The Best Games You Haven’t Played Part 2: Survival Horror

Posted: December 9, 2010 by ryanlecocq in Features

This is Frank Poole, have successfully made an EV landing on Saturn in nothing but my suit.  Area is hostile, good thing the only thing I grabbed from Discovery was my rivet gun.

My second favorite genre is survival-horror.  It all started for me with Resident Evil on the Sega Saturn, followed by SIlent Hill on PS1.  While most fans have played these games and their sequels and even the second tier games like Fatal Frame and Dino Crisis, here are a few you might have missed.

Blue Stinger

This picture not to scale, that guy behind him is actually 2 feet tall and an asteroid that big would actually kill us all.

Blue Stinger isn’t exactly a survival-horror game per se, as you have plenty of weapons and should never be frightened.  It’s more like old RE than anything else though, so it fits.  This game is a little ridiculous and features some pretty laughable plot and voice acting.  What it also has though is a napalm gun and an electrified baton.  Also an acid gun, sumo-wrestling t-shirt (that lets you sumo wrestle of course) and a lightsaber.  You use these weapons to disfigure and murderize the mutants that have been created by secret research into an ancient asteroid.  In fact the only thing in this game that matters is killing monsters with crazy weapons.  Even though the rest of the game is laughable, switching between the two characters, each with their own arsenal is somehow enough fun to keep you playing.  Once again this is a Dreamcast game and requires that system to play.

The Thing

“Hey Jenkins, uhh not to alarm you, but there’s a guy running next to you with a tentacle arm.”

Yes this game is based on the classic John Carpenter film from 1982.  Why haven’t you played it?  I don’t know, what’s wrong with you?  Following the rescue team that responds to the distress call several days late, after McReady and Childs have already blown the base.  The first areas you explore are the sets of the film, painstakingly recreated.  If you’re a fan this is pure candy.  If you’ve never seen the movie, this hour or so sequence will fill you in on the plot as you dig through the wreckage.  Then get ready for a last-gen survival-horror-action game second only to Resident Evil 4.  You check the status of your squad to see if they’re losing their shit.  You have to test their blood for mutation just like in the movie and if they start to suspect you, you have to test yourself in front of your men.  This game not only faithfully recreates the film’s world, it let’s you be a squad of badasses not unlike Republic Comando’s Deltas while you do.  The squad classes of soldier, medic and engineer are all necessary for gameplay and you simply can’t finish the game running through like Max Payne, shooting people in the face.  The plot is great as a conclusion to the movie or as a stand alone story.  On PS2, PC and Xbox, so easy to get ahold of.

Rule of Rose

Clearly this dog has violated the rule of rose and been dealt swift justice by the other happy forest creatures.

This game unfortunately went under due to a bad rep it didn’t deserve.  One western journalist saw the game in Japan and said something about how it involved disturbing children in somewhat sexual situations.  Everyone else wrote the game off without playing it as some perverted Japanese child porn snuff game.  Having never heard of it, I looked at the box, thought it looked like Silent Hill done by Del Toro and picked it up for $12 at Gamestop.  It turns out the game’s legend contains not a shred of truth, yet the truth is still disturbing.  What that moron journalist should have said is that, like the movie “Kids,” this game portrays children unparented, committing sadistic acts.  Some of the situations border on PG S&M, but the game never goes even so far as the aforementioned film.  My original guess was more right as this game is one part Silent Hill, one part The Orphanage and strangely one part Salvador Dali.  I can’t really say much about this game without spoiling something, but let me just state for the record that about a third of the game takes place on an otherwordly 1930s airship on which paranormal events occur regularly and fish swim through the air.  If that alone doesn’t hook you, the protagonist is also interesting.  Your character is a young British governess in the 1930s.   She is on a bus on her way to a position in the country (she is an orphan herself, having lost her parents in a car wreck), when she stops at this eerie stop and decides to get off.  She finds an entirely different and decidedly more creepy orphanage where the adults seem to seclude themselves and let the children run amok.  Your character is neither sexual in bearing nor powerful like Silent Hill and Resident Evil women.  She’s just some plain Jane social worker who goes to demon children land.  You also have a dog companion with surprisingly realistic animation and AI who helps you on your quest.  Waaaay better than Haunting Ground if you’re even thinking it.  It’s on PS2 and somewhat hard to find due to retailers pulling it sight unseen when they heard about it.

Martian Gothic: Unification

Goddammit!  We’re out of air!  Fucking congress and their air conservation-share a suit policy!

This is a really hard game for me to recommend, because it isn’t exactly good, as a game.  It plays like RE1 even though it came out in 2000 and the graphics and sound are quite literally terrible.  The sole thing that makes this game compelling is it’s abandoned colony on Mars setting that evokes the feel of the first Alien film.  As hard as it is to watch the cutscenes, the story is actually pretty good.  If you have a fetish for abandoned space station/ship/planet stories like I do, you won’t be able to stop beating your head against the wall that is this game.  The almost complete lack of soundtrack and complete silence in outdoor sequences will remind you of a crappy Dead Space.  The last great element is the way the game forces you to be an astronaut at all times while solving it’s mysteries.  You are always scavving for air capsules and the necessary tech to do everything.  In Resident Evil you never act like a cop or government agent.  You blindly dash into traps without calling for backup and you split up from your partner every time you go into an unsecured sector.  If you can play one of the ugliest, crudest games of it’s time, this one will surprise you.  You can get it for PC and the rights are long dead, so feel free to torrent if you can find it, it’s freeware.  Also on PS1, but even crappier.

Honorable Mentions (less rare and more played for the most part):

D2 – Dreamcast

Haunting Ground – PS2

Koudelka – PS1

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth – Xbox, PC

  1. lagunawsu2 says:

    Glad to see Koudelka get a full review in the sequel.

    Rule of Rose is a huge deal in the gaming community. I personally have never played it, but it’s one of those games that you either love or revile. And by revile, I mean it’s banned in certain countries for children wearing very seductive clothes and graphic violence inflicted on children by other children. Yeah. Intense !@#$.

    • ryanlecocq says:

      Actually even that is a misconception. There isn’t even any revealing clothing. The kids are all dressed like those Narnia kids in their British boring ass clothes. It’s really just the sadism that makes it questionable.

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