In 1993, gaming was forever changed when id Software released Doom, the FPS game that put players in the helmet of a space marine, who would affectionately become known as “Doomguy”, as he faced the monstrosities of Hell. In 1995, it was estimated that the game was installed on more computers than Windows 95, prompting Microsoft to hire the company to port the game to their operating system. To say that the game was a phenomenon of the highest degree is an understatement. Few games can be said to have revolutionized the industry and Doom certainly reigns among the supreme examples.
The game was created, in part, by John Romero, who today announced that he will be releasing a new title by the name of Sigil. A megawad – a fan-made add-on that features new elements for a game, such as weapons, levels, texture packs, and/or other goodies – that acts as the spiritual successor to Doom‘s fourth episode, “They Flesh is Consumed”, which appeared on Ultimate Doom, Sigil requires that players own the original 1993 registered version of the game in order to play. How that’s going to affect things remains to be seen. However, since the original Doom was one of the most pirated games of all time, I wouldn’t be surprised if this element presents little challenge to the determined. (Editor’s note: buy the freakin’ game legitimately and help support the people who make the shit you love!)
Romero says the game will be released in mid-February of 2019 and has also released a trailer that reveals the music is composed by legendary guitarist Buckethead, who wrote an original piece for the game, although the music will only be available to those who buy one of two limited edition fan boxes. The trailer also plays some of the music and reveals gameplay footage, which looks like not a single day has passed. It’s the same HUD, the same textures, the same monsters, the same “3D” sprites that are really just 2D images that spin with you, and the same pixelated charm that caused mass controversies, which now just seems silly in hindsight.
Sigil‘s limited edition fan boxes can be ordered through Limited Run Games in both standard and Beast Box configurations.
After years of anticipation, the remake of Resident Evil 2 is finally set to be released next month, and to say we’re excited is something of an understatement. Capcom seem to be aware of the hype surrounding their game, because they have released yet another batch of short gameplay snippets to give us a tease of what to expect. Whilst most of these clips are only a few seconds long, they still make us desperate to head back to Racoon City.
In addition to giving us a look at popular character Ada Wong, the brief videos also showcase elements which have been staples of the Resident Evil series since day once, including typewriters and terrifying zombie dogs. Have a look at the clips below and let us know in the comments which is your favorite.
In addition to the short clips, we also recently reported on an extended gameplay video showing Claire Redfield being menaced by Lickers, creatures named after their enormous tongues. This footage also displayed Claire taking out a bunch of zombies, and the results reaffirm our belief that Resident Evil 2 will be the goriest game in the entire franchise. This was because we learned that the zombies will react differently depending on which body part you shoot. For instance, a shot to the knee will cause it to limp, and, naturally, scoring a headshot will make it go down permanently.
You might want to save up any money your friends and relatives give you for Christmas, because Resident Evil 2 will be released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25.
While presenting the award for Best Sports/Racing Game at last night’s Game Awards ceremony, Ed Boon also introduced the first trailer for Mortal Kombat 11, the latest installment in the successful fighting franchise. Boon’s company NetherRealm Studios will once again be handling development, with Warner Bros set to publish the game on April 23, 2019. That’s just five months away, so we don’t have long to wait before we can unleash brutal Fatalities on our foes.
Mortal Kombat 11 will be availalbe on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, and those who pre-order will have access to Shao Kahn as a playable character. No gameplay footage was shown in the trailer, although we do know that the game will feature both a new graphics engine and a custom character variation system. The cinematic story mode will also be making a comeback, so we can look forward to some epic storytelling alongside the pools of gore. And whilst the full roster of fighters has yet to be revealed, the trailer’s description promised it will feature ‘new and returning Klassic Fighters’, meaning that all our favorites should be coming back.
If you’d like to get in on the blood-drenched action, Mortal Kombat 11 is now availalbe to pre-order in both standard and premium editions. And if you were wondering, the song featured in the trailer below is ‘Immortal’ by the rapper 21 Savage.
