Just a few days ago Kenji Eno, the mastermind behind the “D”series passed away. It’s a real shame as those games were incredible and while there isn’t much in the series to explore the 2 games in the series are somewhat forgotten survival horror classics. They offer a lot of features and little details that many games simply gloss over or choose to ignore. I believe D2 was significantly more fun than the original D but then again those games are very different and both are very unique and exciting horror games. Both are well worth checking out if you are a fan of survival horror.
The original D came out in 1995 and it handled some off limits material, as did the sequel. D featured heavy amounts of violence, cannibalism and gore as well as having very adult themes throughout the game. The original D introduced Laura Harris who continues throughout Kenji Eno’s other games Enemy Zero and D2. The original game follows her as she investigates a strange killing spree that her father has supposedly gone on. He barricades himself in a hospital and when she arrives it is transformed into some sort of dark dungeon where she must hunt her father down.
The game doesn’t allow you to save and you are on a time limit as you play. If you don’t finish the game within 2 hours then it’ll kick you back into reality and ask you to try the game again. There’s also no pause function so you have to sit there and play the game straight through. While this isn’t very difficult it does make you experience the storyline realistically just as your character does.
The gameplay itself involves collecting small scarab beetles, solving various puzzles, finding clues about your father and exploring the dungeon. It is best described as a survivor horror puzzle game. Most of the terror comes from the grimy atmosphere and the idea that you are stuck here chasing down your own demented father.
D2 came out a few years later in 199 for the Dreamcast. It is not related to the original at all however the main protagonist remains the same and Kenji Eno still made it a point to make this game stand out boldly with the taboo themes. I remember it being the first game to feature nudity and one of the first times I was exposed to such graphic surreal violence. I had watched plenty of slasher movies and seen things on television but when you see a flight attendant get torn apart from the inside and turn into a monster that is half plant it’s something special. Then her voice is distorted and she continues to speak to you while her carcass is tossed around and the plant monster starts swinging at you. It’s a hell of an experience.
The storyline involves a strange group of terrorists tied to some cult crashing an airplane with Laura on board. She awakens just over a week later in a cabin and is being cared for by another one of the passengers. As they start to talk they discover one of the terrorists has stumbled onto their property and turns into one of those heinous mutated plantlike monsters. As the game progresses Laura must learn about the cause of these mutations as well as protect a little girl she meets and herself.
The gameplay was very repetitive and that is the biggest downfall of it however it is also unique and quite a lot of fun. Typically, you’ll have about 4-5 different modes of play. The combat mode is simple point and shoot with basic reload mechanics. It’s like any rail gun shooter only you don’t move but turn side to side. Then there’s the exploring mode which involves you trudging through the wilderness seeking clues and items for puzzles. There’s hunting which is needed to get you food and help survive. There’s first person exploration which locks you onto a track and plays like an old dungeon crawler. Then there are the cut scenes, which there are many of, which fill in the blanks in-between.
The gameplay can get repetitious but it is such a change from anything I’ve played before that it manages to stay refreshing through most of the game. The cut scenes are quite frequent however the storyline is rich and enjoyable so I didn’t mind it so much. Most reviews ragged on it for those details but if you’re like me then you’ll see right past it.
Kenji Eno might not have been the most prominent game developer but his track record is something that he should be proud of. The “D” series was something different, something fresh and something lots of fun for survival horror fans. Looks like I’m off to play Enemy Zero.