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    Everything we know about Castlevania season 2, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    Castlevania Season 2 Trailer, Release Date, Cast, and News
    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 25, 2018

    In case you haven't yet read our review of the show, we thought quite highly of Castlevania's first season and look forward to seeing what the show's incredibly talented team can do when they have a full-length season to work with. So the good news for fans of a classic horror game and the promising new animated series is that Castlevania season 2 will hit Netflix very soon! In fact, there's also a third season on the way...

    Here's everything else we know about the show:

    Castlevania Season 2 Release Date

    Castlevania season 2 arrives on Oct. 26, 2018. It will air exclusively on Netflix.

    Castlevania Season 2 Trailer

    It's time for more of Trevor Belmont's story now that he's been joined by Alucard and Sypha! Here's the first trailer for Castlevania season 2:

    Further Reading: Castlevania Season 1 Easter Eggs and Reference Guide

    Castlevania Season 2 Episodes

    Netflix officially confirmed the show's renewal in a brief statement that included the very welcome news that Castlevania's second season will be eight episodes long. While that's hardly the length of a network program - or even an HBO show - it's a nice upgrade from the first season's meager four episode offering. 

    Castlevania Season 2 Cast

    All the principal participants of the show's first season appear to be onboard for Castlevania season two, which means that showrunner Adi Shankar, writer Warren Ellis, and voice actors Graham McTavish, Richard Armitage, James Callis, and Alejandra Reynoso will all reprise their respective voice roles.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.

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    While a disappointing bundle as a whole, it's impossible to hate the games included in this collection. Our review of Castlevania Requiem...

    Release Date: October 26, 2018
    Platform: PS4
    Developer: Konami
    Publisher: Konami
    Genre: Platformer

    On the one hand, Castlevania Requiem is an affordably priced collection of one of the greatest Castlevania games ever made and its rarely seen (in the U.S.) predecessor. But it’s also a lazy port of these games timed to release as an obvious cash-in with the second season of the excellent Netflix show.

    Fans hoping for an epic celebration of these titles akin to the Mega Man and Metal Gear Solid legacy collections will be sorely disappointed with this bundle, which is nothing more than another way to re-sell these games. There's no digital artbook or making-of commentary, nothing to show that Konami realizes that Castlevania Requiem is the first Castlevania game product it's released in four years. Those looking forward to playing these games with trophy support will be pleased, though.

    Yet, even if this version doesn’t have much new to offer, it’s impossible to hate the Symphony of the Night half of this collection. More than two decades after its release, Alucard’s journey through Dracula’s massive interconnected castle (and then the second inverted castle) remains as addictive and entertaining as ever.

    Further Reading: 10 Best Castlevania Games Ever Made

    Even with the bump to 4K resolution, the graphics are beginning to show their age, though. The emulation has smoothed out the backgrounds just a tad, making the character sprites look a little blurrier. Still, the controls remain tight and the gothic orchestral soundtrack stands up against any modern game. More frustrating is the occasional slowdown and noticeable loading times. Sure, those were in the original game, but it’s a good indication of how little effort went into this port.

    For better or for worse, this version of Symphony of the Night is based off of the 2007 PSP release and not the PlayStation original, so there are some translation differences. No longer is a man “a miserable little pile of secrets” in this version. It’s a pretty minor change really, and I still found the updated voice acting to be of high quality. 

    The other half of the Requiem collection is Rondo of Blood and it hasn’t held up nearly as well as Symphony of the Night. Rondo of Blood was originally released for the PC Engine in 1993 exclusively in Japan and didn’t make its way to the U.S. in any official capacity until a decade ago. It’s one of the final “traditional"Castlevania games, meaning there’s no interconnected castle or variety of equipable weapons. Until you unlock the additional character, it’s just you, your trusty whip, and a subweapon, though this title introduced the “item crash” super attack as well.

    Further Reading: Castlevania Season 3 Confirmed

    Nevertheless, Rondo of Blood is still a very tough game. Like, ridiculously, almost unfairly tough. I can’t see many gamers who didn’t grow up on the original Castlevania games spending much time with it before frustration sets in. But while the gameplay might not be everyone’s forte now, the soundtrack and graphics (some of which are recycled in Symphony of the Night), have also aged quite gracefully, even if they don’t benefit much from the HD facelift. Curiously, Konami opted out of including the 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood released on the PSP, which would have rounded out the collection nicely.

    So what exactly is new in this collection to warrant the re-release? Remarkably little. As already mentioned, there are the obligatory trophies as well as the option to customize controls in Rondo of Blood. Additionally, when you pick up an item in either game, the sound effect plays through the Dualshock’s built-in speaker.

    Ultimately, whether the collection is worth it depends on your familiarity with Castlevania. If you’ve never played Symphony of the Night in any form, this is a must-buy. If you’re a longtime Castlevania fan who somehow missed out on Rondo of Blood up to this point, Requiem is also worth checking out. But if you’ve played both these games to death, there’s little reason to download this unless you really want those trophies.

    Chris Freiberg is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.

    ReviewChris Freiberg
    Castlevania Requiem: Rondo of Blood
    Oct 26, 2018

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    While not quite as good as the remarkable first season, Castlevania season 2 is still an excellent adaptation of the video game classic.

    This Castlevania review contains spoilers.

    Castlevania Season 2

    In 2017, writer Warren Ellis, director Sam Deats, and producer Adi Shankar accomplished the impossible. Like a lone Belmont entering Dracula's castle armed with nothing but a whip, this team set out on a mission many thought would end in failure: to create a worthy video game adaptation that celebrated the source material while also taking it seriously. But when Castlevania season 1 dropped on Netflix last year, it defied the odds and became the first truly great video game adaptation.

    With Castlevania season 2, the show continues its excellent adaptation of the classic platformer series, as Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), and Alucard (James Callis) prepare to storm Dracula's castle while the Count (Graham McTavish) readies his forces to obliterate the world of man. The season also introduces three new major players to this drama of monsters and magic: the loyal human-hating Forgemasters (kind of like necromancers) Hector (Theo James) and Isaac (Adetokumboh M'Cormack) as well as the villainous Carmilla (Jaime Murray).

    Like with the trio of heroes in season 1, the show takes its time to flesh out these new characters, exploring their motivations as well as the trauma that led them all to the service of Dracula, who also gets a lot more screen time this time around. Hector, Isaac, and Carmilla are all welcome additions to the cast, giving this universe a sense of a larger world beyond Wallachia. While they're all supporting characters in this dance between Dracula and the trio of hunters out to kill him, we get to see plenty of their own conflicts play out as well as the start of new ones by season's end.

    I was especially intrigued by Hector and Isaac, two damaged humans who have allied themselves with Dracula after years of abuse by other humans. The show does not shy away from these traumas. The first time we actually get to spend any time with Isaac, he's self-flagellating, inflicting pain on himself to keep his body focused. Isaac revives dead, half-eaten pets to make up for the childhood he never had after burning his unloving parents alive as a kid. Even though they're the leaders of Dracula's army and mean to destroy their own race (in Hector's case, he wants to harvest humans as food for his vampire overlords), it's hard not to sympathize with them as we witness the events that turned them into sociopaths in the first place. 

    Further Reading: Castlevania Is a Dracula Masterpiece 90 Years in the Making

    Carmilla, on the other hand, is a wild card who will keep you guessing until the very end. While Dracula is billed as the villain of the series, Carmilla quickly steals the show. Her story, while not as fleshed out as the others (I suspect they're saving that for season 3), is captivating. Although she's a powerful and merciless vampire, Carmilla is still a woman in a man's world, so she has to deal with plenty of bullshit from the squad of vampire bros whom Dracula has designated his war council. Carmilla is too smart and ambitious to take any bullshit from the other vampire generals, though. They bicker incessantly about the war effort while Carmilla is actually getting shit done. Her ultimate plan might not be in their best interest...

    The story does get a bit bogged down when it comes Dracula, who spends most of the season sitting in a chair in his study not doing much at all. While this might be true to the Dracula of the games, who doesn't appear until the final stage of most entries, this doesn't make for incredibly entertaining television. In fact, Dracula might actually be the weak point of the season, as he spends most of his scenes reflecting on his loneliness after the death of his beloved human wife, Lisa. The Count isn't even all that interested in taking part in his evil plan to kill all the humans, a point he makes several times, which doesn't exactly make him a more complex character but a more pointless one. Why write so many Dracula scenes about him doing nothing but sulking?

    In general, the first four episodes are an incredibly slow burn, full of way too much exposition and philosophizing. Given the extended episode count of season 2, Ellis has the time and space to really go long on these characters and their world, but that's sometimes to the detriment of the show. There are whole episodes dedicated to two or three conversations, and there are one or two episodes that make you wonder whether the showrunners forgot that there's supposed to be action in a Castlevania story. 

    Still, it's impossible to deny how much respect Ellis has for the source material. He loves these characters and their drama, and even when the pacing feels completely off, it's in an attempt to elevate this story to a Shakespearean level that other video game adaptations have never enjoyed. Besides, the last four episodes more than make up for the first four.

    Further Reading: 10 Best Castlevania Games Ever Made

    The last hour and a half of the season, like the final third of a film trilogy, is action-packed, as all of the different sides converge on the battlefield. The action sequences are stunning, soaking the screen in gore while heads and limbs go flying in the background. I have to note that Castlevania season 2 has some of the most violent scenes I've ever watched in an animated series. Heads are crushed into the mud, necks are chewed on with relish, and I lost count of how many characters get skinned alive throughout the season. Castlevania season 2 will make you cringe in disgust more than a few times if you're not used to its level of gore.