It’s strange with how few straight Lovecraft video games are out there. The man is a legend. His stories have spawned an endless tide of “inspired by” adaptations, non-canon continuations, and well-intentioned knockoffs. If your story has any kind of sea monster or sanity draining abomination, be ready to be labeled, “Lovecraftian.” The moniker has become so popular with my generation (bullshit millennials) that you can practically interchange “Lovecraftian” with the word “spooky.” It’s not that the man didn’t earn the adulation. It would be hard to imagine the modern horror landscape without the likes of Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and Dagon.
Now if you’re raising an eyebrow at that previous paragraph, I’m talking about games based on actual Lovecraft stories, not just things labeled Lovecraftian. We’ve got Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Eldritch, Cornarium, Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, and a number of older point-and-click adventure games that no one remembers. I have no idea why; it seems that any game just bearing a Cthulhu title would be launched into success by name alone. Perhaps this is the work of a far greater force, something more insidious and malignant than any creature living or dead: licensing restrictions.
On the other hand, maybe it’s because Lovecraft stories are just a bitch to adapt. As much as I love undying horrors from beyond the far reaches of the cosmos, there’s only so many ways you can say, “I saw something super duper scary, and it broke my brain.” Even the most faithful and direct Lovecraft adaptations use the source material more as a springboard to launch into a more detailed story. Cult favorite Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth takes a lot of creative liberty in stitching like, four different stories together. Which leads us into Call of Cthulhu.
Honestly, just leaving your derelict ships beached on your shores, awash in the ominous glow of a distant lighthouse? Do you WANT fishmen? Because this is how you get fishmen.
Call of Cthulhu, the 2018 video game, is an adaptation of Call of Cthulhu, a pen-and-paper RPG created by Chaosium. Call of Cthulhu (2018) is not related to Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. None of them are direct adaptations of “The Call of Cthulhu,” a short story about a guy who finds a spooky statue. The “Cthulhu-verse” is where all this takes place, although Cthulhu himself hardly ever shows up. Okay… I think I get why there aren’t more direct adaptations.
I’m going to assume you’re unaware of the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu pen-and-paper RPG. I’ve only ever even met four other people that have heard of it, and all of them were in my playgroup. It’s super fun and I’d highly recommend it, but it’s certainly not Pathfinder levels of popular. It has plenty of mechanical flaws but makes up for them with the limitless possibilities and unbridled creativity the medium of pen-and-paper offers. Fortunately, your ignorance isn’t going to heavily hamper you, as the people at Cyanide Studios seem to have also forgotten about it.
Doing away with all of the breadth and creativity the pen-and-paper world offers, Call of Cthulhu is a linear adventure game. All that remains of the system that inspired it are seven skills that you can improve up to five times each. These skills act as gateways to certain dialogue options or puzzle solutions. If your strength is high enough, then you can just muscle your way through some puzzles. If your investigation skills are high enough, you can pick locks instead of hunt for the key. If your occult is high enough, you can speak fish. Cool.
“Hey kid, you wana learn fishpeak?”
You play as Private Investigator Edward Pierce, a WW1 vet with a drinking problem and a troubled past. After a fitful dream rousts you from your mid-afternoon booze-nap, a mysterious stranger arrives at your office with a job to investigate the Hawkin’s family estate. Off you go to the ominously named Darkwater Island. Once there you will point, click, and dialogue tree your way through that one Cthulhu story we have all come to expect.
Ha HA! I’ve got you eldritch horrors! You can’t break my mind if I break it first!
Now, none of this sounds bad so far. I’m certainly not about to shit on a Cthulhu story for being a Cthulhu story. As soon as you saw Cthulhu in the title, the betting odds were on fishmen, cults, glowing symbols, and a hefty dose of wobbly camera distortion. I’m fine with standard Cthulhu. As long as it’s told well, give me all the wall-eyed fish people you can muster. It’s in the execution that Call of Cthulhuultimately fails.
Storywise, the pacing really screws the pooch. You very quickly sense that something is off in the world of Darkwater, but the game lacks the length or depth to allow that foreboding sense to naturally grow. The game is only like seven hours long, and by the end of the first level, you’ll have glimpsed your first painting of a fishman. By level five, you’re already locked in an asylum after coming face-to-face with a creature of the deep. It all just happens so fast, you have no chance to let the feeling of dread and mystery build. You’ll learn about, discover the location of, and acquire the fucking Necronomicon all in the same investigation of a derelict bookstore.
