Friday, October 14, 2011

Overblood: October Horrorthon!

This October I’ll be trying to get through as many horror games in my backlog as possible. The first game in the Horrorthon is Overblood. I found out about this game from the sadly defunct Consolevania were it became a running joke throughout the show. I thought I’d get a laugh out of how bad this game was but to tell the truth it was enjoyable in its own way.  It’s by no means a classic and there’s plenty of unintentional hilarity but it’s not the absolute train wreck I thought it would be.

The story begins with the main character waking up from a cryo chamber in an underground research lab. In an original plot twist the character has amnesia but finds out from a computer that his name is Raz Karsy. After finding an orange anorak to stop himself from freezing, only matched in the unfashionable stakes by the main characters beard, Raz teams up with a friendly robot named Pipo. Together Raz sets out to discover what is happening in this research facility and who he is.

The game uses the same tank controls as resident evil but to call this a resident evil clone is a mistake. There’s very little combat in Overblood, perhaps only 5 actual enemies show up in the entire game.  Overblood is much closer to an adventure game where the main obstacles to overcome are the environmental puzzles. The puzzles in Overblood tend to be very easy with very little backtracking and all of them are very obvious. There are some flaws however. You have two stances in the game, standing and ducking and sometimes the game requires you to search for items while ducking. This can lead to some frustrating moments where you don’t know what to do to advance the game and consulting a FAQ can lead you to banging your head off a wall with how stupid some of the design decisions in the game are. 

What little combat there is in the game is terrible. It’s mostly hand to hand although you do get a gun later on. Enemies other than the final boss will demonstrate some remarkable AI for a game so old and repeatedly run straight into your fists. Speaking of the final boss, you are better off saving your handgun ammo for this guy. If you die on this boss you will have to sit through 5 minutes of cutscenes before you can fight him again and more long cutscenes before his second form. You can pause most of the cutscenes but you can’t skip them. There are some proto QTE events in the game but they are a pain since you don’t tell you what button to press and you’ll keep getting kicked back to the title screen if you mess up and may result in a lot of unsaved progress.

The graphics are pretty subpar and provide much of the games unintentional hilarity. The animations in particular are horrendous, in particular the ladder climbing animation. I will give it some credit since the game uses a weird custom texture filter that reduces the blockiness on textures and is the earliest PS1 game I know of that attempts this. The storyline is pretty cliché and you’ll have the whole thing figured out well before it’s revealed what exactly is going on. The voice acting is pretty crap with long awkward pauses between lines and some bad localisation, par for the course for PS1 horror games I suppose. The bad writing and acting does lead to some unintentional hilarity; the scene when Raz meets Milly for the first time had me nearly crying with laughter.

Overblood is far from a classic but I’ve played far worse games. The controls are rotten, the puzzle design can be stupidly frustrating and it’s all a bit cliché. I did enjoy my time with the game in a bad B-movie way and it provides enough unintentional hilarity to break up the boring parts. If you are someone that can appreciate a bad horror film then it might be a fun diversion especially with some like minded friends.

If you don't mind spoilers then check out one of the games 'best' scenes:

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