Friday, April 26, 2013

First Impressions: Cry of Fear (PC)

I'm one of those people that does judge a book by it's cover.  Does that make me proud that on some level I judge things solely based on their appearance, I guess you could say so, but there have been times when being of that mentality has paid off.  Recently on Steam's front page, down in the Featured section, I saw a thumbnail of a gloved hand trailing against a dank looking wall with the title Cry of Fear looking like the title above this paragraph.  Below said thumbnail was "THIRD-PARTY."  The combination of the lack of price and thumbnail intrigued me to click and find out more about this game.

As it turns out, Cry of Fear was originally a mod for Half-Life 1 developed by Team Psykallar.  Now available through Steam through their Greenlight release series, Cry of Fear is it's own stand alone game, without requiring Half-Life 1 in order to play.  And, and AND, the game is free.  Yes, a free game.  You're welcome to donate to the company, kind of like one of those Humble Indie Bundle or Indie Royal Bundles, but you can play the game first.

And play it I have.  At least for about an hour anyway before deciding that I should stop, write out what I have here to say then head to bed for the night/morning.  I'm going to have pretty awesome dreams too if I don't wake up screaming, although to give the game credit, I was warned ahead of time.  Resident Evil was the first game I saw that had a disclaimer before the game started warning of impending violence and gore, which read as follows, "Warning This game contains strong language and scenes of explicit violence and gore."  Maybe these were more common on PC games, but little 23 year old me hadn't been exposed to too many M rated games; I had some, just not many.  The disclaimer at the beginning of Cry of Fear however, takes the warning up a notch with, "This game contains violence and gore, and can cause fear, depression, heart failure and suicide.  Users and viewers discretion is advised."

Now that's a warning if I've ever read one prior to playing a game before and for whatever reason, I did not feel that it came across as the developers stroking their own horns.  Sure they are to some extent, but to me, it sounded more original than saying that "This game will make you shit bricks and cry for your mommy.  Pussy."  It was all about the language used.

Back to the game.

Cry of Fear is an FPS horror game set somewhere, possibly somewhere in Scandinavia although I don't think the actual setting will be too important.  All it means to me so far is that I can't read any of the newspapers or graffiti that is used as set decorations.  That's pretty much all I know about the setting of the game.  I have come across some enemies who have managed to kill me a few times, which may have also contributed to deciding to write out my thoughts earlier than I may have originally planned.  So, the game looks like this:

Yes, the graphics are a little grainy, which could be an artistic choice or it could be because the game was originally a mod from a 1998 PC game.  Either way, I feel that the graininess adds to the overall atmosphere, which is pretty flippin' creepy.

The game was easily controlled with standard WASD keys and I was able to invert the mouse, which I am always thankful for.  I tinkered around editing some of the other keys such as crouch, but everything else felt like standard FPS PC controls.  At the present, I only have two equippable but each of those items has duel functions, something I haven't seen a lot of since Perfect Dark and something I feel should have been almost required at this point, especially for FPS games.  Your cellphone acts as both a phone and as a flashlight and your knife can either stab or slash; I don't know if there's a tactical difference but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

The music, from what I've heard so far is pretty standard fare for a horror game in that it's mainly background ambient music intended to set the mood.  I haven't come across any areas where the music cuts out entirely as sometimes happens in the Resident Evil games.  The environment noise is very well done.  The voice acting isn't great and seems kind of stilted at times, there always seem to be bright yellow subtitles permanently on, although I typically have subtitles off, so in my case I find it a little distracting.

That all being said, I highly recommend trying this game out if you like either FPS and/or horror (including survival horror) games.  It's free after all, but that doesn't mean you don't have to show the developers some love in return for their hard work.  Any game that can cause me to jump in my seat and make me sit back from the keyboard in momentary fear is the type of game that I personally would love to see more of.  

Feeling Good

I will give one pseudo-spoiler, but as it happens near the very beginning of the game, it won't be much of one, but more like a walkthrough/hint/tip.  Once you take control of the character, you will eventually come to a window.  Now, this window is a bloody damn pain in the ass to get through.  I don't know if it was an oversight or if it's intended to teach you how to jump through windows, but the point is, I spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.  For me, I was had to crouch first, then jump while moving forward towards the window.  I don't know if there's an easier way as two of the youtube videos I watched don't actually explain what they're doing.  But, just take your time, and you'll make it through that window.  Only to wish about a minute later that you could find your way back to it, board it up an build a thick-ass cement wall so nothing will come through it ever again.  Yourself included.


  1. That window is the reason im looking all over the internet to find some tips to pass it.Passed after ten mins of trying by pure luck last night.And today because i had to restart the game im struggling for 15 mins.Have to admit i read all the first impressions article and really liked it plus the whole paragraph about the window made me smile!thnk you!!!

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