Cthulhu flies in the skyyyyy. Your whole world will dieeeee! Just take a look, it’s in this book, the reading brain blowwwwww.
Side characters suffer from the same lack of development. The cast is pretty standard, consisting of a mad scientist, crime boss femme fatale, tortured artist with evil premonitions, an insane scholar, and a fish person. Okay, so not “standard” standard, but certainly what we expect from a Cthulhu story. Once again, the major issue is that none of the characters get enough screen time to really give a shit if they survive.
Seriously, detective no-eyes here is a pivotal character
It’s a big problem when a Cthulhu story doesn’t grab you, but all of this could be forgiven if the game was fun to play. Unfortunately, the gameplay suffers from the same lack of pacing. Fundamentally, Call of Cthulhu is a point-and-click adventure in 3D. You’ll investigate crime scenes, amble about towns, and stumble your way through conversation trees in an attempt to suss out all the eldritch secrets your mind can fathom. There are also a few stealth sequences and one abysmal “gunplay” section that boils down to “click mouse to kill zombie.”
Once again, I’m not going to shit on an adventure game for being an adventure game. You’re a detective, so I expect most of the gameplay would revolve around your detective stuff. The big issue is that none of the skills feel meaningful. Aside from unlocking certain dialogue/puzzle options, there’s no benefit to upping your skills. If you go for better lockpicking, you’ll be able to pick better locks. If you pick higher strength, you’ll be able to shoulder bash more locks. If you pick higher dialogue skills, you’ll be able to convince people to open the door for you. Three different skills, all the same conclusion.
If you look very closely, it kind of looks like he’s pooping.
None of this is helped by the fact that none of the puzzles are particularly difficult or intriguing. Even without the beneficial skill checks, I didn’t once have to look up a guide or bust out my thinking cap. One particularly egregious action sequence had me smashing open different display cases trying to find which dagger was the magic monster killing dagger. There was no thought involved, just trial and error until I picked the dagger with the special blue marks on it.
God, you don’t just KNOW that the bone dagger is the only one that can kill the dimensional shambler spawned forth from the nightmare painting of a cursed oracle? You absolute scrublord.
Now I’m getting pretty down on the game, but I don’t feel like Call of Cthulhu is all a wash. The core story is pretty great, with enough spooky eldritch depth to feel like a true Cthulhu story. If the game just gave itself some more time to tell it all, it could be something really special. There are also a number of fantastic set-piece moments, where the line between what is real and what is imagined blur to a point worthy of the Lovecraft name. For fans of the mythos, it will be fun just for that alone.
I have to also acknowledge that much of my opinion is contingent on the $60 price tag. For a game this short and mechanically limited, it’s absolutely absurd to be charging full price. If this were a $20 fan game, I could easily see this making its way onto some Game of the Year lists. As a $60 title, I cannot imagine buying this and not being disappointed.
Ultimately, Call of Cthulhu is a cool idea that just doesn’t deliver. Building a game off of the Chaosium system is a monumental task, so I can see why they slimmed it down. But the amount of fat that they trimmed also cut away all of the meat. Call of Cthulhu is anemic, too short and contained to properly elaborate on either the story or mechanics. There are some great moments, and I would highly recommend it as a discount buy during a sale. As a full priced game, there’s no way I could recommend it to all but the most diehard fans.
The recent release of the PlayStation Classic had many gamers rejoicing that they would be able to play some of their favorite games from one of their favorite consoles. With titles like Final Fantasy VII, Wild Arms, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil: Director’s Cut, Twisted Metal, and more, it seemed like a phenomenal deal. After all, for $100, you’re getting 20 games, a console, and a controller (although the USB cable is conspicuously missing…). But some determined sleuths have dug deep into the console to learn a bit more about what goes on behind the memorable shell…and what they’ve found is rather surprising and disappointing.
First off, it should be understood that it’s been figured out that the PlayStation Classic runs on PCSX, which is an Open Source PlayStation emulator. While this may be seen as surprising, it’s actually not necessarily a negative, as Game Revolution points out. Rather, it acknowledges that a fan-made system can take older software and modify it for current generations in better, and more applicable, ways. Basically, it’s totally fine and no one should be upset.
