main character would dig up information on her ancestors and then the player would take control of that character and live out the tale of the ancestor to the conclusion. It was a great setup and the overall superb voice acting really helped to bring each character to life. The combat was cool also. Appendages could be chopped off of enemies and you had to finish each one with a finishing blow.

5) Condemned: Criminal Origins

Ah, Agent Thomas. What frightening images you can concoct in that mind of yours, dear sir!

The first Condemned does a remarkable job of playing with your head at key points and scaring you very badly at other points. It has good pacing throughout the story in terms of enemies and overall story also Enemies start out as mainly crazy homeless people then the game slowly switches over to some disturbing looking supernatural enemies.

Both Ethan and Rosa compose a great team as well. I felt as if they both contributed quite a bit to the story by the end of the game and both characters were very likeable in their own way. It's too bad that so many changes were made in Condemned 2. Not that Condemned 2 completely ruined the story, but I didn't really like the new direction that it took or the way that it changed the characters' looks so much.

4) Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 is the most complete Silent Hill experience, if you ask me. The psychological story to this game is a brilliant horror side story for the series. Everything fits so well together and the whole game left me with a sense of completeness once I had finished it. This is the first and only Silent Hill where I haven't had to dig out a plot analysis to fully enjoy its story.

Maria was an awesome touch to James' story. Not to spoil anything, but her appearance really makes the overall story much more appealing through her actions and overall goal by the end of the game. Then there's Pyramid Head, who is now one of the most recognized Silent Hill creatures of them all. His appearances are all so memorable in this game - like that scene between him and the nurse or the hallway chase.

Angela is probably my most favorite character in the game however. Her overall story is delivered in just enough fragments to keep her interesting. I also really liked her sudden mood changes followed by apologies - it really gives her a unique attitude very fitting for Silent Hill.

Overall Silent Hill 2 was the main game in the series that made me like Silent Hill. I always look forward to side story games now because of this one. The Alessa saga is important to Silent Hill and all, but I like to have breaks from her at times.

3) Resident Evil (PSX)

1996... *sigh* I'll never forget it. It was the year that the horror game where those grisly murders took place in the Arkley Mountains of Raccoon City was first released... and I didn't have a PSX at that time to enjoy the experience that followed because I bought a Sega Saturn to enjoy Virtua Fighter 2. I practically had the whole story ruined for me by watching a friend play it on his PSX but I eventually bought it nearly a year later when it was released for Sega Saturn.

The first time I saw the opening movie and overall introduction cutscenes to Resident Evil, I couldn't believe how the game captured such an incredibly close feeling to that of a horror movie. Sure the voice acting was cheesy, but the overall feel was so very memorable. The first Resident Evil still carries a special tensity to it that the remake didn't capture if you ask me. The Alpha Hunters in the original game are still some of the scariest enemies I have faced in any survival horror. Dear god, those things are so very unpredictable and tough in the original game.

If you read the CVX description above, then you'll know that Chris Redfield is my personal favorite RE character and my likeness of him spawns from this game. It was so greatly entertaining to play through with his less ammo filled adventure when compared to Jill's game. His game was much more about survival to me, literally having to take zombies on with a knife at times because of lack of ammo, when compared to Jill's game where she actually gets ammo handed to her at times and she has control over the grenade launcher/bazooka which helps out greatly for Hunters.

2) Resident Evil (GC)

I still look at this game as an extremely major highlight of all my gaming years. A remake of the first game in my most favorite game series!

The atmosphere from the original game was intensified so very greatly with the power of the Gamecube. Some areas were given facelifts while other areas were given complete makeovers. The Aqua Ring area felt much more fitting this time around and the music that plays inside of it is still my all time favorite track from the game series.

The addition of Lisa added a lot to the backstory of George Trevor and the entire Spencer Estate as well. The game provided quite a bit more backstory on Ozwell E. Spencer though still managed to keep him as elusive as we have come to expect in the RE universe. I start to wonder how Capcom will eventually show him to us and if they ever will...? Or have they already?

1) Fatal Frame series

Yeah that's right. Fatal Frame, Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly and Fatal Frame III: The Tormented all for number 1. I can't differentiate between them since they are all equal to me. Out of all the survival horrors that I have played, Fatal Frame 1 is the first game to actually scare me to where I had to stop playing it one night. Seriously, a ghost scared the living daylights out of me and I just said, "Ok, that is enough for the tonight." It was the first time ever and first time since then that I have ever done that. It felt good.

Fatal Frame completely nails the most important part of a survival horror experience to me - the sound. Fatal Frames makes me not even want to walk into a room because of a slight bell ringing or a sudden thumping sound. Besides the sound, the timing and unexpected placement for some its scares are the main aspects of the game that startle me. Fatal Frame can startle me so unexpectedly that I literally stare blankly at the screen during a scare sequence before responding because I was so unprepared for the scare and I haven't had time to react just yet. That probably didn't make sense, but it's a hard feeling to describe. It's like I'm jumping on the inside while the outside is still motionless.

