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Ack
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October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Ack Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:32 am

WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM!

It is October now on Racketboy, and that means one thing: time for horror gaming! Now most of you only dedicate one month out of the year to playing games filled with haunts and horrors. That means we must make the most of this bloodbath. This month for Together Retro, I present:

THE GOLDEN AGE OF SURVIVAL HORROR

First, an explanation. The "Golden Age" is the period of what we now dub "classic" survival horror; there were tank controls, fixed camera angles, obtuse and often clunky game design, as well as a new ability to revel in gore, fear, and psychological torment. These things fought with the player and caused more dread than any monster in any game. But horror gaming became a major selling point in the market and has led to several long-lasting and iconic franchises that are even recognizable to people who do not dabble in video games. Truly, it was a wondrous time for horror fanatics.

The Golden Age came as 3D game design was being fully integrated into video games, and it was an ideal time. Birth is scary, and the learning curve for developers meant many experiments and dreadful mistakes. These were then pushed along to the player, but ho! In a horror game, hideous experiments are now features!

Unfortunately, the Golden Age did inevitably come to an end with the release of Resident Evil 4 and the move to more action-oriented horror as well as an understanding and ending to much of the experimentation in game design that went into the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Now for the important housekeeping. If you're joining us (and I highly recommend you do, or else you may find me hiding under your bed), there are some rules to follow.

RULES:

1) No games after 2004. With the release of Resident Evil 4, the Golden Age ended. Remastered releases, such as HD conversions, are perfectly fun.

2) The Golden Age starts with the release of Resident Evil, but playing precursors is perfectly acceptable. While I would like for everyone to focus on the time period, I don't mind people looking into what games led to it.

3) While some of us are new, many of us have played the big names of Resident Evil or Silent Hill. Go out and explore! There are many options available on a variety of consoles and PC. Try the best AND the worst. Pay attention to the design; is there something you can appreciate or that you see pass along to other horror games?

4) Have fun. This isn't a competition. I won't be logging who beats what. That's not what this month is about. This month is about appreciating a genre many people loathe and avoid.

5) Don't break my rules, or I'll delete your posts and use your entrails to make sausages and jerky, which I will then sell around the state to various cheap motels and gas stations. You'll be consumed by a sweaty trucker hopped up on pills outside of Savannah, GA. You don't want that.

6) If you have a question as to what is acceptable, ask! I love horror and games and want to encourage you all to play more, so I'll happily weigh in on any game proposals. Because I want you to keep exploring outside of your comfort zones.

To get you started, here's a list of potential titles that I pre-approve:

Ack wrote:ATARI 2600
Haunted House

NES
Sweet Home

SNES
Clock Tower

3DO
Alone in the Dark
D

SEGA SATURN
D
Deep Fear
Enemy Zero
Lunacy
Resident Evil

PLAYSTATION
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
Chaos Break
Clock Tower: The First Fear
Clock Tower
Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within
Countdown: Vampires
D
Dark Tales: From the Lost Soul
Dino Crisis
Echo Night
Echo Night 2
Evil Dead: Hail to the King
Galerians
Hellnight
Juggernaut
Koudelka
Martian Gothic: Unification
Nightmare Creatures
Nightmare Creatures 2
Obscure
OverBlood
Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve II
Resident Evil
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Resident Evil: Survivor
Silent Hill
The Note

NINTENDO 64
Nightmare Creatures
Resident Evil 2

SEGA DREAMCAST
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
Blue Stinger
Carrier
D2
Dino Crisis
Evil Dead: Hail to the King
Illbleed
Nanatsu no Hikan: Senritsu no Bishou
Nightmare Creatures 2
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Resident Evil - Code: Veronica
The Ring: Terror's Realm

PLAYSTATION 2
Clock Tower 3
Curse: The Eye of Isis
Echo Night Beyond
Extermination
Fatal Frame
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
Galerians: Ash
Ghost Vibration (child friendly)
Ghosthunter
Gregory Horror Show
Hungry Ghosts
Kuon
Kyoufu Shinbun (Heisei-Han) Kaiki! Shinrei File
Lifeline
Michigan: Report from Hell
Onimusha: Warlords
Phase Paradox
Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X
Resident Evil Outbreak
Resident Evil Outbreak #2
Resident Evil Survivor 2 - Code: Veronica
Resident Evil: Dead Aim
RLH: Run Like Hell
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 4: The Room
Siren
The Fear
The Haunted Mansion (child friendly)
The Suffering
The Thing
The X-Files: Resist or Serve

