Review by traviswrdunbar

Reviewed: 09/19/03

Scariest game ever

Atmosphere: 10
The sound, architecture, and lighting combine to give one hell of an experience. It helps that you spend your time listening for screams and watching for things to jump out at you. My first experience with the game was the demo. And I wasted a couple rounds of ammunition on my own reflection. Walked up to check out what I looked like, and I see this figure emerging from the painting behind me. Scratch about 6 more rounds of ammo on that, before I realized my shots had no effect, because it wasn't physically there.

One freaky moment happens pretty early. As you examine this painting that fell off the wall. As you examine it, you hear this ethereal voice say 'look around.' Follow it shortly with more glass breaking and screams and you get a little bit panicky about turning your back on an open room or door.

All kinds of sounds abound in this game, mostly without a known physical source. Ranging from the above remark to children's laughter, they don't help you casually saunter through the manor any.

Graphics: 8
It might just be my card, but my copy is a bit glitchy. It adds to the freakiness, as it gives a sense of motion on the periphery, but it does detract from the game. The unreal lighting was always a bit better than Q3, and this game leave most of it turned off. Mansion you started in lost power anyway, so why have lights on? With a sufficient video card, the pools of blood from your victims add a nice, if somewhat washed out touch.

Gameplay: 9
I have always loved the unreal engine, and this game does it justice. the only detracting factor that I can see is the lack of multiplayer capacity. That would be a blast. The game already has you jumping when a monster appears, but what happens when another player steps around the corner, and manages to dodge your last shot of shotgun ammo?

I would also have liked it if it came packed with a map editor. The ability to make your own maps and adventures is a big draw for me. Thankfully, I know some U-script, and can just use a map loading command to pop in the map after I make it in UTs map editor.

Give it a try, and dont shoot the messenger if you decide you don't like the game. bye now.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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