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Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.
Karnith Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

I have to say that dreadi has a point about monster variety. It gets tiresome very quickly in horror games when you fight the same monster again and again - which is why I never found Resident Evil games particularly scary, though they were great amounts of fun. While it would probably require much more effort to have a bunch of unique monsters than the same one several times, it would be much more unnerving for the player.

Even without different monsters, though, different types of AI among the same monster would also greatly benefit the game. Even though I love Overture, the dogs get old fast because all they do is run in circles and occasionally leap at you - something that you can always dodge in the same way (namely, running or getting on top of a box). That's why the first Tuurngait in Black Plague was so scary - after getting used to dogs and spiders, seeing a humanoid creature who actually bothers to search you out means that you need to radically alter your play style. But, again, once you hang around watching them long enough, it gets really boring and tedious to have to deal with them. So even just programming different behavior for the same monster could be a good way to ramp up the scare factor.

For an example, imagine two monsters, A and B, identical but for their behaviors. Monster A is all about brute strength and force. He'll burst down doors, smash things up, and run around the room looking for you, but he isn't very thorough and one can always tell when he's coming, so there's ample time to find a good hiding place or simply book it before he can get to you. Monster B, on the other hand, is very slow and methodical, carefully combing over every place he enters to make sure that he hasn't missed anything. No hiding place remains safe forever when he's looking, and he casts glances across the rooms he's in while searching for you. But this lends him to be predictable, and you can sneak out while he isn't looking. The downside (for the player) is that the monsters appear identical, so if you randomly find one before he finds you, you won't know what he'll do if he knows you're there. Which would, hopefully, make the encounter scarier. Or at least harder.

Not to mention that, since Amnesia has definite Lovecraftian influences to it, it would be strange for an elder god to spawn a bunch of identical monsters who all think in exactly the same way.

And, oh, I guess this is my first post. Woo-hoo.
05-08-2010, 05:31 PM
Telorath Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

For me, at first, the dogs were terrifying. Early on, I looked for every way I could just to get AROUND their patrol rather than having to sneak through it. I did not kill my first dog until I found the biologist's lab. For some reason, I was under the assumption that the door to Shaft 12 was locked, so I found myself running in circles for quite some time. And since every time I needed to get to a major room I needed to pass a dog.. I got a little sick of it. Finally, I just started systematically killing them all. Now not only did I realize that they weren't all that scary, but there was NOTHING left to give me pause. A welcome relief considering I had to make about three or four more trips through that area. My first encounter with the Rock Worm was more comical than terrifying, as I tried to hide in the shadow near the door. I only had a brief second to be startled as the creature ate me before laughing at how foolish my plan had been with a "Well, that was dumb. Plan B". The second encounter however WAS scary- running for my life with the worm nipping at my heels. At the ending of Overture, I saw the silhouette in the distance, and slowly walked towards it. As the lights went out, I gathered my courage, drew my pick-axe, and ran at it in a blind and brave battle charge. We all know how THAT turned out.

A day or two passed before my adventure continued- I got Overture through the humble indie bundle, and did not yet have Black Plague. Overture took me by such surprise I could not help but buy the rest of the series. What I had expected to be a dumb twenty minute distraction had kept me on the edge of my seat for an entire night, and kept me adventuring even the next day.

Then I saw my first Tuurngait. When I heard it coming I shrugged, ducking into the nearest dark corner. Then it opened the door and walked in. My heart stopped.

Spoiler below!
"Wait, wait. IS THAT A ZOMBIE WITH A FLASHLIGHT?!". Thankfully, he did not point his light in my direction, but it was some time before I felt comfortable attempting to leave my hiding spot.