With that information in hand, we can now talk about the source code of the PlayStation Classic, which has been released online after review copies were inspected within and without. In it, people found an entirely different list of games that were tested as potential candidates for appearing on the console, including titles like Silent Hill, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Parasite Eve, Medievil, and much more.
While these titles were tested, these should not be seen as unlocked content that will be available at a later date for a price, like many DLCs are. It’s unfortunate that we know that some of the greatest horror games for the PS1 were nearly put on the new console and we can only hope that one day there will be a way to get official re-releases.
To celebrate the release of Darksiders III, we decided to talk to composer Cris Velasco, to get an understanding of the process behind creating the score for the third installment in the dark fantasy trilogy. Velasco’s previous credits include Prototype, ZombiU, Bloodborne, and The Long Dark, so horror gamers will already be familiar with his work. If you’d like like to listen to some samples of his epic Darksiders III theme, you can do so here and here, and you can also keep track of his future projects on his official website.
Darksiders III was developed by Gunfire Games and published by THQ Nordic, and is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Read on for our interview.
Dread Central: You composed the music for the original Darksiders, so you’ve been part of the franchise since day one. How did it feel to return to the series, and how did you approach creating a score for a universe you have been invested in for a long time?
Cris Velasco: I wasn’t exactly there from day one. I was one of the composers called in to help rewrite some of the score on the original Darksiders. It was a really fun experience though, and I’d always hoped to come back to the franchise. I did feel like Darksiders III needed a bit of an updated sound from what I’d done before. There’s a pretty consistent mix of orchestra and electronics in this one. Heavier on the orchestra side for sure, but just enough synths and bass lines to complement them well and give it a more modern take. The guys at Gunfire were also so great to work with. Revisiting the franchise and even working with some of the same people from the first game turned out to be some of the most fun I’ve had on a game so far.
DC: Darksiders III will introduce Fury, a brand new protagonist. Did you try to create music to represent her personality and traits?
CV: Kenneth Bassham (audio director) and I discussed Fury’s theme for a long time before I started writing it. We both knew that we didn’t want to try to play up her sexuality in any way; we didn’t want the music to turn her into a cliché. Instead, we wanted to make her a complete badass with the music! There’s definitely feminine qualities to her music, but never in a gentle or sweet way. We absolutely tried to represent her as the embodiment of Fury, and you really don’t want to mess with her!
DC: Despite being full of fantastical elements, the world of Darksiders is pretty grim. How do you go about mixing these two elements to create the perfect Darksiders score?
CV: The fantasy elements are easier to do. Not easier to write by any means, but it’s a sound we are all familiar with. It’s also something I’ve done many times. But when you throw in a combination of low woodwinds (bass clarinet and contra bassoon), a distorted guitarviol, and some dystopic pads, it adds that grim layer. I really enjoyed composing for the moments where there’s no combat. I’d just take inspiration from this burnt out world and try to imagine what the soundscape might be. Words like “ruin” and “decay” would come to mind. It can be hard to assign a sound to something that doesn’t actually have one. But there’s a musical allegory to be found in them when you tinker with it long enough.
DC: I understand you worked with a 72-piece live orchestra and 60-person choir? That must have been quite an experience.
CV: For a composer, there’s nothing in the whole world as cool as hearing your own music performed live! My business partner, Jose Varon, and I traveled to the Czech Republic together to be there for the recording. I absolutely hate doing live sessions over the internet. Especially if it’s multiple days of recording. So we did a bit of traveling, which I always love anyways. Jose was my score supervisor on this one. He was basically a second pair of ears to make sure we’re getting a score that’s as true to my vision as possible. It’s so crucial to me to have this sort of support during a session. It’s nearly impossible for me to listen to the musicality + intonation + rhythm + dynamics, etc. all at the same time. You need a team of well-trained ears to make sure we come home with a beautiful score.
DC: And you were also given the opportunity to work with musicians you’ve long admired?