Fatal Frame - I skipped out on this game for quite a while after its release until I finally decided to check it out due to the positive comments I had read about it. I would usually think to myself "Using a camera to battle ghost? Ok?" By god, was I ever wrong to think that. The concept of using a camera and having to switch to a first person view intensifies each battle so greatly!

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly - In a way, I don't remember much of this game since I have only played through it one time. It was just as good as the others but there were so many other good games out around its time. I do remember that creepy Falling Woman ghost though and the main ghost in this game was incredibly frightening.

Fatal Frame III: The Tormented - Part 3 brings such good closure to the PS2 trilogy. I like the fact that it brings the other two games together by having a few areas and characters from them while attempting to tell its own story. The return of Miku and a continuation of her story was really memorable for me since I liked the first game so much. Tormented was the first game that ever inspired me to write a guide for a survival horror game and is one of the main reasons why I continue to do so today.

Honorable Mentions

Silent Hill - Tell you the truth, I didn't really appreciate this game until I played through Silent Hill 3. Silent Hill 3 made me return to the original and play it a bit more thanks to its connection. The original Silent Hill still scares me the most out of any of the games in the series. The random noises that play so suddenly in some rooms of the game really startle the hell out of me sometimes.

Resident Evil 2 - RE2 is quite the memorable game but the change in location made the atmosphere feel less scary. Don't get me wrong, I jumped quite a few times with this game, and still do. To this day, it is probably my most played RE title out of all of them - sometimes I think that is why I don't really care to come back to it. I probably have overplayed it. Why did I play it so much? Have you ever checked to see how many different version of RE2 have been released? I have to own them all, you know. :p

Resident Evil 3 - RE3 brought in a unique fear with the stalking tough-as-nails Nemesis that I would love to see repeated again in a horror game some day. RE4's Verdugo brought that same feel for a while, but it was too short. Resident Evil 3 can also be the hardest RE of them all if you try to actually fight Nemesis every single time. It makes for a very fun survival playthrough.

Illbleed - LOL, wut? Have you ever played it? Illbleed still stands as one of the most unique horror games that I have played. It's corny at times but it sure isn't afraid to scare you quite badly with sudden noises when traps are set off. Also, you gotta love the geysers of blood that come from character and enemies when they are hit.

Rule of Rose - This is a strange game. It is basically played for story and that is it. The combat is horrible and the overall gameplay is mediocre but the story is quite good and deep... pretty cruel too.

Dead Space - EA's new horror game has really, really impressed me much more than I was expecting. The atmosphere and overall sound design is done so very well in this game.

Onimusha - The first Onimusha game reminds me a lot of Resident Evil with swords. It captures a horror feel much better than the later games in the series. That's not to say that it's my favorite however. Dawn of Dreams is still my pick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dead Space is Fantastic!

Yeah, you heard that right. The game is quite excellent. Don't believe me, well then read what I have to say about the PS3 version:

Dead Space Review

I also typed up a review for Silent Hill Homecoming if anyone is interested. Really I think the Homecoming review reads better even though I spent much longer on the Dead Space review. I've spent MUCH more time playing Homecoming than Dead Space at the moment.

I'm also trying to write up a guide for Dead Space but this one's going to take quite a while. I really should have done this on my first time through like I did with SH: Homecoming, since I was much more involved then. I'm using both the 360 and PS3 version to write different parts. Hopefully, I'll have the motivation to continue.

I'll be receiving Far Cry 2 soon, so I don't know if I'll have the willpower to stay focused on Dead Space for the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Just as an extra, check out this Silent Hill Homecoming video review made by a good friend from a forum that I frequent from time to time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Silent Hill Homecoming Guide

I must admit, I was wrong. Because of the change in developers and many of the early screens I had seen, I had my doubts about Silent Hill Homecoming up to the very release date and until I placed it in my Xbox 360, but it really has impressed me. Bravo, Double Helix, Bravo! It has its problems and it is probably the least scariest Silent Hill, but it's a great addition to the series if you ask me, so I decided to do a little something for it.

Silent Hill Homecoming FAQ/Walkthrough by Berserker

I started up on this guide after playing it for about 10 minutes. I always feel that I do a better job on survival horrors while typing up the walkthrough portion on my first time through. I like to showcase my tension and feelings for the game in my writing and I think it works out much better on my first time through. This is not to say that the strategies are based on my first time through. I've been through it a second time and actually used my guide on guidance - that's a first!

If you're looking for this on GameFAQs then I probably won't post it up there until later this week. I want to have time to correct a few areas before it goes up on there.

What else, what else...

Oh yeah, new reviews are up for Infinite Undiscovery and Mega Man 9 if anyone is interested. Also, more importantly, I now only have 7 more challenge rooms left in Bionic Commando Rearmed. Oooo, it's getting so hard now!

