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Survival of the fittest

With the most inconvenient timing imaginable, during the longest period of bright sunshine to have graced the UK, my desire for gaming horror has once again risen to the fore. So, naturally, I dug out my copy of Resident Evil, made it as dark as possible (not very as it turned out) and plunged once more into the mission that turned into a nightmare; to be reminded once more of what an amazing example of survival horror that it truly is. The fixed position camera angles create an extremely restrictive view point which only serves to ratchet up the tension; never truly allowing you to see around corners or across full rooms or corridors. This is incredibly effective as a fear inducing tool as often you can hear enemies before you see them, but can never be quite sure how close they are to you or exactly where they are without taking the plunge and moving forward into the unknown. The audio team for this game did a superb job, perfectly weaving a net of strange sounds, suspicious noises, zombie shuffling and flashes of spine tingling music as you explore your way through the mansion. Visually, the game still looks good today. With detailed rooms and excellent enemy animation, the game looks real enough to create scares. The most successful thing this game does however, is that it really manages to evoke the emotions of a true survival horror. You truly do feel alone and isolated and completely defenceless as you explore ever deeper into the mansion’s secrets. With little health and ammunition, and flight being the only real option for survival, the game really does emphasise survival over action. If you have not played this game I urge you to do so; turn off the lights and crank up the volume and enjoy. I realised however, that for me the scares have been dulled somewhat by over familiarity, so I decided to explore a genre that I have always somewhat neglected. Rather than reach for Resident Evil 5 or 6, which have lost all feeling of survival horror and have moved fully into the action/combat genre, I promptly bought Silent Hill 2 and 3 and I’m eagerly waiting for them to arrive. I have also discovered some classic horror games which look like absolute gems despite their age. Indeed, the lack of graphic power does seem to have forced the designers of some of these games to use real ingenuity and creativity to create an atmosphere of terror. Below is a link to a video which contains many of the horror games that I think look like excellent examples of the survival horror genre. I hope the video inspires you as much as it has inspired me, also please feel free to let me know of any games that may have been missed of the list.



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