XBOX
Curse: The Eye of Isis
Fatal Frame
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
Genma Onimusha
Grabbed by the Ghoulies (child friendly)
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
Silent Hill 4: The Room

GAMECUBE
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Luigi's Mansion (child friendly)
Resident Evil (Remake)
Resident Evil 0
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X


Now get to killing, kiddies.
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by noiseredux Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:06 pm

I feel good about this. I crammed Modern Warfare over the weekend just so I'd free up my gaming calendar for this month. I've got REmake installed and ready to go starting tonight. And I've got a whopping FIVE weeks of "Spooky Tuesday" game nights lined up for me and my wife this month. 8)
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Nemoide Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:49 pm

Well, I started up Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly - Director's Cut on oXbox and I'm already overwhelmed with fear an anxiety!
Seriously, these games are SCARY and I'm a big fat wuss around them. So I take a lot of breaks and check GameFAQs regularly while playing to make it easier.

You play as a high school girl who, along with your twin sister, get lost in the forest and find yourself in the "Lost Village" which is an abandoned town which was destroyed in some event years ago, no only existing as a legendary place where once you wander in, you can never get out. From what I can tell, there are some kind of history involving dark gods, twins, death, and scariest of all... butterflies.
I went through the first chapter, in which the protagonist's sister ends up walking away to hang out with some ghosts and the titular crimson butterflies, but now I just feel like I'm wandering around, getting a feel for the village. Already, the setting feels more expansive than the first game, and having the player control a high school girl instead of an adult just makes it even scarier.
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Xeogred Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:43 pm

Nemoide wrote:Well, I started up Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly - Director's Cut on oXbox and I'm already overwhelmed with fear an anxiety!
Seriously, these games are SCARY and I'm a big fat wuss around them. So I take a lot of breaks and check GameFAQs regularly while playing to make it easier.

You play as a high school girl who, along with your twin sister, get lost in the forest and find yourself in the "Lost Village" which is an abandoned town which was destroyed in some event years ago, no only existing as a legendary place where once you wander in, you can never get out. From what I can tell, there are some kind of history involving dark gods, twins, death, and scariest of all... butterflies.
I went through the first chapter, in which the protagonist's sister ends up walking away to hang out with some ghosts and the titular crimson butterflies, but now I just feel like I'm wandering around, getting a feel for the village. Already, the setting feels more expansive than the first game, and having the player control a high school girl instead of an adult just makes it even scarier.

I need to play the Xbox version sometime. How does the first person mode work? Can you switch to that mid game at any point?

Anyways yeah, I replayed the first two a few years ago... and II holds up way better than the first, it's a bonafide classic in the genre for sure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzNYJVum6Zg
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Nemoide Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:01 pm

Unfortunately FPS mode is pretty much a curiosity for repeat playthroughs: you have to select between original and FPS mode when you start a new game. I'm definitely not going for that route for my first playthrough!
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Exhuminator Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:44 pm

Starting this bad boy girl up tonight:

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Here's hoping it doesn't suck.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by noiseredux Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:41 am

1.

I was fifteen years old in the summer of 1996, which was the first time that I played Resident Evil. This was the summer between freshman and sophomore year, and a friend let me borrow the game to play during the school break. So my ritual was this: late at night once everyone else had gone to bed, I'd move my Playstation down to the living room so I could use the 'big' (like 27"?) TV that was hooked up to stereo speakers. And I'd generally play until I was too freaked out - the only one awake in the otherwise quiet house. To say that the original Resident Evil left a huge impression on me in some rather formative years is an understatement. I have a lot of memories of that original summer with Resident Evil. I mean, the game was scary in a way that no other game I'd played before was scary.