Silent Hill Homecoming FAQ updates:

Update (10/16) - A new save point list was added to the List section. Many of the sections were beefed up quite a bit. The intro was redone a bit to match the survival horror mood I was in yesterday after beating the game for the fourth time. This should be up on GameFAQs later today also - just submitted it. Only the walkthrough and a few other sections are proofread so there are still plenty of typos in the guide I'm sure.

That about wraps it up. Other updates should be minor. I wouldn't count on an item list or game script this time around like I did with Origins. A game script would be kind of fun though.

Update (10/17) - A Weapon list is now up in the list section. A few typos have been destroyed and reborn as actual words and phrases also. Some typos still linger though, so email me if you notice one.

Update (10/20) - Ending 1 requirements were revised thanks to a reader. Squashed many of the typos in the Enemies section. The List section still has typos, I know, but I don't know when or if I'll get around to looking over it. Proofreading my own work is so very hard and boring. :(

Update (10/22) - All sections have been proofread, so all the typos are gone, no doubt. If not... I'll stretch the typo words until they break and all the little characters drain out.

Siam knife finisher description was added also. I only have a few finisher moves descriptions left to add now.

Update (11/03) - This update has been sitting on my comp for the past week really... Anyway, Siam knife finisher revised. A few glitch warnings added, one in the Sewers right before Siam fight and another in the Church before the plate puzzle.

Update (11/12) - Added a note about an image of Alex's father that can be seen through the cloth sheet in the basement before cutting the sheet - see added "Special Note" in the walkthrough during the first arrival in the basement of the Shepherd House for more info. Also added the finishing move for the Feral while equipped with the axe. A tip was added to the fight with the three Needlers and the Siam in the Main Drain Chamber of the Sewers. Another note was added to the Scarlet fight before the second battle with her.

If anyone can describe the Combat Knife/Ceremonial Dagger finishing move when fighting a Smog then please email me. It is the ONLY little detail left that I want to add for a complete guide.

Update (11/18) - Corrected a few mistakes here and these thanks to Rob. A new valuable health tip is now listed under the Health section in Basics. The Smog now has a Combat Knife/Ceremonial Dagger finisher description now as well thanks to a reader. I now dub Silent Hill Homecoming FAQ/Walkthrough by Berserker as finished! I'm still accepting additions though.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Resident Evil 5 TGS '08 trailer!

Don't. Play. ^That. Click on the link. Go to Gametrailers. Watch it in the highest resolution possible - oh, what the hell, just click here (HD) or here (SD). Have the volume up as high as it will go. If you're avoiding spoilers then don't watch it at all. Just know that it made my day.

There are times where I wish I could reach through my monitor and somehow grab a game and play it early no matter how much of a beta form it still is in. This game goes beyond that though... I just... wow.

March needs to here quickly. ...and I REALLY need to get an HDTV before then.[/RE fanboy explosion]

The Official North American RE5 Site is updated quite a bit also with new downloads, character profiles, etc.


There is also an Alternate Trailer on GameTrailers:

Alternate Trailer SD
Alternate Trailer HD

Thanks to Brian for pointing this out.


A New Resident Evil Degeneration trailer is now up!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Berserker is Coming Home!

I have been hot and heavy on Silent Hill Homecoming ever since its release last Wednesday and I must say, the game is much better than what I was expecting. While playing through my first time I have actually typed out a full walkthrough for it. I decided to start one up at the last second since I was highly entertained by the opening sequences. I have finished it in less than a week! A new record! But now I have to go back through and correct a lot of things so I probably won't have it up until sometimes next week hopefully. I'm still missing some of the Child's Drawings, Serums, and Photos at this point.

This is the first time I have ever had my own guide handy while going back through the game for a second playthrough, so hopefully this one will read very well! I am sort of forced into doing this since I didn't think the first time enemy strategies were that great. I've inserted more humor than normal but still didn't go overboard because I don't like it myself when guides do that.

Anyway, expect a guide with detailed combat explanations, enemy attack lists, dialogue choice lists and many other extra portions in the weeks to come. It should be like my Silent Hill Origins guide - I'm actually using it as a template. I probably won't do a game script this time. My VCR is broke... and sort of jammed too really... hasn't been used in a long time. Haha.

But anyway, yeah, I beat Homecoming yesterday and I'm quite surprised with how good the game was. There are a few areas that I didn't like, such as the boring Otherworld Hell Descent and the super aggressive enemies on the streets that I have difficulty running from, among a few other things, but overall, it's a real good addition to the Silent Hill franchise I think. It's interesting how they have managed to blend in elements from the movie with the game and not go overboard like I expected them to. Pyramid Head wasn't overused and the movie Nurses and other enemies seem to match the game well. Combat is pretty good too, but when trying to dodge, it's sort of hard to tell when an enemy is going to attack sometimes. They don't always give off a smooth warning signs before an attack. The Feral is a perfect example of this. I'm having problems going over his moves in the guide.