Review by Wroth

"The scariest and most difficult game to date."

When I decided to write a guide for Illbleed, I was skeptical. I had seen opinions floating around in various circles, and the general consensus was it was a flawed game. But I am never one to fully trust the opinions of the others, as they may not be as horror-game oriented as I am. Besides, how could I pass up a game that has a picture of a zombie on the cover of the instruction manual. So, with a new game and a need to spook myself silly, I decided to take this information to trial, and after a few days of playing Illbleed, only one thought rests in my mind. This is one of the best games I have ever played.

Eriko Christy, a high school student and horror aficionado, has grown up in the horror atmosphere her whole life. She acquired this passion for the horrifying from her father, who ran a traveling carnival of horror when she was little. However, now she faces her most daunting challenge. Kevin Kertsman, Randy Fairbanks, and Michel Waters, the members of her Horror Appreciation Society at their high school have procured tickets to Illbleed, the mysterious horror-based theme park of Michael Reynolds. The three are excited as the supposed reward for going through Reynolds' entire theme park alive is ten million dollars. Not wishing to go all the way out there, Eriko declines the invitation and watches her friends go without her. Something, though, is terribly wrong, as they do not return. Concerned for her friends, Eriko ventures to Illbleed, the start of her horrific journey into terror.

Illbleed, based off the premise of a horror park that is designed to terrorize it's inhabitants, is a truly unique experience. Unlike any survival horror game to date, this game is based on skill and strategy, not simply ammunition conservation. In each stage one must navigate through a level painstakingly large, attempting to remain alive and complete a primary goal. While attempting to do so, you must always maintain watch on your primary health statistics: Pulse ( Heart-rate ), Adrenaline ( Horror Monitor Use, see below ), Bleeding ( Blood lost per minute ), and Physical Strength ( Health Points ). If any of these reach a critical level, your character will perish. Anything can trigger a rise or fall in these statistics, such as an enemy attack or something horrifying, so watch out.

The defining factor of this game, and what separates it from all other survival horror titles, is the game interaction system. This system, called the horror event system, is made up of horror events and the senses of each charter: smell, sight, hearing, and a sixth sense. Your character's senses, displayed as a monitor box on the top of the screen, are normally flat lined if not aroused. However, if something arouses them, they will become excited and display an EKG like response. The events which arouse them are the aforementioned horror events. If your character senses something via one of his/her four senses, it will register and thus you will have some notice that there is some sort of event near your location. However, since you do not know where these events are exactly, you are at their mercy without your new best friend, the horror monitor. This lovely contraption can be used, by pressing the R-trigger, to view through it's special lenses and learn the precise locations of horror events and mark them off using adrenaline ( go figure ), and thus not be scared by them when they activate. This will keep you alive, as each event that you fail to identify which activates upon you will scare your character, thus damaging his/her statistics slightly. Beware though, as your sixth sense is used also to locate hidden item, which the horror monitor cannot differentiate from hidden horror events, so be wary.

Beyond the long, difficult levels and challenging interface, Illbleed is the most genuine scary game I have ever played. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and other titles of the such can be freaky, but that is not their pure goal, as it is coupled with much battling. In Illbleed, the battling is limited, strategy is key, and fear is always present. As one walks along a darkened hallway, not sure where the enemies are, the fear can be very real. This essence of terror makes the game extra nice, as it is something very rarely discovered, and if attempted, usually done poorly.

Therefore: This is a truly unique experience, and a difficult one at that. With six levels, all long and requiring skill in keeping your statistics within an optimal range and maintaining items, this game provides an excellent challenge to any gamer. But just to make it that much more difficult, AIA, the makers of Illbleed, have designed each level to be fitted with a time limit. Thus if you want a challenge and a game which will scare you silly, like I do, go for this one.

Final Decision:

Graphics: 10/10
-Excellent graphics, top of the line and up to Dreamcast standards.

Sound: 10/10
-Scary. Very scary. The sound and music will instill terror into you as creepy noises and music abound.

Gameplay: 9/10
-Excellent game play with a unique system. Only downside is it is very, very, difficult.

Controls: 8/10
-Can be quite difficult to manage at times, due to the advanced nature, but once you get the hang of it, you will be okay.

Story: 3/10 or 10/10
-Former if you hate cheesy B-Movies, latter if you love them.

Pros/Cons:

Pros:
-B-Movie Story
-Extremely Difficult
-Great Horror Atmosphere
-Unique Interface
-Great Puzzles

Cons:
-Terrible Acting
-Too Difficult at times

Overall: 9.6/10 ( Rounded to 10 )
-An excellent game all ways around.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/03/01, Updated 06/03/01


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