CV: Yes! I hired Azam Ali and Loga Torkian to be featured soloists on the whole soundtrack. They’re best known for their work in the band, Niyaz. I’ve been such a huge fan of their work for many years, and always hoped I’d be able to work with them someday. Azam, a vocalist, is basically the musical representation of Fury. Loga performs on many different stringed instruments and gives a lot of the score a slightly ethnic vibe. Even better than getting to work with both of them though, is that I’ve become such good friends with them. As much as I look forward to collaborating with them again, I’m even more excited to spend an evening at their house, drinking all their wine into the late night.
DC: Did you have a clear idea from the start of how you wanted the music to sound, or was it a gradual process?
CV: It was a gradual process. I will say though that the very first tracks I did were fairly close in style to the remainder. So we did actually have a decent road map starting out. One surprise for me was just how many themes and melodies we had. There are more character themes in this score than any other I’ve written. Some are well hidden too. Just little hints here and there, almost foreshadowing what’s to come. Nothing so overt that they’d become spoilers though. More like musical Easter eggs you might find during a second playthrough.
DC: Do you think this will be the best Darksiders game yet?
CV: Of course! Besides having a strong female protagonist, the Seven Deadly Sins as the main boss fights is just such a cool idea. I really can’t wait to play this.
DC: You also composed the score for Hellraiser: The Toll, a novella collaboration between Mark Miller and Clive Barker based in the Hellraiser universe. Can you talk about this experience?
CV: I’ve said many times how important Clive Barker has been to me creatively and personally. So any time I get to write for something that falls within his reach, I’m all over it. Hellraiser 1 and 2 were probably the first experiences I had with Clive’s genius too. Mark Miller, VP of Seraphim Films and all around awesome dude, is also an incredible writer. He penned this novella, The Toll, based around Pinhead and the Hellraiser IP. Mark and I were having lunch recently and he told me that The Toll was getting the audio book treatment. When he asked if I’d be interested in writing a new theme for the book, I absolutely jumped at the chance. 15 year old me would never believe that I’d get a small role to play within the Hellraiser universe!
Dinosaurs will be prowling the forests of British Columbia in the upcoming game Oakwood, which launches next month on Steam. Developed by Breaking Dimensions in collaboration with Polygon Dust, the survival horror game will differ from most stories featuring dinosaurs in a modern setting in that it will clearly focus on tension and suspense over action set pieces, with the player initially being equipped with only a flashlight, hardly an effective weapon against giant hungry reptiles. Seeing as you won’t be able to fight the dinosaurs, stealth will be your best friend if you don’t want to get eaten.
There’s pretty much no question that Valve’s 1998 FPS game Half-Life is one of the greatest titles ever released. A masterful blend of storytelling, action, adventure, and game changing mechanics, it was a revolution whose impacts are still being felt to this day. So it’s no surprise that a group of fans are rebuilding the game from the ground up so that its visuals match its timeless gameplay.
Dubbed Black Mesa, the fan-made reimagining features, “all-new soundtrack, voice acting, choreography and dialogue” that is built upon, “new visuals, new voice over, updated gameplay encounters, stability changes and more.” Already released on Steam as an Early Access title, the game’s climactic final chapter that takes place on the alien planet of Xen hasn’t been a part of Black Mesa but has been promised when ready. Now, the first look at what that world will look like has been released in the above trailer, which showcases Xen in ways that have never before been seen.
The planned release date is the second quarter of 2019, so it’s still a little ways off. But for those who have been playing Half-Life since it came out, a few months will pass by in a flash.
It can be argued that Resident Evil 2 is the best game in the long-running Capcom franchise. Sure there are those who stand by the first game, which basically helped launch the “survival horror” genre, or the fourth game, which revitalized and re-energized the series, taking it in a new and bold direction. But something about the second game really did it for me. It terrified me more than its predecessor and certainly had a stronger impact than Resident Evil 4, at least in shaping my love of horror gaming and all that the genre had to offer.
All of this is simply to say that I am beyond excited for the upcoming HD remake of Resident Evil 2, which will be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25, 2019. And today, a new video has made its way online via PlayStation Underground, which takes players through approximately 15 minutes of gameplay with Claire Redfield, Sherry Birkin, and Chief Brian Irons. However, the real star of the video is infamous Licker, one of the franchise’s most iconic and recurring villains. In the above clip, you’ll see the Lickers movie around at blisteringly fast speeds and also see the catastrophic damage they can cause.
