Very “Children Of The Corn”*****
BASED ON DEMO
This one is very good. A classic in the making, it is different and it is scary. Not in the flash ways some games are, but in a down to earth, dead in the dust kind of way. From the introductory cut scenes, which at first seem a bit rough, the game has a style all its own. Well, among games. There is at least one movie like it – the creepiest movie I’ve ever seen!
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The opening scenes are indeed very reminiscent of “Children Of The Corn”, an intense horror/thriller, that forever transformed innocent corn fields into places of ritual terror – at least for me. This game could be located in the same town! It is so eerie, broad daylight, with the sun baking down on the fields, yet it feels so lonely and dangerous. The graphics are brutally accurate, but with such style, I even find myself admiring the rust.
The actors are well integrated into scenes, and all speak well, but the lip sync is much better for some than others. The old lady is particularly difficult to watch. Eerie sounds compound the general tension and anxious anticipation. It seems, in every minute, that something bad is coming. The music is a little too repetitive, but fits the mood perfectly. Special effects add shock value.
Though I enjoyed them, the many cut scenes cannot be entirely skipped, which I know will bother some people.
We open with a view of being trapped in a corn field, desperately trying to escape, and finding new horrors at every turn. Then we are startled awake to find ourselves on a bus which is in fact passing through corn fields. Which start showing eerie déjà vu images of your nightmare. Then, oh no! The bus driver loses control, and we crash, finding ourselves stranded, and the bus driver badly injured, in a ditch, a couple of miles from a motel.
We traipse off to find help for the bus driver, and come to a very sinister looking motel with a very unhelpful owner. We see another vehicle driven off the road. We rescue the passengers, and there’s another car whose driver needs help! This deserted town and its motel are in for a drastic increase in the population! But what are we all doing here? And who is the girl on the roof? And in the mirror?
I like the quirky gameplay. The HOPs are progressive word lists, where you are given several actions to complete as well as items to find. It is a ‘find and use’ system. There are 2 HOPs in the demo, and entry into them is very different from the norm. In the first, a photograph draws us into the scene it depicts, and in the second, we are drawn into a ghostly TV. I like that these HOPs are also telling us the back story, giving them a relevance to even those who prefer the puzzles.
We collect photo shots of these scenes as part of our album, and once completed, become replayable HOPs in the extras section. Mini-games too. The photo album, records the story just like a journal, though it does so with snapshots and photos of the HOPs which act as visual reminders of the story as it progresses. Even the interactive jump map has a pile of photos that are shuffled through to the relevant one for teleporting.
There are not a lot of puzzles, and I must admit I skipped some of those, but they weren’t excessively hard, just a bit tougher than my patience allowed today. A lot of the game is pursuing single goals with dedication, like getting help for the bus driver, and making up a healing potion. There are 3 levels of difficulty, plus a custom mode. Hint is directional.
CE extras in this game are so well presented, I am buying the CE on that reason alone (not that it isn’t CE-worthy anyway). They are all accessed via the motel Gift Shop. Inside, we find other mini-games to play, including a jigsaw, and dress-up the scarecrow, and one I’m not sure of. You need to have money to play these games, so you must gather the 34 collectible $1 bills. The usual gallery items, wallpapers, concept art, music are accessed through a door at the back of the store, and again, are presented in a unique way. I loved it! The Strategy Guide is in the journal/photo album, and is perhaps the best I’ve seen.
This game, for me, is easily as creepy as True Fear or Shiver games, perhaps only because it reminds me of one of the few movies ever to totally freak me out. Perhaps the production values are not quite of the same calibre as these other excellent games, but then, it’s not all about the flash, especially in the case of the dark and eerie games. This one is professional, original and startling at times. Works for me!
I recommend this game!