I've re-played the original Resident Evil in various forms over the years. And as much as the original release holds a special place in my heart, the so-called "REmake" long ago became THEE version of the game for me. Originally released on Gamecube, I'm playing the ported HD remaster on Xbox One today. So here's the embarrassing thing I need to admit: I've never actually beaten Resident Evil. Whoo. It feels good to get that one off my chest. So here's the thing; I consider RE to be one of my favorite franchises. And I consider the original RE to be one of my favorite games within that favorite franchise. And I've been playing it for over twenty years. And somehow I've never managed to actually beat it! I have a bad habit with the RE games, though. I'll be playing and loving and then I'll get to some part that'll frustrate me (hi, RE0!) or scare me (hi, RE7!) or I'll just get distracted for whatever reason (hi, RE4!) and plan to come back to the game later but then when I do I'll forget where I am or what I was doing or what I'd already done and I'd just have to start over. In the past two decades I've played HUNDREDS of hours of Resident Evil games... it's just that in many case it's the same opening hours over and over again.

The upside to all this is that the opening section of Resident Evil feels like riding a spooky bike for me. It's been nearly a decade since I last played this game, and yet it's all coming back to me. (Dammit, now I have that horrible Celine Dion song in my head, which I guarantee you has never been related to RE in the past). What I find a testament to the staying power of the original game is just how effective it still is to me. That first cutscene where the zombie turns and looks at you? Still iconic. The tension I feel going through that hallway that I know zombie dogs will jump through windows? Still horrifying. I mean, that hallway is now totally 'off limits' to me because I just don't want to deal. Fuck it, I can backtrack the long way if I need to. I remember going outside to grab the plant chemical stuff and hearing dogs growl - AND I KNOW that they can't actually get me... it's totally just an audio sample - but it still puts me on edge.

I've now gotten myself a shotgun and made it to that typewriter room just below the stairway. Y'know the one, right? I decided to save here (I still hate limited saves... you can tell me all day that it raises tension in a horror game, but... c'mon) and figure that's sort of the best way to space out my sessions here. Anyway, I feel good about the early progress I've made and am looking so forward to pushing ahead this month. There's something strangely comforting about Spencer Mansion.
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:56 am

Those early Fatal Frame games look legit cool, and this is coming from someone who isn't really invested in the genre.

I'd probably own one by now but the prices have scared me away.
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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by noiseredux Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:21 am

oh, I forgot to mention that I am NOT okay with this change of dialogue:

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Re: October Together Retro: Golden Age of Survival Horror

by Exhuminator Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:42 am

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Those early Fatal Frame games look legit cool, and this is coming from someone who isn't really invested in the genre.

Being a teenage Japanese girl exploring a dilapidated mansion (full of angry ghosts) with nothing but a camera to defend yourself with... is a different experience than most survival horror games. For being a seventeen year game, its design still holds up rather well.

Way back in 2007 I put a few hours into FF1 on Xbox, but stopped playing for whatever reason. So here we are eleven years later, and I booted up that same copy once more. After putting an hour and a half into it last night, I'll say that FF1 is better than I remembered it being. Interesting plot, detailed game mechanics, and a legit creepy atmosphere.* Taking pictures of ghosts to defeat them is a cool concept, as it forces you to have to confront your ghastly foes in first person view, face to face. I didn't realize this game would have puzzle solving elements as well, thus far that has been well implemented. I'm presently intrigued to continue, hopefully I'll stay that way.

This isn't the only Fatal Frame series game I've played, for the record. I beat Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir on 3DS last October. Although said game lacks the "Fatal Frame" name, Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir is directly related to the series. But it's not in Ack's sanctioned list, so I won't go into a lot of detail. I'll just say Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir is innovative, underrated, and well worth playing.

*Creepy, not scary. It's extremely rare for a horror game to actually "scare" me, which is a problem I have with this gaming genre.

I'd probably own one by now but the prices have scared me away.


Hmm. Looking at prices for a mint Xbox copy of FF1 as I own , looks like you'd pay $40 for that off eBay or Amazon today. That is interesting. I paid about $5 for this game back in 2007. Apparently this is one of the rare Xbox games that managed to hold on to its value, rather than depreciating to the point of absurdity. I suppose that's because the Xbox version of FF1 has exclusive improvements over the PS2 original. Better graphics, enhanced features, bonus stuff, that sort of thing. And a PC port never happened.
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