Today I want to review a video-game. Because the horror genre is transversal to any mean of communication and even a PC game can be a source of truly addictive experiences!
I’m a video game player.
From an early age, when PCs were still sunning with MS-DOS.
Anyway, in this post I will talk about a video game that literally made me jump on the chair for fear!
Title developed in 2006 by the Argentine software house Nucleosys with a very low budget. Available in 2007 in Director’s Cut version, which includes an unpublished chapter and higher resolution images compared to the first edition.
Michael Arthade is a horror book writer who has to deal with lack of inspiration. For this reason, helped by his real estate agent Jerry Carter, he moves to Blackwood Manor, a Victorian House in the English countryside of Rothbury.
Within those walls, a heinous murder has been committed which pushes the protagonist to look for clues in every room of the mansion. Soon it becomes clear that many secrets are hidden in those places, and, perhaps, even a terrible legacy.
Michael Arthade will try to bring to light the terrible secrets of Blackwood family, risking his sanity and maybe, even his own soul.
This video game immediately presents as the classic point-and-click exploration adventure.
The controls are intuitive and extremely simple: the cursor is represented by a hand with which we interact in the scenario by pressing the left button of the mouse, while, with the right button, we can recall an inventory in which we can consult notes and use objects.
The simplicity of the mechanics allows you to fully enjoy the well-written and addictive plot, without being distracted by too complex controls.
You can move quite freely in the spaces of the house, exploring practically all the areas, both external and internal, through the resolution of enigmas resulting from the notes of the former owners.
The puzzles are set according to a logical-deductive scheme that can be tackled without too much difficulty even by less experienced players. The only moment when I had real difficulties was in locating a specific point in the garden of the manor.
The game is in first-person view and can be rotates 360°, with a simil-3Dimensional effect obtained by applying the images on the internal surface of a virtual sphere.
Originally, the images were at 800×600 resolution; with the release of the Director’s Cut the resolution has been improved.
The soundtrack, composed by the Cellar of Rats (except for the song Scratches Theme, which was composed by Daniel Cordes) is well balanced and fits perfectly with the tone of the narration. The sound effects emphasize the adventure experience and the dubbing is of excellent quality.
MY FINAL RATING…
I have read many online reviews of this title and I was very disappointed to see that few have taken into account the real strong point of the game: a coherent, linear and effective plot, where there are plenty of turns of events. Anyone who has been playing videogames for a long time knows how difficult it is to find a well-told story!
According to my experience, it is a title that can be undoubtedly appreciated by old-fashioned horror readers.
Especially by the readers of H. P. Lovecraft.
There are many references to the author; Michael Arthade moved there from Providence, one of his critics is called R’yleh and the Necronomicon is also mentioned.
Furthermore, the atmospheres recall exotic journeys to distant lands, where the old landlord, James T. Blackwood, has encountered mysterious customs and ancestral legends that have irreparably marked his future.
I would recommend it as one of the most representative titles of the horror genre: it is one of the few video-game that literally kept me glued to the monitor.
A Little Spoiler:
The furnace scene, or that of the ritual mask room, really made me jump out of my chair!
If you’ve played it, you know what I’m talking about…
by Alice Colombo
Images from web.