Fancy a stocking filler that's guaranteed to scare? If so then you might want to take a peek at Monolith's Condemned: Criminal Origins, a rip-snorter of a fright-fest that combines C.S.I. with F.E.A.R. and is best played with a hefty surround sound system and the lights off for optimum pant-wetting. If you do fancy something to scare the wits out of you this Christmas then you'd do well to give Condemned a try. Sold out in most places online, The Game Collection is offering new copies of the game for just £6.99, saving you a few quid on the nearest in-stock competitor (Play - £9.99).
To date, Condemned: Criminal Origins is probably one of the scariest games I've ever played, it's certainly in the top three, and it makes Doom 3 look like a picnic with the Care Bears.
You play an average guy with a normal life who just happens to be a forensic crime scene investigator, going about his business when all of a sudden he finds himself framed for a double murder case involving two now-deceased cops. with his life on the line, our man Ethan Thomas plunges himself into the decrepit and dilapidated districts of the fictional Metro City in order to track down the psychopath that's actually to blame for all of this. So far, so Hollywood. But unlike Monolith's other first person screamer F.E.A.R., this game is actually a scare. There are jump-out-of-your-skin moments aplenty, but the game is most effective when it leads you to wonder what's lurking in the shadows ahead. Picture the scene: you've just found a fire axe in it's case on the wall, but your current weapon is still in pretty good nick so you figure you'll come back for the axe later when you need it more. But when you do return, five minutes later, the axe is gone. Someone's picked it up and is now lurking somewhere in the vicinity just waiting to hack your limbs off!
As well as fending off various madmen and two-by-four, rusty nail toting killers there are a couple of other things to deal with. The forensic sections - as Thomas hunts for clues to unravel this mystery - are brilliant, you can take pictures, scan for erm fluids with a UV light, or even take DNA samples in the game's various crime scenes. The modern day Sherlock Holmes gameplay balances out the slightly clunky, but terrifyingly vulnerable, combat mechanic. Secondly, and perhaps best of all, the more you progress, the more the narrative unravels and you begin to descend into madness yourself, unable to tell what's real from what's not. Whilst battling crazed maniacs with literally anything and everything you find, you'll also have to figure out whether they're insane, or whether or not it's just all in your own head.
There are very few games out there that can send genuine shivers down my spine. Condemned's brilliance comes from its frighteningly vulnerable protagonist, a cracking story, moody atmosphere and great gameplay. It's relatively short, but it's worth double this price at least!
Thanks to lulu123 at HotUKDeals