Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 5

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This week’s excursion into the world of horror games takes us to another franchise, Fatal Frame, also known as Project Zero.  The basic gameplay remains the same throughout the entire series.  The protagonist, usually a young girl, finds herself in a haunted location.  Her only defense against the apparitions surrounding her is the Camera Obscura, an antique camera that can dispel spirits.  The game was described to me by the Gamestop employee as Silent Hill meets Pokemon Snap.   The fifth game is scheduled to release for the Wii U early next year.

game #5 – Fatal Frame II: the Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame II takes place mostly in Minakami Village, a remote location where villagers performed the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual.  Twin shrine maidens must perform the ritual with the elder strangling the younger twin so that the Hellish Abyss remains closed.  When the ritual was not completed, the village vanished, along with all the inhabitants.  The game puts players in control of Mio as she searches the lost village with (and oftentimes, for), her twin sister Mayu.

Combat takes place via the Camera, where the player snaps pictures of the ghosts to repel them.  There are also encounters with non-aggressive spirits that allows players to gain points outside of combat. The Crimson Butterfly also includes some of the most haunting ghosts in the series that will stick with you long after you put the controller down.

The story really is something a player needs to experience for themselves, and I strongly recommend avoiding spoilers when possible.  The Fatal Frame series is a unique, must-have gaming experience for all fans of horror games.

 

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 6

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Silent-Hill-4-silent-hill-6945970-1024-768Our horror game countdown to Halloween continues this week with an entry from Silent Hill.  The first game was released in 1999 and followed Harry Mason as he searches a strange town for his adopted daughter.  Along the way, he encounters creepy monsters, creepier inhabitants and a cult trying to resurrect an old god using his daughter.  Since then the series has included 10 games, a number of spin offs, some print media and two movies that followed the events of the first and third games.  Contrary to popular opinion, my personal favorite in the series is Silent Hill 4: The Room.

#6 – Silent Hill 4: the Room

Silent Hill 4 puts the player in control of Henry Townshend, a young man who finds himself locked in his apartment as strange things start to happen to the other residents of the apartment building.  While in the apartment, the game is in first person perspective, switching to third person as Henry starts to explore the nightmare around him via a hole in the bathroom  wall.  Henry’s only connection to the real world is his neighbor, Eileen, who he can watch through the wall but cannot communicate with.   The objective of the game is to keep Henry’s apartment from becoming too infected while protecting Eileen from the same fate other tenants have suffered.

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Ultimately, the highlight of the game is the relationship between Henry and Eileen.  The player has no idea what their relationship was before the events of the game.  Early on, however, Eileen becomes the only connection Henry has with the real world, the only person he can see outside of the others trapped in the other world with him.  And all the others are scheduled for death.  If players wish to achieve the best ending to the game, saving Eileen becomes as much of a priority as saving Henry.  I like to imagine in the alternate reality presented by Shattered Memories that Henry and Eileen are in group therapy together.

The opening theme song is one of the best pieces of Silent Hill music and comes highly recommend.  Silent Hill 4 also features a number of memorable scares, for instance, the floating Eileen head in the hospital level.  Or who could forget the crying babies coming out of the wall?  Which leads us to the ultimate question:

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Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 7

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rule of rose This year to celebrate Halloween, we’re going to countdown my favorite horror games.  The next two years are going to be a great time to be a horror game fan.  On the Resident Evil side of things, the HD remake of the original is being released along with Resident Evil Revelations 2 which features the return of Claire.  Another long running horror series with a new entry coming is Silent Hill, with Silent Hills. (More to come about this on week 7.) Before that, The Evil Within is scheduled to come out on October 14th of this year.  So with all the cool horror games coming out soon, now’s a great time to look at what the genre has offered in the past.

#7 – Rule of Rose

Rule of Rose, developed by Punchline, is a survival horror game released in 2006 for the Playstation 2.  Players assume control of Jennifer, a 19-year old orphan girl suffering from amnesia.  Integral to the game is Jennifer’s relationship with Brown, a brown Labrador retriever who can be commanded to attack enemies and, more importantly, to sniff out various items.  These key items are the only way to progress to the next level.

The game design is hauntingly beautiful, and you will likely be a little freaked as you start to uncover the pieces of Jennifer’s past.  Each chapter starts with a storybook that  ties into the main plot.   The story book theme also influences what types of imps you’ll be facing in each level.

The combat, on the other hand, can be incredibly frustrating.  By the time you get any good weapons, the game is almost over and you won’t really need to use them.  Jennifer also has no real means of defense other than having Brown intimidate enemies while she runs away.  While this heightens the immersion of the game (Jennifer is a 19 yr old girl with zero combat skills), it’s also incredibly frustrating.   The battle with the mermaid is sure to make you want to pull your hair out, and in some cases, may make you want to give up on the game entirely.  Luckily, the game does not rely heavily on combat and focuses more on Jennifer’s relationship with Brown and the other children.

