Showing posts from February, 2014

The Fried Critic Survival Horror Handbook - Part Two: Touchstone Franchises

(Last time on AFC's Survival Horror Handbook, I talked about the landmark titles of the genre. These were the titles that defined being terrified at video games, works that set standards which are still in place today. Today, it's time to look at some signature series that are known for offering up bloodcurdling chills in copious amounts.)

It's a simple fact that most survival horror titles are standalone experiences, not bound by a license or established canon or anything of that nature. That being said, over the course of their existence, it's natural for some developers to tap the same well a few times over, building upon lore and canon with each passing entry. Either that, or simply using a title as an umbrella for a similar set of aesthetics and design ethos. Naturally, some of these series have built upon themselves over the years with a series of respectable games. So, like any genre, survival horror has its own set of important franchises, and today, I'm g…

Fried Obituary: Harold Ramis (1944-2014)

Today brings one of the worst losses to the film industry in quite some time. It's hard to really say anything funny or witty about the passing of this guy, given that it feels like a lot of laughter has been abruptly excised from the world in his passing. Harold Ramis, one of the most influential figures in the comedy genre within the past 30-40 years, has passed away today.

The Fried Critic Survival Horror Handbook - Part One: The Standards

In an age of annoying man-children who screech at eardrum-shattering levels, and of overrated first-person jump scare festivals that can't be bothered with any semblance of a compelling plot or atmosphere, people today aren't really getting the best of what the amazing sub-genre of survival horror has to offer. And while I wouldn't argue that it's dead, per se, survival horror still has yet to reclaim the creativity and vivaciousness that previous generations offered. So, for those not well-versed in the sometimes unnerving, sometimes bizarre, and always entertaining world of horror gaming, I figured it was high time I put together a short series detailing what you should play, what you should avoid, and what's going to make unable to walk around at night.

First up, since you can't beat the classics, here are some games that helped define survival horror as we know it today.

The Bum Rap - "Silent Hill: Homecoming"

(The Bum Rap is a column specializing in video games, movies and anime that are frequently bashed, but looked at it in a more sympathetic light.)

When you say "Silent Hill" these days, odds are that people will know what you're talking about. That's partially due to the success of the initial video game franchise, and partially thanks to the mediocre-but-enjoyable duo of films based upon them. The name alone stirs up images of creepy children, sirens, ashy rain, and a buff dude with a bloody pyramid for a noggin. But ever since the initial developer, Team Silent, left the franchise, fans have pretty much ripped apart anything with the license to come along for, oh, the last decade or so, with the possible exception of the excellent Downpour. No other entry, though, has gotten as much pure, unbridled hatred as Homecoming, a frankly unsettling story of two brothers and a cult hellbent on summoning demonic forces.

I've never really understood this hatred, because as…

Review - "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z"

The biggest problem with Dragon Ball Z games, from a fan perspective, is that it's historically been a bit of a bitch to come up with original content between the games. I mean, it's a story that's been told to death, and once you do it so many times, it starts to get a little stale. Some games, like Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (my golden standard for the franchise) strike the right chord, by including the movies, tons of characters and a smattering of different modes, on top of some rather intricate gameplay. Others, like Ultimate Tenkaichi, go for bland retellings and looks over substance and content.

Still, like people who pick up every incarnation of Madden come hell or high water, I have played essentially every entry since the PS2 era, because I am a hopeless fucking nerd for any and all things related to Akira Toriyama's ridiculous opus of bulging muscles and glorious manes. As such, I have seen the series wax brilliantly and wane most horribly. With a new developer, f…