As the game continued, I found that the way in which enemies were handled had vastly changed. No longer was there an enemy waiting around every other corner. No longer was an enemy as simple to deal with as sneaking behind it and bludgeoning it to death. Running and hiding were now my only viable options. These enemies were almost perfect, except for one small issue- There should be a feeling of terror when cornered, and almost a certainty of death. Instead, all one had to do was wait until the Tuurngait got close and then bolt past them- the chase was now on once more, and the chances of running into another dead end became near zero. Often times the Tuurngait would not even manage to strike you as you zipped past it. Even still, I much prefer Black Plague's handling- They're far and few between, keeping them from being an utter nuisance while getting from point A to point B. However at the same time, they're considerably more dangerous, and a persistent threat that you can't kill and be done with.

It should be noted that I was basically always on the edge of my seat, spending most of my time sneaking without my flashlight or glow stick ever active. The only time I was ever satisfied that there was no enemy around the corner was the instance in which I knew there HAD been and I'd already killed it.
05-11-2010, 11:25 PM
RoyaleBeast Offline

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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

the spiders scared me when in the tunnels running but then i learn that the flash light scares them away then i chased them so a simple discovery made them as scary as flowers in a field
05-11-2010, 11:43 PM
nofsky Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

The tuurngait zombies were scary at first but towards the end they became nothing more than a nuisance. They were simply too easy to outrun and avoid, and when you realize this all fear is lost.

The same happened with the guard dogs in overture but to a lesser degree as they were actually fast runners (often while fleeing you'd have them biting you in the back), they called for backup and were fairly tricky to kill/avoid. Being spotted by them often resulted in death or injuries unless you were prepared.

This is one of the reasons why I think Overture was scarier than Black Plague.

Just imagine if in Black Plague, you suddenly met a zombie with a machine gun that started spraying bullets after you as you fled in horror. That would be scary! That's an enemy that you'd really fear and would make hiding/sneaking a must.

For Amnesia I hope the enemies are less forgiving and less predictable.
05-12-2010, 04:43 PM
TheLittleGarfield Offline

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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

(05-12-2010, 04:43 PM)nofsky Wrote: Just imagine if in Black Plague, you suddenly met a zombie with a machine gun that started spraying bullets after you as you fled in horror.

I would laugh my ass off

05-12-2010, 06:24 PM
RedGroovy Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

Changes in the enviroment, big and small, are scary as well. Not knowing what or whom could've been in there with you. For instance, you exit a room with all of the objects in their original positions, and as you re-enter examining, you notice an object(s) out of place. Little details like that play a big role in making you think and imagine things.

Silent Hill games were scary as hell (only in the beginning), due to the part that there wasn't any ambient music. It was total silence. So your ears were trained on focusing in on every little sound.

Amnesia would be perfect if it would get you to just generate an image or an idea of the monsters instead of you actually encountering any.

Also, mirrors scare the hell out of me. Confused
05-13-2010, 12:18 AM
naturon Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

A lot of good points in this thread. Here's my take on it:

I had been watching a video on YouTube of "the top 10 scariest games" I believe; just hoping I would find something new to play, as I had basically played all of these so-called scary games that were pretty much action games in disguise. So I noticed this video called "Penumbra tech demo" in the related videos and the name intrigued me so I clicked it. I got to see the very impressive physics and lighting and noticed a comment saying this was one of the scariest games ever made because of how you can't really kill anything. I decided to buy the entire Penumbra collection during the Steam holiday sale and started up "Penumbra Overture" on Christmas "day" (here in Iceland dawn breaks around 12am and it gets dark around 5pm in the winter). I watched the intro movie and played around with stuff on the boat, got off and then descended into that dark abandoned mine. I remember getting really afraid by that point because I didn't know what to expect. I played the game as usual until I stepped out of the living quarters and heard the howl of that dog and felt as if my nerves were made of rubber. I slowly built up the courage to move on, and hid behind a box, I peaked outside of my safe hiding place and saw those terrible glowing eyes and that hideous growling. I stayed there for at least a minute and waited as the dog was coming back and I was somehow courageous enough to follow it... I took a different route and decided to consult the map and that's when I realized something. I have no idea where the dog is... it could be anywhere... oh god I can hear its growling, is it coming near me? As the growling faded away I crept as swiftly as I could to the office and "saved the game" (didn't actually know those were save points then). I was absolutely shivering and I decided to close the game immediately then. This remains one of the most vividly terrifying video game moments I have ever experienced.