    All that said, it's clear that Castlevania doesn't quite enjoy the same budget other, more popular animated series do on cable when it comes to animation. While I wouldn't call the quality of the animation distracting or a dealbreaker, there are moments when the visuals dip below even the anime shows the series is attempting to emulate. This is most evident during fast-paced action sequences, which never quite look the way you hope they will and come off as stiff. This is a minor complaint, though. Castlevania looks mostly good, and even when it doesn't, the visuals are serviceable. 

    The voice acting is mostly great (with one major exception we'll leave you to discover on your own), especially when it comes to Armitage, Reynoso, and Callis, who have a chemistry that really elevates their scenes together. These moments, which are often hilarious or heartwarming, add a more comedic flavor to the show. Alucard and Trevor's angst and animosity towards each other are often played for laughs while Sypha balances them out with her more lighthearted personality. To put it another way, Sypha is a delightful departure from all the emo dudes trying to figure their shit out.

    If there's one thing I found odd about these three, it's how little Trevor, Alucard, and Sypha actually get to do in season 2. The monster hunters aren't actually the focus of these episodes and don't really get to kill many monsters until about the last hour and a half. But when they finally get to go to war, it's incredibly cathartic. Fans of the video game series will be delighted as that battle unfolds. All in all, Castlevaniaseason 2 is a bloody good time. 

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    ReviewJohn Saavedra
    Castlevania Season 2 Review
    Oct 26, 2018

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    What you need to know about Team Sonic Racing, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    Team Sonic Racing
    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 28, 2018

    Sega has confirmed the development of Team Sonic Racing after users on ResetEra spotted a WalMart leak of the game just hours ago. 

    As was rumored earlier this year, Team Sonic Racing will be developed by Sumo Digital who also worked on Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed. What we didn't know based on the rumors that emerged earlier this year is that Team Sonic Racing will allow for both online multiplayer (in which up to 12 players can compete) and offline multiplayer which will support up to four players via split-screen. Regardless of which multiplayer option you choose, you'll be able to participate in a variety of modes that include Grand Prix, Exhibition, Time-Trial, and Team Adventure. 

    Yes, Team Adventure. It seems that Team Sonic Racingwill lean heavily on the team aspect of the title by allowing players to form in-game teams. These teams will be much more than just some matching uniforms as teammates will actually be able to pull off unique moves and assists that includes a "Team Ultimate" ability. Those that would rather go it alone will be happy to know that there's also an Adventure Mode in the game that comes complete with an actual racing game story (fancy that). 

    Further Reading: Team Sonic Racing Hands-on Preview

    This racer will also feature 14 "wisps" (in-game items), options to customize your characters and cars with both cosmetics and performance-enhancing upgrades, and 15 playable characters that are divided into three class types; speed, technique, and power. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Team Sonic Racing Release Date

    Team Sonic Racing is coming on May 21, 2019. It will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

    Further Reading: Sonic Almost Looked Like Eggman

    Team Sonic Racing Trailer

    A trailer premiered at E3 2018:

    Here is the announcement trailer:

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    Showtime's Halo TV series will start shooting in Budapest in 2019.

    News John SaavedraMatthew Byrd
    Oct 28, 2018

    The Halo live-action TV series is a go at Showtime. The network has ordered 10 hour-long episodes. The project will begin shooting in Budapest in June 2019, according to Production Weekly

    The series comes from Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt, Awake creator Kyle Killen, and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. Wyatt is set to direct multiple episodes of the series while Killen will act as showrunner.

    The series takes place during "an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant,” weaving “deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future," according to a statement by the network. It was also revealed by Showtime during the Television Critics Association summer tour (via TV Line) that Master Chief will appear in the series. It's unclear if he's the main character or will just make a few appearances along the way.

    Further Reading: 14 Halo Storylines That Could Inspire the TV Series

    Halo is our most ambitious series ever, and we expect audiences who have been anticipating it for years to be thoroughly rewarded,” said David Nevins, President and CEO Showtime Networks, in an earlier press release. “In the history of television, there simply has never been enough great science fiction. Kyle Killen’s scripts are thrilling, expansive and provocative, Rupert Wyatt is a wonderful, world-building director, and their vision of Halo will enthrall fans of the game while also drawing the uninitiated into a world of complex characters that populate this unique universe.”

    Microsoft first announced at E3 2013 that they'd reached a deal with Spielberg and Showtime to produce a series based on the legendary game franchise. Since then, updates on the status of that series had been few and far between until now. 

    Further Reading: The Halo Movie That Almost Was

    This isn't the first time Halo has been up for the live-action treatment, either. You may also recall that Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp also tried to get a Halomovie off the ground, but a creative war between several studios ended the project before it could truly begin. Elements of Blomkamp's Halo project can be seen in several of his movies, such as the African setting in District 9 and the ring-shaped space station in Elysium

    Ridley Scott produced a poorly received web series called Halo: Nightfall starring Luke Cage's Mike Colter back in 2014. Hopefully, Showtime's series fares much better.

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more!

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    A Monster Hunter live-action movie is on the way. Here's everything we know about the movie so far!

    Monster Hunter World
    News Ryan Lambie
    Oct 28, 2018

    British director Paul WS Anderson turned the hit video game franchise Resident Evil into a long-running film series in the early 2000s, and he's set to do the same thing again with another property owned by Japanese publisher Capcom.

    The Monster Huntermovie "tells the story of two heroes who come from different worlds to defeat a shared danger, the powerful, deadly and magnificent monsters that inhabit the land. Along the way, viewers will make new discoveries and encounter familiar faces and beloved characters from the games like the Admiral," according to the official synopsis from the publisher.

    Further Reading: Resident Evil Movie Reboot Details

    We also have our first look at the movie, with Diego Boneta (Before I Fall) in the starring role:

    As its name implies, Monster Hunter is a sprawling fantasy game that involves protecting townsfolk from marauding creatures. It's logical fodder, then, for an energetic special effects movie - something Anderson's traded in for several years now. Variety reports that, like the last of the Resident Evil adaptations, Anderson's Monster Hunter will be shot in South Africa, with the budget set at a fairly moderate $60 million. 

    The Monster Hunter movie will also star Milla Jovovich - the Resident Evil actress who also happens to be Anderson's wife. It's not yet clear, however, whether she'll play the role of the other soldier or a supporting role. Filming is underway, with the project funded by a coalition of companies, including Constantin Films and a couple of outfits in China and Japan. Unsurprisingly, it'll be the first in a series of movies if it's a success.

    Further Reading: Monster Hunter World Is the Best-selling Capcom Game Ever

    The Resident Evil franchise was never what you'd call a critical darling, but it spawned no fewer than seven movies and made well over a billion dollars globally - not bad, when you consider that the whole series was shot for less than $300 million, which is about the going rate for a major summer superhero flick these days.

    While it's not quite as colossal on these shores as Resident Evil, Monster Hunter is a huge deal in Japan. Since its inception in 2004, the action RPG series has spawned no fewer than five spin-offs across a range of platforms, and numerous spin-offs, which range from quick-fix smartphone games to the MMORPG, Monster Hunter Frontier Online.

    We'll have to wait and see if Anderson's movie can live up to that legacy. More on Monster Hunter as we learn it.

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    Battlefield 5's Firestorm battle royal mode will feature large-scale squad battles, but it's not coming until Spring 2019.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 28, 2018

    Battlefield V's battle royale mode is officially titled Firestorm. The mode will arrive sometime in Spring 2019, several months after the release of the game on Nov. 20.

    As revealed during a Battlefield V preview in September (which included details of the game's various modes), Firestorm is Battlefield's take on the battle royale mode, but it's not quite like most of the popular battle royale modes out there. Firestorm sees 16 teams of four players battle across an open-world map described as the largest in the franchise's history. Based on the size of the Battlefield maps to date, that's actually saying something. 

    This map is filled with vehicles, weapons, and destructible environments that will ideally help you eliminate your competition. It appears that the size of the map will slowly be shrunk by a giant ring of fire that closes in on the player. It's not entirely clear how quickly this ring of fire moves, but we imagine that it will work like most other battle royale games (which is to say that it will work in stages that allow you a little breathing room). 

    The fact that the brief section of this trailer devoted to Firestorm focuses on the vehicles is probably not a coincidence. Fortnite features relatively few vehicles and PUBG's vehicles are largely for darting around the map as quickly as possible, but it seems like Firestorm is going to allow you to utilize tanks and other high-impact combat vehicles within the designated play zone. 

    What's especially interesting about Firestorm is that it doesn't sound like it's going to be a tacked-on battle royale mode that is designed to remind you of other popular games. The idea of a large-scale squad battle is both true to the spirit of the Battlefield series and sounds like a mode that Battlefield fans will be happy to try out based solely on the reason that they play Battlefield in the first place

    Sadly, though, that's all still a bit speculative at the moment as we're still waiting to hear more about how this mode will work and what it looks like in action. Do you start with standard gear (or no gear)? How do classes come into play? Is there some kind of revival system? Once questions like these are answered, then we should have a better idea regarding whether or not you should be truly excited about this addition to the Battlefield mode family.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    A hockey mask, blunt instruments, and a heck of a lot of gore: we look back at Namco’s arcade video game hit, Splatterhouse.

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Oct 28, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    In the realm of video games at least, the 1980s was a comparatively sunny period: it was the era that gave us bright and cheerful classics like Super Mario Bros., Bubble Bobble, and Monty Mole. Yet beneath that pleasant exterior stirred something darker and much nastier. Just ask Namco.

    Thirty years ago, Namco was best known for the zip and vim of its arcade games. It conquered the world with Pac-Man, the first video game to introduce a cartoon-character hero and a subsequent storm of merchandising. Before and after, Namco turned alien extermination into a colorful pastime with games like Galaxian and Galaga, it turned the apprehension of burglars into a slapstick platformer with Mappy, and made driving like a maniac look oddly adorable in Rally X.

