Thursday, 15 December 2011

Penumbra:Black plague

Gamespot score:8.0(Great)

my score:7.5

(+)Pros:-Great atmosphere,-gripping story that leaves alot to be pondered upon,-manages to be scary,- challenging puzzles that require lots of area observation.

(-)Cons:-Regular enemies pose almost no threat,-far too short,-clunky graphics..even for something released in 2008.

Gameplay time:Below 5 hours

Scary games are few in the market nowadays. The top dominators for the horror genre now are perhaps the dead space series and silent hill (I could be wrong), but even so, this is a very unvisited genre. Penumbra:Black plague was released back in 2008, and it was the last in the penumbra series. I havent played overture and reqiuem, and I probably never will, but still, black plague was a unique experience, even for me. I couldnt stand amnesia, but black plague was fine. The game seemed like a brand new adventure on its own, it may be a third game in the series, but the story was easy to catch on and it quickly became an engrossing one. Penumbra:Black plague is a good horror game to envelope yourself in, wheter you're a horror game fan or not.

The story puts you in the shoes of a lone adventurer, philip. Philip was apparently looking for his father, and through his journey, he met red. But due to the events of the second game, red was killed. Now in black plague, he continues his journey, and he finds himself at an abaondoned lab. There he runs into the monsters that have been haunting him, in his quest to find his father. But in black plague, philip eventually catches on a virus, and soon becomes mad. He starts hearing a voice in his head that can attracts monsters to his position. The voice talks to him and names him clarence. Philip finds Clarence's existence a treat, and goes on a journey to attempt to eliminate him.

Always bring your handy torchlight when adventuring!

Penumbra:Black plague, being an old game, has some dated graphics. Still, the game does well in creating an awesome atmosphere that is perfect for a horror game. The areas are dark and deserted, filled with long black hallways with only small amounts of flicky bulbs used to light them up. There is no music, so threading these hallways can be quite lonely...and when you hear the slightest sound, you will turn and look around frantically to find the source....and most of the time you will run into a monster.

There are many different environments to explore, but the main theme here is a labotrary/underground base, so there are lots of hallways and rooms. Still, you will be traversing sewers, caves and some hallucination segments have you traversing hell inspired deathpits, with flames and skulls everywhere. To makes things even scarier, the monsters look kinda freaky, and the way they come at you can be pretty creepy as well. Props to the developers there.

To comment more on the monsters in penumbra, they cannot be killed. There is no way or method to actually put a monster down for good. You can have a monster chase you for long segments, but you cannot kill him. Now that makes a good gameplay mechanic. Similar to silent hill:Shattered memories, the game's horror standards are boosted significantly when you have no way to defend yourselves from the mosnters....except running of course. There are a few ways to deal with the monsters. While running works fine, the bugger will keep chasing you like a deprived beggar, until you enter a new area. You can avoid the monster completely, by sneaking past it. OR, when see or hear a monster nearby, you can hide it out by camping at a hidden location until it moves away.

When faced by a monster the options given to you to counter them are aplenty, but it all narrows down to you running away from them. Other than the monsters, there are also some cleverly made puzzles that require a lot of inspection to the environments to solve. Some of them are so hard that I had to refer to walkthroughs a few times. Moving poles, crushing cans, lighting fires...all of these are to be done by observing and using your environment surrounds, which can be tricky.

You scared bro? YOU SCARED??
Black plague is plagued by issues of its own (see what I did there?). For one, it is toooo short. Like as in, short, portal short. I cleared the game in like 3 hours or something. Yeah I used a guide, but even if I didnt, I would go crazy and still clear it under 5 hours. Its hell short. The graphics also leave something to be desired. It may be released in 2008, but it totally pales when compared to stuff like dead space, L4D and crysis. And another issue (they fixed this in amnesia), is that the enemies posed no threat. Sure you couldnt kill them, but they took way too many hits to kill you, and your sprinting speed was enough to outrun them, which is stupid.

Penumbra:Black plague, being the final game in the franchise, did a good job closing off the series. The story was pretty engrossing, and they ending left me thinking for quite awhile ( I actually couldnt sleep for a day thinking about it). Black plague is a suitable horror game for almost anyone, altough the game's lenght might be a huge turnoff.

Happy gaming....