Rule of Rose is a must have addition to any PS2 horror collection.  If you don’t already own it, however, I wish you the best of luck in finding it as it was rather difficult for me to obtain several years ago.

 

 

Mud Run Bucket List

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4227279_race_0.9442314931736042.originalI love mud running.  I’m fairly new to the sport having only participated in my first run in June, but I knew when I crossed that finish line I was going to do it again.  I’m never going to be the fastest runner.  Actually, there’s a good chance that I’ll never even be a fast runner.   However, the mud and the obstacles really level out the playing field.  No one’s fast in mud.  Even the fastest runners take over an hour to complete a Spartan Sprint.  I could theoretically become good at mud running.  To that end, I’ve had for a while now a bucket list of mud runs I want to do before I no longer have the desire or the capability to run.

1. The Dirty Girl (Completed!  June 7th, 2014)

2. The Warrior Dash (This is the one that first caught my interest)

3. The Zombie Mud Run

4. The Zombie Run Extreme and Black Ops

5. Mud on the Mountain

6. Muderella

7. Tough Mudder (This one has been banished from the list ever since I found out there was live electricity on the course.  I do these things to push myself and have fun.  I draw the line at being electrocuted for their amusement.)

8. Spartan Race Sprint, Super, Beast

9. Ruckus

10. Superhero Run

This list will be updated as I find new runs or as I complete the ones already on the list.  Do you have a favorite mud run?

Review : Intriques

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Intrigues
Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I read Foundation, I was excited to reenter the world of Valdemar. Companions, Heralds, yes even Bards were calling to me. I dug out my old Mercedes Lackey CD so I could import some of the songs into my iPod. The second book did not invoke the same feelings.

First books usually don’t get very far in the plot because they spend so much time setting up the rest of the series. I’m used to that, so the first book gets a pass in that department. When the second book doesn’t get very far in the plot department because it’s too busy setting up later books, then we have a problem. Nothing really happens in this book to make the overall plot move forward. I blame most of it on the Kirball.

I don’t know where this trend started. Possibly with Harry Potter. Intriques had to design a game for the characters to play. A difficult and dangerous game that we had to learn the rules of. One that was so dangerous that it conveniently puts one of the major characters out of action for the final climax.

Intriques was not a bad book, but it’s not going to rank among the most memorable of the Valdemar novels either.

View all my reviews

Review : Dangerous Women – “The Princess And The Queen, Or, The Blacks And The Greens”

dangerous womenThis was the reason why I picked up this book. A new Song of Ice And Fire novella.  I have never been more disappointed by something in my life. If this is indicative of what the next three books are going to be like, you can count me out right now.
This “story” is a transcription of a historical record. Okay, he’s trying out a new style. We can give this a chance.  Oh, except it quickly becomes a list of names and how they died.  Which might be fine for about ten pages or so.  Except it’s 80 pages long, and it never gets any better.  What the hell? George R R Martin is supposed to be the master of showing versus telling, and this is 80 pages of telling. It was awful. This is the driest piece of crap you will ever read. I celebrated when it was finally over.

Review : Dangerous Women – “Lies My Mother Told Me”

dangerous womenOh look, more rape, this time of a child.  Look, can we just stop using rape in literature,  please? It’s not edgy, and it’ss getting on my nerves.  I don’t even know about this one.  There were superpowers, and zombies and lesbians, all of which should have made this a really great story, but it just didn’t do anything for me.  Maybe it was because I didn’t feel attached to the characters, maybe it was the anticlimactic ending, but I could live without this one.

Review : Dangerous Women – “Caretakers”

dangerous womenSister-sister and mother-daughter bonding time. A million points for that. I shouldn’t have to give points for that considering it’s supposed to be an anthology about dangerous women, but so many of the stories have been disappointing in their inclusion of women. This one is good. Not my usual cup of tea, but still good.  I mean, if you wanted to skip to the ones that are at least worth reading, you can safely add this one to the list.

Review : Dangerous Women – “Name the Beast”

dangerous womenAt first, from the title alone, I didn’t remember this story.  Once I refreshed my memory however, this was one of the ones I actually enjoyed.  The story is about two very different girls and their families. One Hunter, one prey.  What makes this story really stick out is the focal point on Kalindris and her daughter.  We need more focus on the mother-daughter dynamic.  I told you I was getting sick of all the dudebro manpain bonding.  Even if you aren’t familiar with Sykes, I wasn’t,  if you pick up this book,  definitely give this one a shot.

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