    Again, though, something evil was stirring within Namco, just waiting to be unleashed. In late 1988, that day finally came with the release of Splatterhouse, an arcade machine completely unlike anything the Japanese firm had made before. Inspired by western horror games, it was a scrolling beat-em-up, not unlike hits from rival companies: Kung Fu Master, Vigilante, and Double Dragon. But unlike most other games, Splatterhouse was outlandishly gory.

    Further Reading: The Evolution of '80s Video Game Gore

    If you’d stumbled on Splatterhouse in an arcade in the late '80s, you would’ve immediately noted how different it looked from other video games of the era. While games had been growing in graphical richness and violence for a while - Operation Wolfwas a gun-crazed money-spinner for Taito in 1986 - none were quite as gratuitous as Splatterhouse. Cast in the role of the hockey mask-wearing anti-hero, Rick, the player stalked the halls of the titular mansion, a haunted pile stuffed to the rafters with grotesque monsters and ghouls.

    Armed at first with nothing more than his fists and feet, Rick embarked on a revenge mission against the undead who’d both murdered him at the start of the game and then kidnapped his girlfriend, Jennifer. In terms of its scenario, it wasn’t unlike Capcom’s Ghosts ‘N Goblins from 1986, but in execution, Splatterhouse was completely different: punching zombies in the face reduced them to a groaning heap of bones and green goo; picking up a weapon like a meat cleaver or a slab of wood allowed you to smash enemies into a bloody mess or chop them into chunks of meat.

    Admittedly, the style was still cartoony, much like Ghosts ‘N Goblinswas, but the larger-than-life violence and sprays of claret made it feel more like something out of EC Comics, the infamous publisher whose output was considered so corrupting that it hastened the birth of the Comics Code.

    Further Reading: Rolling Thunder - Namco's Hidden Arcade Gem

    Like EC’s comics, Splatterhouse showed a voluminous - and perhaps opportunistic - knowledge of contemporary horror. Anyone with a passing interest in pop culture would have recognized that Rick’s mask was "inspired" by the hockey mask worn by Jason Voorhees in the latter Friday the 13th movies. Other details in Splatterhouse were evidently borrowed from such classics as Poltergeist, The Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and lots more besides. 

    Splatterhousewas, in short, one of the first true B-movie arcade games, and its creative swiping of other storytellers’ ideas was, like any B-picture worth its salt, done with little care for self-censorship or good taste. One level saw Rick fight a gigantic, monstrous womb; once defeated, a nauseating gush of fluid issued forth. Another end-of-level boss took the form of a huge inverted crucifix. With Splatterhouse, it seemed as though Namco had intentionally set out to make a game that would horrify parents, but at the same time, leave their kids grinning maniacally.

    The craft and sheer detail that went into Splatterhouse’s horror setpieces made it something of a pioneer - even if it wasn’t exactly the first game of its type. In the home computer and console markets, smaller developers had been turning out horror games for years. The Atari 2600 received fairly low-rent licensed games based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween franchises, while the ZX Spectrum’s obscure action adventure Go to Hell was full of tiny demons and disembodied heads.

    Further Reading: How Arcades Are Making a Comeback

    In arcades, there were far fewer precedents for Splatterhouse’s boundary-pushing brand of gore. Death Race caused a ripple of controversy in 1976, but that was because of its theme more than its visuals - running over tiny stick men in a car was considered beyond the pale back then, making it a Carmageddon for the Gerald Ford era. No, Splatterhouse’s closest forebear was arguably Chiller, a horror-themed light gun game created by the same team that made Death Race. Taking place against a backdrop of torture chambers and haunted houses, Chiller was gory, crude, and faintly unseemly. 

    But where Chiller was a relatively obscure title made with an evidently small budget, Splatterhouse was in a different league in terms of design. Sure, the action’s sluggish and simplistic by modern standards, with its 2D action making it the crazed cousin of Sega’s Altered Beast, but it looks and sounds superb. When Rick fires a shotgun, there’s a blast of smoke and crimson sparks, an impressive detail to spot in an arcade game circa 1988.

    What’s not clear is whether Namco had hoped that Splatterhouse would gain wider infamy through sheer shock factor alone; if it did, then the plan backfired somewhat. Far from making headlines with its violence, Splatterhouse simply drifted under the radars of culture’s self-appointed watchdogs. Splatterhouse wasn’t widely purchased by arcade owners in the west (probably because they were nervous about all that bloodshed), but cabinets certainly turned up from time to time in the UK - this writer has clear memories of spotting one in a British seaside arcade at the end of the decade.

    Further Reading: How Clock Tower Was Inspired by Dario Argento's Phenomena

    All the same, Splatterhouse was something of a cult hit, particularly when it appeared on home consoles. The PC Engine (or TurboGrafx-16) received a port in 1990, and while it had some of its more extreme instances of splatter snipped out, it still provided a faithful approximation of the arcade’s frenzied massacre. There were sequels and spin-offs on consoles, too: Japan got Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti in 1989, which was a kind of super-deformed parody of the arcade game shrunk down for the Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicom). The Sega Genesis received two sequels, which continued the bloody saga well into the 1990s. 

    Even these home versions didn’t generate much controversy, though, despite Namco drawing attention to the game’s content itself. On the cover of the TurboGrafx-16 edition, a splash of blood highlights the warning, “The horrifying theme of this game may be inappropriate for young children... and cowards.”

    Try as it might, Splatterhouse simply didn’t horrify adults in quite the same way as another title first released in 1988: the side-scrolling arcade shooter, Narc. That game contained digitized 32-bit graphics, a drug war theme, and action that saw criminals blown apart with rocket launchers. Instead of Splatterhouse, it would be Narc’s war on crack cocaine that captured headlines.

    Further Reading: The Absolute Best Horror Game Box Art

    Four years later, the soft-focus sleaze of Sega’s Night Trap and the gory fatalities of Mortal Kombat finally caught the attention of politicians in the US, leading to the introduction of Entertainment Software Ratings Board in 1994. By the time Namco’s disappointing Splatterhouse reboot emerged for consoles in 2010, its cover carried a genuine “Mature” rating - not the joking public health warning the original bandied about two decades earlier. 

    Still, while Splatterhouse didn’t gain the instant infamy of Mortal Kombat or Narc, it nevertheless garnered a much-deserved cult status. The game was a real trailblazer, too: with Splatterhouse, Namco was testing the boundaries of what was acceptable in arcades of the late '80s, paving the way for the similarly schlocky games that followed.

    As we’ve seen, the series continued on consoles, but in the arcade, Splatterhouse remained unique among Namco’s otherwise bubbly canon. Before he worked on Splatterhouse, designer Akira Usukura crafted the graphics for the hit spin-off, Pac-Mania. The year after Splatterhouse, Usukura designed Rompers, an obscure maze game featuring a gardener in a straw hat.

    It was as though Splatterhouse rose up from Namco’s collective imagination like a demon, briefly found its physical form in a singular arcade brawler, then vanished again into the depths of hell.

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    Resident Evil 4 had a bigger hand in the making of BioShock than you may think.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Oct 29, 2018

    When we looked back at Resident Evil 4’s legacy as the survival horror game that changed the genre, we talked a lot about the games that it inspired. From Dead Space’s unabashed adoption of the Resident Evil 4 formula to the way Unchartedtranslated the game’s cinematic set pieces to the action-adventure genre.

    Of course, when you’re talking about a game like Resident Evil 4, it’s sometimes hard to really understand the scope of its influence. Even now, some 13 years after Resident Evil 4’s debut, we’re only starting to see the breadth of the game’s reach. It was a title that invaded the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere and planted seeds that continue to sprout to this day.

    It even influenced the design of the greatest game of the previous console generation: BioShock, which began as a spiritual successor to another classic title, System Shock, but became so much more.

    Further Reading: Silent Hill, BioShock, and the Art of Scary Games

    Before he helped form indie studio The Deep End Games and released the 2017 indie horror hit, Perception, Bill Gardner worked as the lead level designer on 2007’s BioShock. In my recent interview with Bill, he recalled BioShock’s surprisingly humble early development at Irrational Games.

    “Relatively speaking the team on BioShock was way outside of our weight class,” said Gardner. “I don’t remember the exact number, but we had about 50 people in-house working on that game plus some outside help from Australia. That’s compared to a game like Assassin’s Creed, which had maybe 300 people working on it.”

    While the BioShock team may have suffered from a comparative lack of resources, they did benefit from the looming presence of a clear and common goal.

    “For the longest time, one of our core goals was to find that balance between System Shock and finding a way to balance our audience,” said Gardner. “Given that we were bringing it to consoles, there were a lot of challenges there.”

    The challenges of bringing a System Shock experience to consoles is immediately apparent to those who played the cult classic PC series. System Shockwas a game very much ahead of its time. It utilized a first-person perspective that was once most commonly associated with action-heavy shooters as the basis for a deep RPG experience. In the beginning of BioShock’s development, the team wondered whether players would be willing to accept a more complicated breed of action game. Gardner recalls that the design and impact of Resident Evil 4inspired the team to not fret about what the "average gamer" could handle.

    “There’s all these nods and all these little elements that I think you can see where Resident Evil inspired us to take the general complexity and amp it up,” said Gardner of BioShock's unconventional approach to action. “In a nutshell, Resident Evil very much gave me the confidence to say, 'Players can handle it, in fact they’re hungry for it.' They really want to get more out of their environments, out of the combat, and out of the tools.” 

