Monday 2 November 2009

The Worst Games I Ever Played

A bit of a late Halloween present for you this week, E14ies. This week's "Worst game I ever played" has an element of the terrifying to it, but not, I suspect, in the way you'd expect.

Alone in the Dark
First, a caveat: This is NOT a rant on the original Alone in the Dark game, first released on home computers in 1992. That game is a classic, and has paved the way for some of the greatest horror games in recent memory to be released, from Silent Hill all the way to the Resident Evilseries. On top of that, it's based heavily on the works of H.P Lovecraft, and generally most games that are influenced by his works turn out to be pretty damn good. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, I'm looking in your direction.

Anyway, this edition of the game was released in 2008, and was met with mixed response and worldly scepticism. The skeptics, it has to be said, were largely basing their criticism on the possibility that the game would be in any way tied to the Uwe Boll movie of the same name. Of course, those same skeptics would probably either not be entirely aware of the original game in the first place or completely enamoured with it, in which case anything deviating from the old formula would be seen as a sacrilege.

Now to the principal reason it makes its way to the E14 Worst Games I Ever Played list. This game was released in 2008, after a lengthy development cycle, and still managed to be shit. This happened for many reasons, most of them to do with gameplay mechanics. One other reason, but that's to follow later.

I wanted so much to like this game, E14ies. The presentation started off well. The game is divided into DVD-style episodes, so that you can start from anywhere. However, if the voice-over said "Previously on Alone in the Dark, you got severely pissed off and stopped playing after about an hour because of the stupid controls and stupider AI", it'd be significantly more accurate.

From the off, everything about this game is fiddly. One of the main selling points of this game during development was the idea that your inventory was only confined to what you could carry in your jacket. This was, admittedly, a nice idea, and certainly a welcome change from the seemingly endless amounts of stuff a character can carry in most action games. However, you spent most of the time rooting through your inventory when you should have been, oh I don't know, fighting off monsters or something. Plus it makes you look like a flasher, which to be honest is not cool or endorsed by Emotionally Fourteen.

Then when you get as far as enemies, the game demonstrates its crapness yet again, in that the combat is clunky and wild. Oh, and there's not much point having a gun, because the only way to kill enemies permanently is with fire. They still give you a gun at the beginning though, as a simple reminder of how much they suck and hate you.

As if all that wasn't enough, the game killed me a number of times for no apparent reason. I was walking through the car park level a few levels in, the screen would go funny and then I'd just drop down dead. One of the most frightening things about this game isn't anything the creature designers could even fathom, technical errors.

Alone In The Dark: It cost me thirty-five pounds to buy it, and I got fifteen back on the trade in. Sometimes you have to take a hit to appreciate a lucky escape.

Infernal: Will I get an article like this?
Rob: Probably not, I reviewed you; everyone knows you're shit.
Infernal: What do you mean I'm shit?
Infernal: Ah ha ha ha ha...Good times.

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