Bringing Up the Average – PC – Final Exam – 2013

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Final Exam
PC
Mighty Rocket Studios/Focus Home Entertainment
2013
Genre: Action Platformer

Much like the most prolific horror series’ have, some games need reboots.  Castlevania saw one with Lords of Shadow in 2010, as did Silent Hill when 2009 brought us Shattered Memories.  On a less established scale, under-the-radar horror franchise, ObsCure, found itself requiring a reboot after Hydravision, the original developer of the series, had announced that it had closed its doors in 2012.  Shortly after, they corrected that they were rebranding as Mighty Rocket Studios.

Having marginal success with the ObsCure series and a few other games as Hydravision, the company decided to go in a different direction with the series by establishing Final Exam.  While there had been rumor that a third ObsCure game was in the pipeline, the game that was talked about and the game that Final Exam turned out to be were pretty different and initial reviews of Final Exam didn’t play well as the third game in the series (hence the unrelated title).

Given my mixed feelings between the first and second games in the ObsCure series, starting up Final Exam brought up some concerns: would I enjoy the game universe?  Would I just be mildly offended? Would I even finish if it followed in the second game’s footsteps?

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Turn Away from The Darkness – Playstation Portable – ObsCure: The Aftermath – 2009

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ObsCure: The Aftermath
Playstation Portable
Hydravision Entertainment/Ignition Entertainment
2009
Genre: Survival Horror

There are certain things that a horror movie needs to be effective, especially in the slasher genre.  First, there needs to be a discernible villain or danger; something that will strike fear into the viewer when it appears or is referenced by the characters.  Having a group of characters who are, for the most part, relatable and likable helps you want to root for the ‘heroes’ to survive and triumph over their circumstances.  Atmosphere is another element that cannot be underestimated, whether it is terrifying because of a lack of familiarity or because it is a familiar setting that has been invaded.

Cobbling together a survival horror game is the same way.  In 2005, Hydravision Entertainment released a game by the name of ObsCure, which was heavily influenced by 1990s horror films like The Faculty.  It introduced co-op horror in an effective way and made for a fun experience (which you can read my review of here, if you like).  Like any decent horror movie, it left the door open for the potential sequel, even if just a crack.  In 2008, ObsCure: The Aftermath hit the shelves for the Playstation 2, Wii, and Windows.  The next year, it hit the Playstation Portable, and in just the past few years, it arrived on Steam.

While ObsCure was a delightful horror romp with a few flaws here and there, did ObsCure: The Aftermath manage to capture the same magic that it’s progenitor created?  Let me save you the trouble:

No.  No it did not.

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Consider Your Doorstep Darkened – Playstation 2 – ObsCure – 2005

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OBSCURE
Playstation 2
Hydravision Entertainment
2005
Genre: Horror Action Adventure

Growing up with a lot of horror in my life has not left me incredibly discerning in some aspects. I love slasher movies, which are probably the most repetitious types of horror you can reference, but when it comes to horror video games, I tend to savor each of them, whether they are quality pieces of entertainment or not. Much like with slasher movies, I feel like if you are enjoying yourself and getting a little creeped out? Horror games are doing their job.

Coming across ObsCure, a title I had no reference for when I saw it coming in new for twenty bucks, was an interesting bit of kismet and has led to some fun times. As is the case with games that strike your fancy but seem to come out of nowhere, I was a little hesitant to spend the money at first, even if it was cheaper than the usual new releases, but I have fond memories of playing this game with my friends. With it having released on Steam for the PC somewhat recently, I’ve had the chance to check it out again to see if it lived up to those fond memories of yesteryear.

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There’s No Place Like… – Sweet Home – Nintendo Entertainment System – 1989


SWEET HOME
Famicom
Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror/RPG
1989

I have always been a fan of RPGs and survival horror games. Tracing them back, you can find plenty of interesting works along the way, and Capcom had given its due to the genre as well with Resident Evil. Tracing back to 1989, however, brings up an interesting experience known as ‘Sweet Home or (Suito Homu), depending on your native language. It has picked up a bit of a cult following with its strange origins and extremely well translated entrance to American gamers in 2000. Continue reading