Additionally, there’s a bit that shows the mechanics that go into shooting zombies and how it will affect them, depending on where the bullet hits. For example, if you shoot a zombie in the knee, they will shamble differently than if you shoot them in the chest. It’s all a great peek into a game that will probably (hopefully) be just as great as the original Resident Evil HD remake was.
As someone who hasn’t played a whole lot of point and click adventure games, I have to say that The Wardrobe certainly made me want to play more. I even wanted to play through it again after I reached the end credits, which should tell you how strongly The Wardrobe represents the genre as a whole.
From an aesthetic standpoint, The Wardrobe was a truly beautiful game in every sense of the word. One of the key elements which drew me to playing it in the first place was the gorgeous hand drawn animation, which is presented in glorious HD. Replicating the style of old school 2D animation with a slick and modern twist, you will quickly discover that each individual frame on display tells its own story, and it’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll find yourself staring at the screen for extended periods to try to uncover any hidden details within the lush and detailed environments. Even if point and click games aren’t really your thing, The Wardrobe still has a great deal to offer in the visual department.
After a brief intro, in which we learn that a young boy named Skinny died after eating a plum whist out on a picnic with his best friend Ronald, we are instantly transported to five years later, where Skinny, who was reduced to a skeleton, has been secretly living in Ronald’s wardrobe as a kind of guardian angel. Once that’s over, you’ll probably be relieved to learn that the gameplay mechanics are simple and easy to learn, so even those who aren’t terribly familiar with the point and click genre will instantly get stuck in and find themselves having a good time, even though the story itself isn’t particularly on the lengthy side.
Despite Skinny’s skeletal appearance, he can freely move around the world of the living on account of most of the story taking place on Halloween night, with people assuming he’s wearing a costume, so you don’t need to worry about having to stick to the shadows.
Having said that, however, some of the tasks you’ll need to perform will no doubt leave to scratching your head, so don’t expect to reach the end credits without looking at an online tutorial or two. For instance, I would never have guessed that you need to use a blow torch on the bedpost to gain access to the metal screw inside, which you’ll then need to use to cure the toothache of the alligator in the sewer. The game itself gives to player very few hints about what they should do, so if you become stuck (and you will, believe me), then online tutorials are the way to go. Whilst some players will probably be frustrated by the fact that The Wardrobe does not hold your hand and tell you exactly what you need to do, but I was actually relieved to finally play something which left me to figure things out on my own. That way, when I did eventually progress, I felt a real sense of achievement, because it seemed as though I’d earned the right to move forward on my own rather than being guided to take baby steps in the right direction. And when I finally got to the end, well, let’s just say that I can’t remember the last time a video game made me cry, but The Wardrobe came pretty damn close.
As this review has already stated, The Wardrobe was not incredibly long, but at the same time, the story was so humorous and engaging that it was still more than worth it’s asking price, which is in no small part due to the cast of colorful and bizarre characters you’ll meet throughout your journey. You’ll encounter a flamboyant zombie, a talking bear rug, a guitar playing dragon, a literal dusk monster, an alien DJ, the ghost of a kind old lady, and even Jesus Christ himself, each with their own unique quirks and idiosyncrasies. If you’re a media junkie, you might also be amused by the fact that the writers crammed in a ton of humorous popular culture references, poking fun at everything from Star Wars to Angry Birds
The voice acting was also some of the best I’ve heard so far this year, with Skinny’s witty and sarcastic vocalization making me laugh so hard I even needed to pause the game at times. All the other performers did fine jobs too, bringing each of their characters to life in their own unique way. The talking bear rug, for instance, sounds exactly like you would expect a talking bear rug to sound, with his delivery bound to leave you in stitches (no pun intended).
Although it clearly didn’t have a AAA budget, the level of care and dedication which clearly went into the development of The Wardrobe deserves to be commended. C.I.N.I.C. Games have created what might just be one of the best point and click titles of the year, and whilst bigger releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 will no doubt generate more revenue and publicity, gamers looking to experience less mainstream fare will do well to open their wardrobe doors to this unique adventure.