    Gardner explained that there were concerns from the start regarding BioShock presenting itself as a first-person shooter despite actually being a fairly in-depth RPG-like experience. Irrational carefully considered how to implement the right kind of combat into the game.

    Further Reading: 10 Horror Games from the '80s That Scared Us

    “At the time, there was a lot of question regarding what people would tolerate in terms of complexity. We were positioning ourselves as a shooter and there’s a real pitfall there if you’re a shooter and you don’t scratch the right itch in terms of what the expectations are for a shooter,” said Gardner. “Resident Evil was a survival horror game, but they eventually added in all these combat elements...these tactical elements that made you decide, 'Am I going to jump out this window or go out this door, who am I going to take out, what tools am I going to use?' It had this interesting design and tactical elements that I would show to the team all the time.”

    Gardner specifically recalls the impact that Resident Evil 4’s opening village level had on BioShock’s approach to action sequences. 

    “We looked at that [scene] very carefully in terms of how [Capcom] handled the sandbox nature of the combat,” he said. “Not really in terms of weapons, but the environment.”

    Resident Evil 4 certainly set a precedent in terms of how environments could be used to enhance combat in non-action heavy games without overly empowering the player. In that opening sequence Gardner mentions, players are able to kick ladders, shut doors, and perform certain QTE actions specific to the area they are in. Even if these methods don't kill the enemies outright, they afford players the opportunity to preserve resources by using nearby tactical options. The most obvious example of this in BioShock would be the puddles that can shock splicers. 

    Of course, a more complex combat system only works if it's used against enemies that demand more than a pull of the trigger. So far as that goes, the BioShock team was keenly aware of why the Resident Evil games successfully encouraged players to think more than shoot.

    “There was a lot of talk about the importance of A.I.,” said Gardner. “I think one of the things the Resident Evil series did really well was that they didn’t really just mix and match the enemies ... That changed the way you’d approach those encounters. That gave us a lot of inspiration to mix up the combat in BioShock in terms of having a fire splicer and a splicer with a wrench and how those make you choose your tools differently.”

    Even the successful introduction of BioShock’s most compelling foes, the Big Daddies, can be partially traced to the gameplay fuelled storytelling of Resident Evil 4.

    “That scene where you first encounter the big daddy was a tough one to get right,” said Gardner. “When you’re trying to maintain player control, it can break the game very easily. That’s one of the reasons you see so many games go to cutscenes. When you talk about authorial intent, you can really control more with cutscenes.”

    Further Reading: How Sweet Home Inspired Resident Evil

    While BioShock's opening sequence and the Big Daddy introduction are now considered to be classic gaming moments, there was a time when these scenes weren't playing out exactly as the developers intended.

    “During playtesting for that opening, we’d have people go in the corner and put there heads down or stare at the vending machine and do all this other stuff. Meanwhile, there’s this awesome cutscene where the big daddy is smashing this splicer’s head through the glass. We wanted to make sure you saw that stuff.”

    In an effort to get players to focus on key scenes, Garnder contemplated the possibility of using a more traditional and controlled cutscene style.

    “I remember saying to [BioShock director] Ken [Levine], 'You know, occasionally Resident Evil does take control of the camera here and there. This is an important scene. Don’t you think that maybe for a couple of sequences we can take control?'” asked Gardner. “Ken put his hand on my shoulders and he goes, 'You know, we’re doing this for a bunch of reasons. The second you do that, the directors, the creators, the designers, are putting their hand on the player’s shoulder and saying, 'You’re going to be safe, you can’t be hurt here.’”

    Levine's desire to keep the player in control echoes the sentiments of studios like Valve who believe that turning the player into a viewer is a tremendous blow to immersion. It's a complicated approach to game design that often requires designers to go the extra mile in terms of crafting effective scenes that allow the player to retain freedom of movement.

    While that is certainly a broad example of how a game like Resident Evil 4 showed the BioShock team what did - and didn't - work for their vision, the game's influence can also be felt in smaller ways.

    “We got to a point when we were looking at Resident Evil’s interface for the inventory," said Gardner. "There was a long debate about whether we wanted to use a similar inventory system. If you look at System Shock 2, it had that Tetris-like interface that has you try to maximize what you’re carrying around. We thought having that kind of Tetris-y mobile interface might be an issue, so we spent a lot of time studying Resident Evil and the way people reacted to it.”

    That inventory system Gardner is referring to is one that requires the player to manage a grid-based interface. Larger weapons - like shotguns - take up more of that grid while smaller items like health packs take up less. This forces the player to consider the value of items based on their relative size and functionality. While it may seem like Resident Evil 4 proved that system could work in a console game that relied on tension, not everyone on the BioShock team was convinced it was the best option.

    Further Reading: Why Resident Evil 6 Failed

    “There were people who were like, 'Ah, I don’t want any interface at all," said Gardner. “Then you had other people who were like, ‘No, I think people like to mess around with this sort of thing.’ I think Resident Evil reiterated that design very strongly with the notion of  ‘Oh, I can pick up this grenade, rotate it this way, and stick it over here in this corner,’ and that became a little mini-game in itself. There was a big debate internally about whether that would kill the tension or whether or not it would enhance the tension because it gives you that breather, but then you have to go back in and kind of pace it out for yourself.”

    Ultimately, the team decided to settle on a more streamlined inventory system that didn't require the player to perform so much micromanagement. 

    Perhaps if BioShock had incorporated that inventory system or took control away from the player for cinematic purposes, fans would have more easily recognized the influence Resident Evil 4 had on their nightmarish adventure through Rapture. That's certainly the case with Dead Space and other titles whose roots run all the way back to Capcom's 2005 classic, whether it be through the combat, level design, or the over-the-shoulder camera. However, the influence of Resident Evil on BioShock goes to show that a game's true legacy isn't always found in its imitators. For the BioShock team, Resident Evil was proof that there is an audience for games that try something different and ask for more out of their players.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    Like the monster in your childhood closet, Fallout 3's horrors are just waiting for you to forget they exist...

    FeatureMatthew Byrd
    Oct 29, 2018

    As you get older, the idea of being scared - truly scared - by a piece of entertainment is one of those nostalgic recollections you mentally file alongside catching fireflies, playground adventures, and the way you blushed after your first kiss. Being scared by a movie, TV show, game, or book is a symptom of innocence. You might watch a horror film or read a scary novel and flinch when a cat jumps in from off-frame or feel a momentary sense of dread when the heroine opens that door you begged her not to open, but most people will never again experience that feeling of all-encompassing dread after they've witnessed their first truly terrifying piece of horror entertainment.

    There is one exception to that tragic consequence of emotional evolution. It’s possible to feel that old sense of pure horror from a piece of entertainment if said entertainment is able to convince you that it will not scare you. If it is able to invite you into its world and then pull the rug out from under you by slowly revealing itself as a harbinger of terror, then you just might find yourself being scared once again. 

    Fallout 3 is one of gaming’s greatest examples of such surprising horror. Nobody goes into this RPG classic from Bethesda expecting a world of sunshine and roses. Any game that bills itself as a post-apocalyptic journey through a nuclear wasteland is letting you know that you’re going to experience all manner of unpleasantness as you progress.

    Further Reading: How Fallout Taught the Video Game Industry the Meaning of Role-playing

    What’s more is that Fallout 3 is the third main Fallout title. Anyone who happens to be familiar with the series knows that the franchise has always utilized elements of horror. The very first Fallout game even ended with a showdown against a grotesque mutant/machine hybrid that made a convincing argument for his existence over yours. Between things like that and the wandering army of super mutants that occupy nearly every corner of the wasteland, you start to understand that the Fallout series is built on elements of horror.

    The point is that nobody familiar with Fallout in even a basic way could possibly go into the game without expecting some traditional horror. However, that’s not exactly how Fallout 3managed to exploit the expectations of even it's most experienced players.

    Fallout 3 was released at the height of what you might call the cinematic corridor era of game design. As developers explored the capabilities of advanced consoles, they began releasing more contained experiences like BioShock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Heavenly Sword that exemplified more cinematic design. In other words, developers designed games to take you on a ride.

    It was an exciting time for those who dreamed of games one day playing and looking as good as they did in those old PlayStation One cutscenes, but it came at a cost. What games gained in presentation, they lost in their willingness to let the player do wrong. Because more and more games aimed to offer a specific experience, developers became less willing to allow players to step off the beaten path and do things that might interrupt the intended pace or structure of a title. There was little to fear from a game in terms of it presenting you with something you weren’t prepared for.

    Many Fallout fans thought Fallout 3 was going to be just like one of those titles. After years of waiting for a new Fallout game, some fans were dismayed to learn that Bethesda Game Studios (as opposed to Interplay) was handling the development of the long-awaited sequel. They worried that Bethesda would develop a kinder, gentler Fallout designed to please those who weren’t thrilled by the prospect of being intimidated.

    Further Reading: Why Interplay's Fallout 3 Didn't Happen

    In its opening moments, Fallout 3 looks like it might be that kind of game. You wake up in a vault, go through the character creator, and engage in a series of mini-missions that feel surprisingly contained. It’s a purely cinematic opening that seemed to set a tone for what was to come. However, it’s not long before you leave the game’s opening vault area and step into the wasteland. While you are given a general direction to head in - a shanty town called Megaton - you also have the option to wander in whatever direction pleases you.

    Those that chose to do so likely had the great misfortune of discovering just what kind of game Fallout 3 really is. As it turns out, Fallout 3 is more than willing to let you get into trouble. The entire wasteland is open to you the moment that you step into it, which is nice, but it also means that the game’s greatest horrors can be encountered before you are even close to being ready for them. If you’re very lucky, that horror that alerts you to the dangers of this world will be a Radscorpion, a band of well-equipped raiders, or perhaps even a ghoul. If you’re not-so-lucky (as in my case), then you’ll encounter a Deathclaw.

