Mild Spoilers: Monster descriptions.
Over a decade since us gamers were graced with the release of the original Half-Life game and we still are seeing mods made for it. Modding has always been a huge part of Valve games and it’s been hugely beneficial to gaming as a whole. It leads to games like counter strike, team fortress and more. Lately it’s been a great place for authentic survival horror games. Since survival horror isn’t the hottest genre lately it’s nice to see modders filling in the gaps. There’s Slender, Dead Snow and many others but for me the one that really opened my eyes was Cry of Fear.
Cry of Fear is a mod for Half-Life 1. While the developers certainly could have made for a mod for Half-Life 2 I am glad they didn’t. The sharp edges of the graphics and the old school lighting effects help create an atmosphere that anyone who grew up playing Resident Evil, Silent Hill and other PS1 survival horror games will immediately recognize. It doesn’t stop there though, Cry of Fear takes it to the next level in a few different ways.
First off, the combat system is one of the best I have seen in a survival horror game. For those who wanted to be able to take a swing or fire on the monster in Amnesia, you’ll be pleased. For those who don’t want to feel powerful in a game where you should be afraid, you’ll be pleased as well! The combat works. It is easy to understand but it requires thought. You have to watch your stamina as you spend your time dodging attacks and trying not to get torn apart. Health, especially if you play on hard or above, is not something to take for granted. You can quickly swing or fire your gun off but the monsters are fast and always take a bit to get them down. You have to balance your dodge moves with your attacks in order to make sure you don’t get ripped apart.
The monster design is also unnerving, especially when you know they are so much stronger than you. There are the floating undead Geishas hovering towards you ready to take you down. There’s bloody small children that move quickly and swipe at your legs. There’s zombies that hang from beds and float around spitting at you. There are giants that slowly romp through the park and swipe down at you unless you are fast. These are mixed up with bosses as well, each of which is well designed and not the standard “Giant Golem” that we see in so many mainstream horror games. These monsters are something different and it would make horror pioneers like John Carpenter proud.
As you progress through the meaty campaign you’ll start to get shreds of the story and learn a bit more about your characters past and why this is happening. It is unraveled progressively. While the story is not ground breaking it rivals many other survival horror games that we’ve been paying 30 to 50 dollars for.
Cry of Fear also does a great job at making puzzles simple to solve. Dino Crisis was a very fun game and I remember it fondly but some of those puzzles were just too confusing for me. Finding a key, encoding it, being told to go to some room that I can’t remember and isn’t marked on a map, going there and find another key then having to run back to encode it and then finally progressing to the next area was not exactly a blast for me. Maybe that’s my fault but I had no qualms with Amnesia! All I know is Cry of Fear does have some puzzles like any standard survival horror but they are never challenging in the “let’s confuse this guy” kind of way but only in the “let’s give this guy something to figure out while he evades these nightmarish creatures” way, as it should be in my opinion.
Even the music in Cry of Fear is great especially considering it is a mod. There’s atmospheric and heavy orchestrated music in the intro and then at certain cut scenes and the more intense moments in the game have hard hitting noise music that make the scene that much more tense.
Cry of Fear has been greenlit now and will be on steam soon. If you can’t wait to give it a shot you can download it here.
Cry of Fear blew me away. It’s not only one of the best mods out there but would be well worth paying for by any fan of classic Survival Horror. Great atmosphere, long campaign, decent story, well implemented puzzles and one of the best fighting systems for a survival horror game ever make it a memorable and entertaining horror experience well worth replaying.