What IS this?

I mean, there’s old school, and then there are games that make you check your calendar to be sure you didn’t just wake up from a nightmare and it’s still 1996. Well, I regret to inform you that the last 25 years were real after all; but then so is this game, so I guess there’s a silver lining.

Yeah, they really manage to tick all the classic survival horror boxes.

Is that you, Rebecca?

You’ve got the limited ammo. Limited weapons. Limited healing–no herbalism necessary. Limited saves. (Can you kids believe we used to live like this?) Tank-like controls. Strange keys, strange emblems and an overabundance of locked doors.

Best of all, they also bring back the dialogue, which elevated the original Resident Evil into a legendary work of campy genius, possibly the funniest game ever made. Maybe they never quite reach Jill-sandwich levels of sublimity here, but it’s so awkward that it makes you think they’ve got to be doing it on purpose. At least I hope they are.

That’s what I was going to say!

“What’s going on here?” you ask. “I can’t figure it out at all.”

Eh, you know. Some weird cult doing weird cult things. That’s pretty much the story.

I think these games really distinguish themselves more by their overall atmosphere than by the details of their silly plots, which are mostly just an excuse to drop you someplace where you can solve puzzles and shoot at monsters. In this case, the vibe is right in between Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

It’s got the same sort of experiments-gone-wrong theme as Resident evil, though with a darker edge. The monsters themselves are much more gross and twisted, yet despite the paranormal elements it never really crosses the line into full-on scary like Silent Hill did.

I hope this is not Chris’s blood

The setting is the real star of the show, though. Wow, what a mansion! The rooms look great, with plenty of variety ranging from beautiful to disgusting to even more disgusting. In terms of physical layout, shortcuts etc. it’s pretty well organized, which is important when there’s this much backtracking, although the zones are similar enough that sometimes it can be hard to remember which room was where.

Stop! Don’t open that door!

Like I said, there are plenty of locked doors and your primary job is looking around for ways to open them all. A true Master of Unlocking probably won’t even break a sweat, but for the rest of us the puzzles may be a bit on the tough side.

Some of them, especially the ones that involve traveling through time or to other dimensions or whatever, are really creative, but some of their clues for deciphering various codes are lacking in common sense and can be pretty obtuse to put it mildly; and if you don’t see what they’re getting it, well, then you’re stuck. So a little hit and miss there.

You’re here too??

That brings us to your secondary job, which is clearing out enough monsters so you can get the next door. For some reason instead of normal guns they give you this bizarre array of improvised weapons, which are really powerful, especially against living things! The enemies are creepy looking but as long as you’re careful with your ammo they never seem to pose much of a threat. Sometimes your deadliest enemy turns out to be the camera, which always wants to point in the wrong direction at the worst possible moments.

They’ve made a few concessions to modernity, like a dodge button, auto-aim and easing up on the inventory management, but otherwise the combat feels exactly as clunky as you remember from back in the day.

Whoa! This hall is dangerous!

Look, why am I even still talking about this? It’s Resident Evil, ok? You know what that means, so for God’s sake play it and enjoy, already!

I’ll just go and get some fresh air and be eaten by a monster.

Developer: Dual Effect, Abstract Digital

Publisher: PQube Limited

Purchased on: Steam

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