    There is no purer declaration of Fallout 3’s desire to make you shit your pants than the Deathclaw. Shell-shocked Fallout 3 fans will gladly tell you of the time they wandered off the beaten path too early and encountered their first Deathclaw. If they managed to enable the game’s V.A.T.S. mode, then they were able to slow down time just long enough to see that a Deathclaw is a nine-foot-tall hunchbacked humanoid reptile with body-length arms topped off with bloody claws.

    Even if these unfortunate players managed to squeeze a shot off, they would have been left with nothing more than the chance to see a Deathclaw’s smile. Not only are Deathclaws significantly stronger than you, but they are so fast that some players swear they are able to chase you down long after you’ve exited the game. What’s worse is that it’s going to take quite a while before you’re well-equipped enough to take down a Deathclaw. Their mere presence makes you truly terrified of heading into the unknown.

    While the Deathclaws are perhaps Fallout 3’s most effective and famous use of horror in an open-world title, they’re far from the only thing you have to fear in the wasteland. In fact, some of Fallout 3’s best uses of horror are the ones that -- much like the Deathclaw -- don’t strictly have to be encountered in order to beat the game. For instance, some players may run across a teddy bear locked in a cage. Decide to pick it up and you will soon witness a Super Mutant Behemoth (a 20-foot-tall instrument of destruction) sprinting towards you from just beyond a nearby hill. That incident alone will make you hesitant to pick up any item in the game again.

    Further Reading: Why Fallout Shelter Is the Darkest Mobile Game

    That’s part of the brilliance of Fallout 3’s take on open-world horror. It’s a lot like the scene in Mulholland Drive when Dan tells Herb about the nightmare he is having and how he is convinced that the monster in his dream is waiting to jump at him from around the corner. There’s a monster around many of the corners in Fallout 3 and you’re never quite sure whether you’re just being paranoid about its presence or whether that decision to turn the corner is the last you’ll ever make.

    That fear is only enhanced by the rare occasions when Fallout dives deep into the world of traditional horror. Enter the now-infamous Dunwich Building and you’ll find an oddly ancient structure populated by Feral Ghouls who seem to be worshiping a Lovecraftian entity whose presence becomes strangely more tangible as you descend further into the Dunwich’s dangerous depths. It’s a voyage into the heart of terror that is as overwhelming as it is unprecedented. There’s nothing in the game that suggests you’re about to enter the mouth of madness when you enter the Dunwich Building. (Well, perhaps only the name, which is almost certainly a reference to the H.P. Lovecraft story, "The Dunwich Horror.")

    In fact, Fallout 3 uses traditional moments of pure horror so rarely and so cleverly that you’re never truly prepared for them. For instance, there’s the McClellan Family Townhome, an unmarked location that houses the remains of a mysteriously dead family and the robot servant that still tends to them by reading poems to the skeleton of a child and trying to walk a dead dog. Maybe instead you’ll find the town of Andale where two families are able to maintain their ‘50s lifestyle by killing and eating those who come near them. Of course, there’s always Vault 108, a vault filled with murderous clones who are only capable of saying “hahaha...Gary” as they pursue you.

    So why is it that Fallout 3 is so rarely referred to as a horror game? Well...because it isn’t. At least it isn’t a horror game in the way we typically classify such horror games. You go into horror games -- or any piece of horror entertainment -- expecting to be scared. They are designed for that purpose and you welcome their efforts. Of course, the older you get, the less you walk away from that experience feeling as if you’ve just witnessed something that will scar you forever and more like you got exactly what you expected.

    Ironically, it is the fact that Fallout 3 is so rarely classified as a traditional horror experience that makes it an incredible horror experience. It’s not that the game is significantly scarier than every other work of horror out there, but rather that it uses horror in such a way that makes it easy to fall back into an age of innocence when you were never certain whether the shapes you saw in the shadows were simply the by-product of an overactive imagination or something more.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    What's that creeping behind you? The most terrifyingly bad horror games ever created.

    Feature Luke McKinney
    Oct 29, 2018

    It's hard to make a scary video game because it's hard to scare someone who can just press a button and wipe out the entire world they're playing with. That's why Putin never looks worried.

    The best games manage it with slowly building atmosphere, imposing enemies, and terrible consequences surrounding your every move. Many great examples of classic horror games come to mind: Silent Hill, Dead Space, Resident Evil, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Outlast, and many more. 

    But the titles on this list aren't exactly great examples of scary games, memorable as they may be. If you're looking for some true campy goodness this Halloween, though, we've got you covered. Brace yourself for some terrifyingly bad games.


    2012 | VectorCell | PS3, X360

    Forget zombies and psychic powers, the scariest thing about Amy is how someone said "Let's make the entire game an escort mission," and everyone else went along with it. Their next release will probably be a superglue-covered controller which explodes when you save.

    The eponymous Amy is an 8-year-old girl who can magically heal you, hack computers, crawl through vents like a miniature Bruce Willis, and cause the laws of sound and space themselves to cease operation. She's the Swiss Army knife of annoying movie kids, featuring every improbably useful power any Hollywood child ever had. 

    Further Reading: The Most Ridiculous Moments in Resident Evil History

    The game mechanics are escorting down hallways, frequent healing, and sometimes slowly shambling forward. That's not a game.

    Friday the 13th

    1989 | Atlus | NES

    Making a horror game on the NES is like making glue out of My Little Ponies: technically possible, but you're destroying innocence and the bright colors make it all really disturbing. And the result stinks. The game's true psychological success was getting players to empathize with the suicidal intent of all the campers vacationing at Camp Crystal Lake after the first murder. Yes, this is stupid and unpleasant, but you've paid for it and you're going to see it through to the end.


    2003 | Sony Computer Entertainment | PS2

    Lifeline was a voice-controlled PS2 game destroyed by the same thing that ruined Wiimote lightsabers, Kinect controls, and the entire genetic future of several steam age sexbot inventors: the technology simply wasn't ready yet and fatally screwed things up. You were locked in a space hotel's control room and communicating with a cocktail waitress through voice commands on her headset. But either the space contractors skimped on the space phones, or she had a few before finishing her shift, because she could be staring straight at a slavering space monster and she'd stand there asking "What, you want me to BUN YOU CUPID PITCH?"

    Further Reading: Silent Hill, BioShock, and the Art of Scary Games

    It was a fantastic idea, and the true tragedy was that the technology didn't quite work, but the result was more like drunkenly watching a horror movie than playing: incoherently yelling at an idiot who can't hear you while they do stupid things that get them killed.

    Night Trap 

    1992 | Digital Pictures | Sega CD

    The most terrifying monsters in fiction are the Lovecraftian Elder Gods, monsters spawned from the infinite horror of the universe, terrors resulting from the sheer mind-breaking size of existence. The electronic equivalent is Night Trap. Which is what happens when you give eight hundred megabytes to developers who can't even count that high. They were given more space than they could ever imagine and hired the world's worst writers and actors to imagine it for them.

    Night Trap's cast couldn't record a convincing selfie, let alone an entire movie. You'd encounter more horror randomly pressing buttons on a television remote. Which would also be more enjoyable gameplay. There's more seasonal terror in tasting candy corn.


    2001 | Crazy Games | Dreamcast

    Illbleed was set in an amusement park filled with lethal traps. And it applied exactly the same fun-reversal technique to the rest of the game. Instead of charging forward to do battle with evil, the only way to proceed was laboriously and tediously checking every single step for traps. A much better strategy for anyone actually trapped in a horror movie, but the absolute worst strategy for anyone trying to enjoy a video game.

    Further Reading: Fallout 3 Is Bethesda's Scariest RPG

    If a first-person shooter applied Illbleedmechanics, it would start with a gun license application, feature a real-time three-week application process, and then send you to jail after firing your first shot. And that would still feel less tedious than this game.

    Death Race 

    1976 | Exidy | Arcade

    Death Race desperately wanted to be controversial, but someone drawing Carmageddon on a blackboard would have been scarier because at least they could create an awful screeching noise. In Death Race, you drove some little lines you were told was a car into a little squiggle you were told was a person, and this sentence was more exciting than the game because it didn't come to a full stop after you hit the first person. Hitting pedestrians turned them into impenetrable tombstones so that both you and they slammed to a dead stop. There's more dynamic flow in an actual dead body.

    Druuna: Morbus Gravis 

    2001 | Artematica | PC

    Druuna is a pornographic space comic character whose only function is finding new life and flinging her post-apocalyptic panties at them. And we don't mean aliens, she'd consider a janitor sufficiently "new life" to commence first contact all the way to fourth base. Her comic reads like someone thought sex was how you shake hands, and the game plays like someone loaded those scripts into a computer without bothering to convert it into code first.

    Further Reading: Revisiting Splatterhouse, the Cult Horror Arcade Game

    Druuna moves like someone who's concentrated 80% of their body mass on the outside of their ribcage and finds it even more impossible to jump without dying. No gaming character has ever been so titular. You might think the only fear in this game is somebody walking in and catching you playing it, but it strikes at the scariest thing any gamer could imagine: screwing with your save files. Because Druuna screws everything. Saving your progress damages your health, which means you have to choose between making it impossible to proceed or being forced to replay whole swathes of the game. And playing this more than once is a nightmare more terrifying than facing Freddy Kreuger on bad acid.


    1986 | Exidy | Arcade (1990 | NES)

    Chillerfeatured the worst-judged gore in gaming history. The game's entire plot was killing helpless innocent torture victims who were already motionless, strapped down, and trapped in murderous machines. But still took ages to die. This game tried to invent the Sawfranchise two decades early.