Why was it scary? Helplessness, confusion, mystery and terror are all words that one could use to describe this first encounter. In hindsight, it's really quite simple. Basic patrol route for an AI that reacts to sound and movement, brilliant lighting and sound (and seriously, that music fit the mood absolutely perfectly) and a sense of inferiority. Given my pretense that enemies could not be killed I was absolutely not going to go anywhere near any of them. Needless to say, I didn't play the game again until a few days later and I moved on. The game kept quite a steady atmosphere for that first mine part. I was afraid to move, absolutely terrified of whether or not I would meet a dog. It was later that I was sneaking around the place with the storage room that I noticed a dog gazing right at me and I absolutely froze in place. I saw it twitch and prepare itself for attack and it ran at me. I got really desperate and started clobbering it with the hammer. Took a few hits, but I noticed that beating it just as it stands up causes it to fall back to the ground. It was then that I realized that enemies could quite easily be killed, and I made the TNT stuff and blew my way out of the mine, unfortunately encountering the other dog, which wasn't as big a fright. All of the subsequent areas were all very well detailed but I soon realized that I had nothing to fear from those dogs. That was until I reached the spider caves. I won't say I'm arachnophobic, but I am pretty afraid of spiders and so as I got up into those caves and had the only exit cave in, I went into the first sub-cave in the area and watched those spider eggs. They hatched and then I noticed the spiders run all over me as I tried in vain to escape. Very terrifying moment and indeed a breath of fresh air, because the spiders can't be killed as easily because they're always in larger numbers. The other spider cave in the game was nothing short of scary either. Why were these caves scarier than the rest of the game? The feeling of claustrophobia, of fear and of nakedness.

Towards the end, I began systematically stalking and massacring all of the dogs. Very easy to do and the game lost all of its scare factor there, but even so the feeling of loneliness made the game scary in itself. No one there but you and your fears...

I would go into detail on Black Plague but all I need to say is that game never let up with its scariness and even though I knew quite well that the areas were absolutely empty, I was still being very careful. The hallways at the end are some of the most scariest moments in gaming for me and I really don't understand how anyone can say they are not scary. Yes the infected are easy to outrun and it's relatively easy to hide from them. But what if... What if they corner you? No way to defend yourself. Of course cornering you is not a problem as they are easy to avoid but you are still left defenseless, which is a lot scarier than being able to kill easily. They are still there... wandering...

I'm sorry for this incredibly long post, here's a concise and condensed version of this:

Penumbra is scary as hell.
05-13-2010, 01:43 PM
Sexbad Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

I found it's best to play on hard because the dogs take more damage and call in doggie backup faster and the infected run faster. Normal is fair, but it gives more of a chance to escape any threat.

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05-13-2010, 07:58 PM
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-[Badger]- Offline
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RE: Monsters, and Why They Aren't Scary.

Wow, there are some novel sized posts here.

I have found that the scariest things in games are those that you CAN'T interact with. like the tunnel with the spiders, you heard them, and saw them run past at the end, but never ran into them. when I eventually did and could kill it, it became another enemy peon. the dogs, same deal. once I could kill it it was less scary. With the Tuur, it was mixed. Its what you cant see and cant beat that is terrifying. I always return to STALKER with the Wraiths. When I first encountered them it was alright. random objects thrown at my head from no where. I thought they were like gremlins in the vents with psychic powers, but I could never find them to kill them. the 2nd time playin through I even saved it and refused to go into the basements where they were. it wasn't till I saw the release material for the prequel about the wraith that it became clear to where it was and how I could kill it, they became less scary. The Tuurngait you cant kill and that keeps them scary; at times.

Outside Enemies, The character effects make the experience, with good environmental sounds. the heavy breathing. the increased heartbeat. the shaking. the random howls. I am Really excited for Amnesia, I can't wait.
05-14-2010, 06:18 PM

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