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Monday, October 31, 2005

How Does One Haunt Ground?

To be a bit in the spirit of the season, The Girl and I played some of Haunting Ground this weekend. This title is a bit of Nintendogs meets Resident Evil. Well, OK ... not quite ... but close. Once you befriend the dog Hewie, you'll be calling him to your side pretty frequently and at least one sequence requires you to teach him to sit. That sequence, actually, is a perfect example of why adventure games have such a hard rap these days. And yes, Virginia, survival horror is just a deviation from those old point and click King's Quest games of old. Better graphics, more zombies.

In this sequence, you have to get Hewie to remain on a plate to raise a gate. Pretty simple, right? Except that this plate is difficult to notice, shoved off to the side of a small corner room and were it not for a guide The Girl and I would have probably never thought to even look for. In fact, when the main character enters the room, she makes note of a chair, which is seemingly useless, but completely ignores the completely vital plate. Hiding clues through obsfucation is just not terribly fun.

Still, it's an atmospheric game and I do like the rather clever "run and hide" mechanism as compared to the usual awful gun control of these titles. We haven't played with the alchemy or traps yet, either. So while a little flawed, it's been a fun Halloween distraction.

On a side note, we stumbled on the show Strange on Showtime this weekend. Apparently a 2003 BBC series starring Richard Coyle, better known as Jeff on Coupling, as a defrocked priest fighting demons in England. The tone is relatively quiet and spooky while the angle is more mystery than pure horror. Definately recommend.

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