    The graphics weren't scary enough for people who like to play these games, but absolutely scary enough to terrify everyone else. If Jack Thompson got a time machine, this is the sort of game he'd plant in the past to prove himself right. Most US arcade owners refused to stock it. 

    Ju-On: The Grudge 

    2009 | feelplus | Wii

    Ju-On: The Grudge says "HAUNTED HOUSE SIMULATOR" on the game box, because even it feels bad about pretending to be an actual game. This is first-person Pac-Man without any Power Pellets: you're in a pitch-dark maze, you can never kill the monsters, you can only see a small part of what's ahead of you, and you have to keep finding randomly-spawning batteries to feed it.

    Your only play mechanic is "panicked flailing through a dark room while swinging a Wii remote." Aiming at specific points with a Wii remote is halfway between being drunk and using a Ouija board: you're at the mercy of spirits instead of relying on any kind of physics. And even the resulting drunken nightmares will have more control schemes.

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Xbox Games

    There's no way to win. Your only reward for helping your character escape the monster for an entire level is watching them get killed at the end, then taking over another equally-doomed nobody in the next. If this game were called Sea Monkey Experience Simulator, it would at least have had an excuse for lacking good motor control. The only horror is worse jump scares than someone throwing a dead kangaroo onto your trampoline. 

    Luke McKinney is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.

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    Everything you need to know about Fallout 76, including latest news, trailer, release date, story, and much more!

    News Matthew ByrdJohn Saavedra
    Oct 29, 2018

    Fallout 76is the next entry in the Fallout series from Bethesda Game Studios. Based on a brief teaser, the game is set in 2102 and centers around a survivor from Vault 76. The story takes place in the hills of West Virginia. You play as one of the first survivors to leave a vault in the aftermath of the nuclear war that turned the planet into a wasteland. It'll be your job to rebuild civilization.

    This sequel is actually an online survival RPG in the same vein as Rust and DayZ. The game, which reportedly began as a multiplayer mode for Fallout 4, will feature quests and a story as well as base-building mechanics. Bethesda confirmed at E3 2018 that the game is four times the size of Fallout 4.

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Fallout 76 Trailer

    The latest trailer brings the world of Fallout 76 to live action! Watch it here:

    Next up is a video preview featuring 50 minutes of gameplay:

    This next Fallout 76 trailer gives us a look at the opening cinematic of the game. Check it out below:

    This next trailer is all about the nuclear bomb you'll be able to use to obliterate your enemies (or friends). Check out the trailer below:

    Next up is the trailer that dropped at Gamescom! Check it out below:

    Here's a gameplay video previewing the base-building element of Fallout 76. Check it out below:

    Another trailer debuted at E3 2018. Check it out below:

    Check out the announcement trailer:

    Fallout 76 Release Date

    Fallout 76 will arrive on Nov. 14, 2018. The game is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC. 

    Fallout 76 Story

    We learned a bit about what you should expect from Fallout 76's story recently. Read more about the game's approach to the narrative here.

    Fallout 76 Details

    According to an interview with Todd HowardFallout 76 will not feature an offline single-player option. 

    What that means is that there is no way to play the game without other people somehow being involved in your experience. Why you don't technically have to interact with them, they can theoretically interact with you whenever they'd like. However, there will be private servers meaning that it is possible to host a server for yourself or a small group of people. 

    Additionally, it seems that the game will not include any NPCs that are not robots. This does raise some questions regarding how, exactly, quests in the game will be given out. Our guess is that most of the game's quest will be very simple fetch and enemy elimination affairs. 

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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    The Monster Baru Cormorant author Seth Dickinson shares one of his "favorite low stress creative outlets."

    Feature Den of Geek Staff
    Oct 29, 2018

    This is a guest post from Seth Dickinson, author of The Traitor Baru Cormorant and its sequel The Monster Baru Cormorant, a geopolitical fantasy about a woman trying to take an empire down from the inside.

    Hi! Like many of you, I grew up in the 90s, the golden age of PC gaming. Now that I write full time, one of my favorite low-stress creative outlets (and one that eats up an embarrassing amount of my time) is modding and tweaking PC games, old and new. I don’t know how to code, how to build 3D models, or, really, how to do anything useful — but to my surprise I’ve managed!

    I thought I’d share a few of my favorite projects here, as a way of showing what I care about, both in games and in stories. (This mod experience did lead me to the lore writing work I’ve done on Bungie’s Destiny, if you’re a fan.)

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club!

    I’m most interested in making games feel more like themselves — bringing out the stories that the gameplay is trying to tell. A really simple example might be the Combine Soldiers in Half-Life 2, with their incredible, sinister audio design, chattering in a clipped brevity code which reflects the way the Combine has lobotomized them and reduced them to pure utility. They look and sound like a major threat to the player.

    (Check out the way the public image of the American soldier has evolved, from the corn-fed citizen-soldier of World War II to today’s faceless, NVG-masked elite special operator. The Combine soldiers kind of seem like an extension of that trendline, don’t they?)

    Unfortunately, these guys are idiots. Their weapons are ineffective and their AI is basic; they like to stand in the open and unload in your vague direction while you clobber them to death with a toilet. The way the Combine soldiers behave doesn’t match the story their visual and audio design is telling. If I were modding Half-Life 2 (and now I kind of want to) I’d focus on making the Combine soldiers more threatening to the player, so that fighting them isn’t a power fantasy (you’re not supposed to be a superhero in Half-Life, just a dude) and so they reinforce the game’s narrative of resistance and survival in a dystopian future.

    Read our interview with Seth Dickinson.

    When I played Crytek’s 2011 shooter Crysis 2, I hit a similar problem. In this game you’re a lone soldier wearing ‘Nanosuit 2’, a super-advanced combat exoskeleton based on alien technology. You fight an alien invasion of New York even while the agents of the sinister Crynet Corporation try to hunt you down and get the suit back. The problem was that the game was too much of a power fantasy: if you hold absolutely still in front of a single alien grunt and let it shoot you, it spends so much time making threatening noises, pointing you out to its friends, and dodging around that your health can regenerate to full between its attacks. How are you supposed to be scared of alien invaders if they’re this incompetent?

    (Contrast with the enemy AI in Monolith’s FEAR, a game where you can play endless cat-and-mouse with strikingly lifelike opposition. Or with Halo, where the high-ranking Elite enemies are clearly more than a match for your character.)

    Just making the aliens do more damage felt boring, so I ended up drawing on the alien origins of the player’s supersuit. By giving the aliens the same abilities as the player — speed mode, armor mode, and cloak mode — they could feel more like peers and rivals to the player, rather than hapless victims. Through model swapping I was also able to give some of the human forces hunting you an earlier version of the nanosuit, adding a little variety to the legions of ‘soldier man in hazmat suit who shoot at you from cover.’

    I’m two for two on ‘making the basic grunt enemies a little smarter’ here, which leads us to the biggest mod project I’ve ever worked on: the open-source space opera Blue Planet. I grew up with this mod, and with the other people working on it; they’ve been a part of my life since college. Blue Planet is a fan-made sequel to the classic video game FreeSpace 2, a space opera story about humans battling for survival against a mysterious, omnicidal race of aliens. Players act as anonymous, low-ranking fighter pilots caught up in titanic events.

    Read an exclusive excerpt from The Monster Baru Cormorant.

    In Blue Planet, as in a lot of fanfiction, we wanted to dig into the psychological reality of living in this world: how do you exist, day to day, in a universe of looming existential terror? How does our relation to the cosmos, and to each other, change? Part of our answer was a civil war — a brutal, bitterly fought conflict between two democratic societies, both with a claim to the moral high ground. We wanted the player to feel like they were killing people, not just spaceships: we needed them to hear distress, desperate camaraderie, and even true bravery not just from their friends but from the people they were fighting.

    This was easy enough to achieve through writing, but what about putting that into the actual gameplay? For a long time our missions were plagued by a serious problem: in order to create a challenge, we had to add lots of enemy ships. But that meant the player had to kill lots of enemy ships, and how can you tell a realistic story about the cost of war if you’re mowing down entire squadrons by yourself? How can you give the enemy a sense of self-preservation and tactical awareness if they fly at you like Stormtroopers?

    The answer was an overhaul of the ‘how to fly a spaceship’ AI, giving them more ways to avoid attacks and a stronger tendency to break off their objectives in order to defend themselves. Even huge enemy capital ships would now warp out of the battle when badly damaged, instead of waiting around to die. Enemies could launch missiles from a distance to draw you out, then flee and jump away. This cost us some of the player’s agency, their ability to alter the outcome of the mission; but in exchange we gained a sense that you were fighting people, not just basic game AI. Most importantly, by making the AI more deadly, we could use fewer AI ships in each mission — instead of throwing swarms at the player, we could set up one-on-one engagements or tangles between forces of equal size.

    This let us give the player character a voice and a personality; now that she wasn’t a murderer of thousands with clearly exceptional skills, we could cast her as just another pilot among many, dealing with the traumas and pressures of a soldier.

    There’s a theme running through all this: the important of giving characters a sense of purpose, the illusion of internality, as fully complicated and self-directed as us, the ‘protagonist.’ And this is an interest of mine in writing too: the idea that the protagonist plays by the same rules as everyone else, and that other characters in the story, even peripheral characters, have their own agendas to pursue, their own rich inner lives, their own pasts to haunt them. This is a theme in The Monster Baru Cormorant, where we begin to get the perspective of characters other than Baru, and to learn not just how they see Baru but where they come from and what they’re conspiring to achieve.

