Until Dawn is a game developed by SuperMassive, released in 2015. It is a horror game with a big emphasis on choices and the butterfly effect. The game is basically a B horror film and focuses on a bunch of friends staying in a cabin on some snowy mountain. You control each character at different segments and as you play you will be given choices and the choices you make will have a reaction with the story. Some are mild, a character won’t like another character because of a decision you made, or a character could die because of your choice. Every character you control can live or die, at the end of the game you could have no survivors left or all of them. It’s a fun game and one I highly recommend being played with a partner or friends.
The game is full of scares, over it’s 8+ hour story you will feel your heart in your throat at times and the game does a good job of building suspense but also delivery jump scares. SuperMassive knew they would put the fear into people and so they devised a way to capture that fear for future viewings. If you go into the options of Until Dawn, you can enable your PS4 camera, if you have one, to record all the frightening bits. These will be recorded as little snippets and saved for you to re-watch in self humiliation. A great feature to encapsulate the look of horror on your face at a cheap jump scare.
This feature has some downsides though when used. Or positives depending on the player. You see, when you activate this feature, the little light on the PS4 camera will light up when recording. So, when a jump scare is about to happen, the owner of the camera will see that the PS4 camera has started recording. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that a jump scare is about to happen. This can be remedied by covering the light with a bit of a sticky note or anything similar. However, if you’re a big scared-ey cat but want to play Until Dawn then this might be a good downside for you. You’ll still have the jump scare but you’ll get a little warning before it happens. Enough time to brace yourself or cover your eyes behind a pillow. I won’t judge, I promise.
Doom 3 was released in August 2004 after a long production cycle, work on Doom 3 started back in mid 2000. The game was well received for its graphics and lighting but not so much for its gameplay, which was very different to the classic run ‘n’ gun formulae of previous Doom games. Clearly the team had spent a long time designing the game and its world and clearly it shows. The research facility on Mars, where the game is set, feels lived in and worn. When you enter rooms there is blood, remnants from fights, damaged surfaces and misplaced objects. But the rooms were like that originally.
When the levels for Doom 3 were created, they were created immaculate. Brand new rooms! Like a newly built office. As if the Mars research facility was a brand new, vacant building. Developers were then given the task of going through each level and giving it that tattered, lived in feel. How they did that you ask? Well, the developers created special weapons to do the work. Details of these weapons are very scarce but I like to imagine they made guns that put dents into walls, smudges on surfaces, smeared blood upon the tiles and a variety of effects to make the world of Doom 3 a damaged one. Once they had gone through each level with these weapons, the levels were then used in the game.
It’s a clever idea. It helps give the research facility that authentic feel that helps our ability to believe in this universe. Also, how fun would that be, to be one of those developers? To create something and after months of hard work and detailing the levels, you get to go round and smash up the place. I bet it’s very therapeutic, especially wrecking certain rooms that were more difficult than others to design. I would love that job. Professional level wrecker!
The Silent Hill series is known for its isolation and monstrous creatures. The series has been persistent with these themes, especially in the early games. One other big element ties the early releases together, and that is the endings. Yes, when you finish Silent Hill 1, 2 or 3 you are treated to one of several endings. Nothing peculiar about that, a lot of games have a good or bad ending. But Silent Hill has gone one step further and added UFO ending to the list.
In this ending, which I might add is a cartoon ending similar to a comic book slideshow, the protagonist Heather, returns home to be greeted by an odd scene. Her father (Silent Hill 1 protagonist), Harry is at a dinner table with an alien. The grey classic alien look. There is also a man hiding behind a curtain which is James Sunderland, Silent Hill 2’s protagonist. Heather explains to her father the strange events that have been happening to her. Her dad flips out and does a sick kick to a piece of wood that James was holding.
Harry proclaims, in a warbled voice, that he is sick of Silent Hill’s shenanigans and that he’s going to destroy Silent Hill. Cut to a bunch of Alien spaceships laser beaming Silent Hill into dust and then flying off into the night sky. The credits then roll and the happy Silent Hill song starts playing, lyrics included. The beginning of the songs is this:
Come on, kiddies! Gather around!
Now, tell me, everyone,
Aren’t you sick and tired of that ol’ UFO ending?
That’s right! Be honest!
Honesty helps you grow big and strong!
Okay, you fine youngsters, let’s sing the Silent Hill song!
And it continues from there, singing about the characters from Silent Hill 3. It’s a surreal ending to a bleak game but this is a grand tradition in Silent Hill games. The UFO ending is a fan favourite easter egg. Usually the ending has to be unlocked by performing certain actions in the games. For example, in Silent Hill 3, the player has to unlock a weapon called the Heather Beam. To do this, the player needs to kill 333 monsters in several playthrough’s of the game. Then when you start a new playthrough, you need to kill at least 30 monsters with the Heather Beam before entering Harry’s flat. If done correctly you will be treated to the absurd UFO ending. Here is the ending for your viewing pleasure: