Chuck Foster was raised on horror and science fiction by his late-night horror host father, Grimsley. In his early teens, he discovered punk rock and became an avid music collector while allowing his obsession with horror movies to flourish. Since 2002, he has written about music for such publications as The New York Waste, Under the Volcano, The Big Takeover and Bigtakeover.com and he is the music editor for Secondflightstudio.com. He has explored various styles of music with his own projects and has written a screenplay, which is currently under option, with co-writer Christian Ackerman. He also contributed to Ackerman's film, Elwood Carlisle Superstar. Visit Chuck's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/mrphreek or his music blog, Mr. Phreek's Anokist Emporium.
With "Blood Sausage," Chuck plans to focus less on music (although it will certainly make up a significant part of his articles), and more on books, television, video games and online content. He is open to submissions and he promises to give an honest, fair assessment of the work at hand.
Please send all submissions to:
217 Spencer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11205
FEAR IN FLASH:
POINT AND CLICK PARANOIA
AT THE FREE WEB ARCADE
I love video games, especially those of the horror variety, but sitting around waiting for the next Resident Evil installment can get really tedious, especially when the zombie-killing jones is in your bones.
Thankfully, there's Freewebarcade.com, where aspiring game designers can submit their latest flash designs to an eager public. Believe it or not, some of these games are genuinely engaging, combining cutting-edge graphics with old-school Nintendo/Sega simplicity and well-though-out stories. Perhaps the best examples of these can be found in the "Point and Click" games section HERE.
Point and Click games are exactly what they sound like. They are usually first-person games that are played by pointing the mouse arrow either over objects to use them or collect them, or over arrows to move to another part of the game "board." Typically, the games are centered around the idea that the player, as the main character in the game, is trapped in a room (or broader landscape) and has to collect, combine, move and/or use objects throughout the game in order to escape the given game area, whether it's a room, a house or an entire town.
As to be expected, this has made for some compelling Point and Click horror games. Here are my favorites:
Exmortis/Exmortis 2 by Ben Leffler
Exmortis and its sequel are probably the most involved Point and Click games I've played. They fuse Sam Raimi's Evil Dead with the works of H.P. Lovecraft for a truly horrifying gameplay experience. In the first installment, you (as the main character) wake up in the woods with a bump on your head and no idea how you got there. With no alternatives, you head to the house before you, hoping to unlock the mystery. Objects, notes and books strewn about the house aid you in your journey into darkness. Designer Ben Leffler did an excellent job with detail, not only in the graphic design, but also in the background story and the written text of the diaries and Necronomicon-style occult books that you have to read to pass the game. Exmortis 2 is no less detailed, but even grander in scale, with a horde of demons laying waste to the land as they cross it while you remain one step ahead of them, hoping to escape. These are truly games to play at night, with the lights dimmed and the sound up. Your skin is guaranteed to crawl.
Ghostscape by Psionic
This is the perfect game for armchair ghost hunters. You, a paranormal investigator, must first break into an abandoned house and then find a way out when the door locks behind you. As usual, you collect items and read notes, but you also have a camera, which you use to photograph ghosts, moving objects, bodily remains and other creepy things that aid you in unlocking the mystery behind the haunted house. The gameplay is simple, for those easily discouraged by overly difficult games, and there's even a nice twist to the story when you come to the end.
Haunted by Smallfarm
In the wake of the "creepy kid" fad in horror movies, we have Haunted. After a car accident, you wake up in front of a strange house. Your goal is to explore the house and its contents in order to figure out what brought you there. The gameplay can be extraordinarily difficult at times, which can be very frustrating, but, if you're like me, you'll find a walkthrough and beat the game (and even then it's not that easy). The story is a bit convoluted, but there are enough thrills and chills to keep you engaged until the end.
Nightmares of Leia Ray by C404
Nightmares of Leia Ray isn't so much a traditional game, with a beginning, middle, end plot. Rather, it's an abstract, David Lynch-ish sequence of eerie events that really just make you uncomfortable and leave you that way when the game is over. Gameplay is incredibly simple, with just a single click required at times to move to the next scene, but with a game like this, which focuses on atmosphere and images, that's all you really need.
The Visitor by Zeebarf
A meteor lands in a creek carrying a passenger -- you. As a parasitic worm with telekinetic powers, you must manipulate the environment around you in order to infiltrate and consume various "hosts" throughout the game. Some of the gameplay can be difficult, but, for the most part, it's just good splatter-fest fun. Figuring out ways to set up your host, from birds to cats to humans, is entertaining and the payoff is always gory. The Visitor won't give you chills, but its lighthearted nature will leave you with a twisted smile.
These aren't the only games that grabbed my attention. There were also several science fiction-themed games that kept me staring at my computer screen for hours. I'll cover those next time.
See you then.