    What makes us human? I think a big part of it must be theory of mind, the ability to think about what other people are thinking. (I wonder if this may even be the root of consciousness itself: if you can think about what other people are thinking, doesn’t that imply the ability to think about what you’re thinking?) Great fiction taps this capability, makes it work for the story. The characters we love don’t go away when we close the book. They live on in our heads because we have made little models of how they act and react, just as we do for our loved ones and friends.

    When we can coax people into creating those models, we’re telling a good story — or, maybe, playing a good game.

    PS. A few other mods I have worked on!

    A co-op mod for Ground Control 2, so it would be challenging enough to play with my brother;

    The spectacular Mechwarrior Living Legends, a multiplayer giant mech simulator (although I contributed only a very little);

    The Homeworld 2: Point Defense Systems mod, which stuck a billion tiny guns on the game's spaceships so they could defend themselves better, in the process making the game look ridiculously pretty;

    And a Kerbal Space Program mod to add women's names to the list of possible astronauts, back in the day when the game only had men's names; on the theory that the Kerbals, being little green hamster-frog people, might not be sexually dimorphic.

    The Monster Baru Cormorant is out on October 30th. You can pre-order right now via MacmillanAmazon, or your local independent bookstore. 

    SETH DICKINSON's short fiction has appeared in Analog, Asimov's, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others. He is an instructor at the Alpha Workshop for Young Writers, winner of the 2011 Dell Magazines Award, and a lapsed student of social neuroscience. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Traitor Baru Cormorant was his debut novel.

    You can follow Seth on Twitter here.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

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    Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7, Tekken 3, Resident Evil, and more will be part of the PlayStation Classic retro console!

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Oct 29, 2018

    Nintendo's NES Classic Edition retro console was a showstopper in 2016, selling 2.3 million units in less than a year, so it was only a matter of time before Sony or Microsoft jumped on the nostalgia wagon. Indeed, it's Sony who is releasing its own retro console, the PlayStation Classic, a miniature replica of the console that put the company on the gaming map. Sony announced the news in a blog post early this morning, just a few weeks shy of the revolutionary console's 23rd anniversary.

    The PlayStation Classic, which is set to arrive on Dec. 3, will ship with 20 pre-loaded games, including Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, Jumping Flash, Metal Gear SolidRidge Racer Type 4, and Wild Arms. Here's the full list of titles:

    Battle Arena Toshinden
    Cool Boarders 2
    Destruction Derby
    Final Fantasy VII
    Grand Theft Auto
    Intelligent Qube
    Jumping Flash!
    Metal Gear Solid
    Mr. Driller
    Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
    Resident Evil Director's Cut
    Revelations: Persona
    Ridge Racer Type 4
    Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
    Syphon Filter
    Tekken 3
    Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
    Twisted Metal
    Wild Arms

    The games will be playable in their "original format," meaning that you won't be playing any remastered versions on the PlayStation Classic. The console will set you back $99.99.

    Further Reading: 20 PS1 Games That Should Be on the PlayStation Classic

    According to Sony, the PlayStation Classic is "approximately 45% smaller" than the original console. You can see just how tiny the PlayStation Classic is in the comparison photo below:

    Following Nintendo's lead, Sony won't ship its retro console with an AC adapter. Instead, a USB cable will the only way to power the console. An HDMI cable will also come in the box. Players will also have to make do with wired controllers, but at least the package will come with two so you can jump on local multiplayer with a friend. 

    Further Reading: 60 Underrated PlayStation Games

    Sony dropped a brief trailer along with the announcement:

    "Long-time fans will appreciate the nostalgia that comes with rediscovering the games they know and love, while gamers who might be new to the platform can enjoy the groundbreaking PlayStation console experience that started it all," Sony said of the mini.

    We'll update you as we hear more!

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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    What you need to know about Anthem, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News John SaavedraMatthew Byrd
    Oct 29, 2018

    Anthem is the new game from BioWare, the studio behind Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The new IP is a departure from the developer's past work in the RPG genre. In fact, Anthem isn't an RPG at all. It's described as an action-adventure game running on a "live service," similar to Destiny

    In Anthem, you play as a freelancer in a city protected by a wall from the dangers of the wild. Freelancers use special exo-suits called Javelins. There are two types of suits: Ranger, a balanced suit, and Colossus, which is basically your tank version. 

    Here's everything we know so far: 

    Anthem Trailer

    At Paris Games Week, the first mission of the game was revealed. Watch the footage below:

    Here's the E3 2018 cinematic trailer for Anthem

    And here's a bit of gameplay:

    Here's the first gameplay trailer for Anthem:

    Enemies showcased in the trailer include a mixture of wildlife and robots. The game will take place in an open-world environment and will feature cinematic dialogue sections, which isn't a surprise from BioWare.

    Also be sure to check out the first teaser trailer for the studio's next game:

    Anthem Release Date

    Anthem will be released on February 22, 2019, for XBO, PS4, and PC.

    Anthem Details

    When EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund hinted during an investor’s call that BioWare was working on a new IP, many fans assumed that they were working on a new PRG. However, that's not the case.

    During a recent investor meeting, EA CEO Andrew Wilson referenced BioWare’s next IP by confirming that: “At the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP.” Interestingly, he had this to say regarding the game itself:

    "A clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways. We’re very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large global audience."

    The one term that Wilson did not use when describing the game was “RPG.” Given that BioWare and RPG go together like Nintendo and sequels to 30-year-old properties, this comes as quite the shock. BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn later took to the studio’s blog to expand on Wilson’s comments by stating that the project is designed to “bring players together in exciting new ways” and that their ambition is to "draw upon 20+ years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.”

    A non-RPG is certainly a departure from BioWare’s usual development territory, but given that they’ve been evolving their combat systems over the years to be more action-oriented, perhaps this is a natural evolution of the company’s design style.

    Wilson also stated that he is able to describe the game as more of an action-adventure title with RPG elements that will operate off of some kind of live service. This seems to indicate some kind of online multiplayer experience. Indeed, it seems that this delay is at least partially due to EA's desire to develop that service a little while longer.

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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    Everything we know about Dontnod's Twin Mirror, including latest news, release date, trailers, story, and much more!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 29, 2018

    Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Life Is Strange and Vampyr, is developing a new game called Twin Mirror. The new game tells the story of a man named Sam who returns to his hometown of Basswood, West Virginia to attend a friend's funeral. This seemingly simple event becomes far more dramatic when Sam wakes up one morning without any recollection of what happened the night before. However, a bloody shirt next to his bed leaves Sam to believe that something horrible has happened. He must now explore his hometown in order to discover what is going on and how he fits into it. 

    The game is described by Dontnod as a "story-driven investigation game” that will require players to explore a place where "the line between truth and deception is blurred." That leads us to believe that this game will explore some of the same mature themes seen in Life is Strange, but we're unsure whether this game will be more of an interactive story like Life is Strange was or something closer to a "traditional" game similar to Vampyr.

    Regardless, this psychological thriller wields a Twin Peaks meets Hangover vibe that has us intrigued. Can this game live up to the promise of its atmosphere? 

    Here's everything you need to know:

    Twin Mirror Trailer

    A new trailer arrived at Paris Games Week. Check it out below:

    Below is the Gamescom Trailer:

    And here's the earlier E3 trailer:

    Further Reading: The False Promises of Telltale's The Walking Dead

    Twin Mirror Release Date

    Twin Mirror is coming out in 2019. The game will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors.

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    Call of Cthulhu will delight Lovecraft fans but may test the patience of those who prefer a bit more action. Our review...

    Release Date: October 30, 2018
    Platform: PS4 (reviewed), XBO, PC
    Developer: Cyanide Studios
    Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
    Genre: Horror RPG

    From French developer Cyanide Studios (Styx), Call of Cthulhu faithfully captures the distinctly macabre atmosphere of its source material, Chaosium’s Lovecraftian tabletop game of the same name, which released in the early ‘80s. It’s a first-person detective game requiring sharp focus and a cerebral approach rather than quick reflexes, and while its inky, morbid aesthetic suggests heavy survival horror gameplay, the experience falls squarely in the psychological horror category, with your character’s sanity constantly threatening to unspool as you confront the main story’s cavalcade of horrors.

    It’s 1924 and you play as Edward Pierce, a troubled, substance-abusing P.I. who travels to Darkwater Island near Boston to investigate the deaths of the Hawkins family, affluent socialites who met their demise in a fire that all but consumed their sprawling mansion, the remains of which loom over the dingy harbor town below. The presentation of Darkwater and its various vistas and environments are a mixed bag, graphically. Low-res, slow-loading textures, herky-jerky animation, and low-poly character models are pervasive and distracting, at least initially. But as you progress through the story, the larger strokes of artistic design conspire to create a moody, intoxicating atmosphere that, when combined with the dark appeal of classic Lovecraftian imagery and lore, helps smooth out the minor graphical hitches.

    Further Reading: Clock Tower, the Horror Game Inspired by Dario Argento

    For those with a proclivity for the Cthulhu Mythos and its grisly, netherworldly art style will be pleased to find that Cyanide shares the same passion. From gutted killer whales washed up on Darkwater’s moonlit shores to the slimy, tentacled beasts that stalk after you down long, dark hallways, the game is steeped in the unmistakable feeling of desolation, deterioration, and bleakness Lovecraftian works are known for.

    In essence, gameplay is about performing a psychological balancing act as you navigate Pierce through the terrors and tragedies of the campaign. One of Cthulhu’s great strengths is that virtually every element of gameplay is tied into Pierce’s teetering mental state. Certain decisions you make, like abstaining from imbibing alcohol, help to preserve your sanity, while other actions, like hiding in confined spaces for too long or starting drama with the locals, push you closer to the brink of madness. The game boasts over a dozen endings, which play out depending on how damaged Pierce’s psyche is by the tale’s conclusion.

