Continuing on from part the first, this week brings a New Batch of games from the Haunted PS1 Demo Disk. I’m really digging the “short story anthology” nature of this project. In horror fiction there’s a lot to be said for getting into a scene, setting up a freak out, and then taking it home. A lot of my issues with large scale survival horror games boil down to not being scared after the first level or so. The first time that zombie dog breaks down the window is super frightening. The 200th time fifteen hours of game-play later, not so much.
Just to be clear, I do understand that these games are mostly short project and/or demos, so I’m not treating them as fully polished final projects. Hopefully I’ll be able to take a deeper dive into some of these when they are finished. On with today’s selections!
Fatum Betula by Bryce Bucher is the most puzzle focused of the haunted games this week. You awake in a temple with a floating house plant and then a giant toothy vagina tells you to water it with three fluids (but not your own blood cause that would cause bad things). So, you set out on a journey involving a catman caught in a rock, a dead fisherman, and a lost painting. It’s all very trippy and dreamlike. The puzzles in the demo are fairly basic, but I found the freaky little dreamworld fun to explore.* I’d really like to see this one expanded into a larger narrative with more puzzles and characters to interact with.
Killer Bees are terrifying. Regular bees just want to get up ons some flowers. Killer Bees want you dead. The Killer Bees in Killer Bees by Neurobew inhabit the corridors of a abandoned hotel (or mansion? I’m not really clear on the story here, but that doesn’t matter. Only the bees matter). They might actually be alien or trans-dimensional horror bees. You can shoot the bees! But you have limited ammo because survival horror! Oh, no! I really like the VHS style effects on display here. From the filters to the short video clips you can unlock, Killer Bees evokes a nice sense of nostalgia for the good/bad old days of FMV games.**
Ode to a Moon
Ode to a Moon by Colorfiction is the most polished game I’ve seen so far on the HPS1DD. Your character is that idiot who’s going to go out to small town to witness their rustic festival for the eclipse.*** The journey begins as a slightly unsettling day and ends in full-on non-euclidean geometry freak out times. There are some seriously beautiful visual effects being created here. I came across a bunch of weird glows and freaky mists that I just enjoyed looking at for a while. I really would like to see this one expanded and polished up for a full release.
*Maybe a bit heavy on the flashy seizure-y effects? That would be my one criticism.
**Next year should bring us the HAUNTED 3DO DEMO DISK! Or not. That thing was trash time.
***NOT THE BEES!