    The game’s three pillars of gameplay -- conversation, exploration/investigation, and stealth --make for a varied experience, if not a consistently enthralling one. Interacting with the denizens of Darkwater feels terrific, as the dialogue trees are well thought-out and the vocal performances are uniformly solid. Getting a sense of the island community’s social dynamics is fun, and with some verbal finesse, you’ll be able to uncover clues and open up new narrative possibilities that could change your “destiny” in a big way. None of the NPCs you meet along your journey are especially unique for this kind of game but the writing is cohesive, so the overall character work does a good job of helping create a seamless game world.

    Further Reading: Sweet Home - The Japanese Game That Inspired Resident Evil

    Most of your time playing Cthulhu will no doubt be spent scouring isolated environments for clues as you unravel the mystery of the Hawkins family, uncovering a bedrock of truth involving cults, otherworldly creatures, and some of the shadiest medical practices you can imagine. When entering certain areas you’ll be triggered to scour your surroundings for anything that could help your case, and you’ll often enter into “reconstruction scenes,” in which you use clues to piece together events from the past, a low-tech version of a similar detective mechanic from Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human. These moments are incredibly engaging and go a long way to immerse you in the narrative, putting you in the mind space of the deceased to better understand their motivations (which can often negatively affect Pierce’s sanity). There’s a neat visual cue employed in the reconstruction scenes as well, in which all color in the environment is desaturated, save for points of interest that could help you mentally re-assemble the scenario.

    Certain sections of the game involving extensive scouring and key-item collecting require a measure of patience to get through, which can be a good or bad thing depending on whether you like this kind of slow-burn gameplay or not. Cthulhu is by no measure a fast-paced, action-packed horror game the likes of Resident Evil. But its deliberate pacing is a treat if, like me, you enjoy suspenseful, mind-bending horror. Combat is essentially a non-factor here, but the lack of conventional action opens up bigger opportunities for the story and thick, demonic atmosphere to seep into your mind, putting you firmly in Pierce’s headspace (especially if you play with the lights off).

    While Cthulhu is light on reflex-based gameplay, the campaign is punctuated by stealth-based sections that see you ducking into and out of claustrophobic spaces as cultists and security guards attempt to sniff you out. The stealth mechanics are as rudimentary as they get and the AI is similarly bare-bones. These moments are the weakest in the game, mostly because unlike the other mechanics, stealth doesn’t enrich the theme of psychological imbalance, which is to say, the stealth sections feel the most video game-y and the least artistically inspired.

    Further Reading: Silent Hill, BioShock, and the Art of Scary Games

    Even less frequent than the stealth sections are a handful of action set pieces that see Pierce running for his life from all manner of cosmic terrors. Cyanide has done a fine job of making these scenes frightening, tense, and trippy as all hell, and these short bursts of action, whether you’re sprinting to escape an imploding cave, getting into a fistfight with a local mob boss-lady, or wrestling to free yourself from a slimy tendril in a hidden underground passage, act as a sort of storytelling lubricant that helps break up the narrative pace and keep things moving. Pierce will often have panic attacks, too, which like the set pieces, mix up gameplay in a nice way. The screen warbles and goes hazy as you scramble to get to safety and calm Pierce down, and this can happen at incredibly inopportune moments, which is always a wickedly fun challenge to overcome.

    One of the most intriguing aspects of gameplay is a light RPG-style skill system, divided into seven categories: Investigation, Strength, Eloquence, Spot Hidden (odd name), Psychology, Medicine, and Occultism. You’re awarded Character Points when you get past certain sections in the story or collect key items, and these can be spent in five of the seven categories (Medicine and Occultism improve as you find items scattered throughout the game world), which each open up new gameplay opportunities. Work on your Eloquence skill, for example, and you’ll be more likely to deceive, charm, and manipulate NPC’s into helping you with your case. Improve your Investigation skill, and you’ll begin to notice granular clues you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to sleuth before. While straightforward and a little thin, the skill system is actually a welcome feature that breathes life into the game, which can at times feel incredibly linear. The added layer of character customization is integral and elevates the core gameplay beautifully.

    Call of Cthulhu has some glaring flaws in its presentation and lacks a certain level of polish that would have elevated the game considerably. At times, it can look more like a last-gen title, with grainy pre-rendered cutscenes and low-res, low-poly models all abound. But there’s a good chance that the game’s strong art style and richly detailed lore will be absorbing enough that you’ll forgive its audio-visual weaknesses. This is a decidedly narrative-based experience, and while you’ll encounter far more chills than thrills throughout the campaign, the story is genuinely engaging from beginning to end, and the nightmarish visions Cyanide has concocted are sure to get under your skin.

    Bernard Boo is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.

    ReviewBernard Boo
    Call of Cthulhu Review
    Oct 29, 2018

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    Microsoft's CEO is hinting that Xbox Game Pass will be available on PC.

    Xbox Game Pass PC
    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 30, 2018

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted that Xbox Game Pass is coming to PC. 

    "Xbox has the key gaming community and the monetization capabilities. Whether it's first-party games or third-party games, we are best-in-class in that monetization and that's what's reflected in the results," said Nadella during a recent investor's call. "So given that structural position, we are going to make sure that we keep increasing the strength of the community. You see that already with Minecraft going to all platforms and that increasing the intensity of the community and you'll see us do more of that. Obviously, bringing Game Pass to even the PC is going to be a big element of that."

    It seems that Nadella may have spoken out of turn a bit (at least as much as the CEO of Microsoft can speak out of turn). Microsoft has not previously revealed any plans to bring Xbox Game Pass to PC, and this is certainly not the way that many people expected them to announce such a move. In fact, Nadella's reply came in response to a somewhat general question about cloud gaming. It seems that Nadella couldn't resist sharing his enthusiasm. 

    Who can blame him? We've called Game Pass the future of Xbox due to the practical way it allows gamers to access a variety of titles for a monthly fee. It's not quite the Netflix of gaming, but it's one of the best services of its kind in the growing market for subscription-based gaming. 

    For what it's worth, Microsoft has not confirmed that they are bringing Xbox Game Pass to PC. That means we also don't know when such a move might happen, if the costs will be the same, or whether or not the PC version of Game Pass will feature different library from the Xbox version of the service. However, we assume that the PC version will include the day one release of Microsoft Studios titles.

    In the meantime, Microsoft still lets PC gamers access major Xbox titles via the Play Anywhere platform that lets you buy certain titles on either PC or Xbox and play them on the other platform. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

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    In less than two years, the Nintendo Switch has performed better than the GameCube.

    Nintendo Switch GameCube
    News Matthew Byrd
    Oct 30, 2018

    Nintendo has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch has outsold the Nintendo GameCube

    So far, the Nintendo Switch has sold 22.86 million units worldwide. The GameCube, meanwhile, only sold 21.74 million units during its entire lifespan. This means that the Nintendo Switch has already outsold the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo GameCube in just under two years of availability. in fact, there's actually a chance that the Switch can outsell the N64 (32.93 million units) by the time its second anniversary rolls around. 

    After that, the Switch's road to breaking Nintendo console sales records becomes much more difficult. The SNES' lifetime sales figures (49.10 million units) is probably in the Switch's reach, as is the NES' lifetime sales (61.91 million units). Unless we're counting handheld systems (which, given the Switch's functionality, might be reasonable), that just leaves the Nintendo Wii's astonishing 101.63 million unit lifetime sales figures. 

    Whether the Nintendo Switch has a chance of becoming Nintendo's best-selling console ever is a matter of debate, but its current pace suggests that it might put up a fight. The fact that the Nintendo Switch sold 5.07 million units during a relatively slow six month period speaks to its staying power. 

    As far as Switch games go, Super Mario Odyssey remains the best-selling Nintendo Switch game to-date (12.17 million units) with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe trailing right behind it (11.71 million units). Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Tennis Aces seem to be the best-selling Switch exclusives of 2018, but we expect that Super Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be topping that list before long. 

    Given that Nintendo announced that they have no reason to alter their already ambitious Switch sales figures projections, we're going to guess that they already consider the Switch to be a massive success. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

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    Castlevania producer Adi Shankar is reportedly working on a Legend of Zelda series!

    News John Saavedra
    Oct 30, 2018

    Adi Shankar, the producer responsible for arguably the best video game adaptation of all time, is setting his sights on The Legend of Zelda, according to a new report from The Wrap. Shankar first teased the mystery project yesterday on his own Instagram, saying that he could confirm that he's "working with an iconic Japanese gaming company to adapt one of their iconic video game series into a series."

    Shankar also revealed that he'll make the official announcement on "Nov. 16 at 1 pm." It's unclear what time zone he is referring to, though. 

    The Wrap reports that the "iconic Japanese gaming company" is indeed Nintendo. If confirmed, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The company behind some of the biggest characters in gaming has said in recent years that it would like to explore new movies based on its properties. It's reasonable that Nintendo might also be looking at TV series opportunities, especially after the massive success of Shankar's Castlevaniaseries, which has been a critical darling since the first season released on Netflix in 2017. Soon after Castlevania's debut, Shankar hired to work on an Assassin's Creedanimated series.

    With the renewed success of Castlevania's second season, it should be no surprise that even more publishers are knocking at Shankar's door. In fact, this isn't even the first time a Legend of Zelda animated series has been rumored. In 2015, Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo was collaborating on a Zelda series with Netflix. Late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata shut down the WSJ report at the time but it seems like the Big N might have a renewed interest in the project.

    This would be the second Zelda TV series. The first aired for 13 episodes from September to December 1989. Today, the series is remembered more as an oddity to say the least.

    We've reached out to Shankar's representative and will let you know when we hear back. 

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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