Pathologic 2 Comes To PS4: The Only Time “Going Viral” Is A Good Thing

Pathologic 2 Now

Grim, the understatement of GIF explanations.

I still haven’t played Ice-Pick Lodge’s rather unsettling survival horror game Pathologic 2 other than a demo from a few years back, but I want to eventually. The first game was quite good, but woefully depressing as its three playable characters each with their own aims, tried to figure out the dealing with the deadly plague that had taken over a small town with only 12 days to find some sort of resolution. That the game initially came out in 2005 makes it suddenly timely in some respects, but if you’re going to go pick it up on PC, don’t expect to be much of a “feel good” experience.

The stylized visuals and very methodical gameplay featured a mechanic where quests disappeared once a day was complete, so fast work was required in some areas lest a character integral to the overall plot expire. The interesting thing was it seemed impossible to do everything that was tasked, so the replay value was in maximizing one’s efforts and trying the figure the most efficient means to work through problems that arose. The tensions that arose from doing certain tasks while the Sand Plague crept inexorably forward made the game compelling, especially when one didn’t use any walkthroughs and took each day as a challenging survival puzzle of sorts.

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(Not So) Random Film of the Week: The Flesh Eaters (1964)

THE FLESH EATERS

Cheesy, but very perfectly so.

TFE_adI think about Jack Curtis’ exceptionally cheesy but really awesome sci-fi/horror hybrid The Flesh Eaters maybe a bit more than I should, but there’s a good reason for that. It was one of the many fright films I grew up watching on television so many times that its unnerving 91 minutes were engraved in my brain for decades. While I’d seen many other horror/sci-fi films as a kid, this particular one stood out for the unsettling for a kid gore factor and overall tone that screamed EC Comics-style nightmare fuel.

I found out later in my teens that it was written by very prolific DC, Marvel and other publishers comics writer Arnold Drake who also made storyboards for the film to assist the director. It’s also by location, classifiable as a New York-based film because it was partly shot in Montauk, New York. The plot kicks off as a small seaplane takes off from Manhattan, runs into a bad storm, and is forced down on a small island in the area with, let’s just say, some rather interesting results in store for all involved.

 

 

On that plane are faded starlet and professional drinker Laura Winters (Rita Morely), her lovely but very harried assistant Jan Letterman (Barbara Wilkin), and debt-ridden pilot for hire Grant Murdoch (Byron Sanders), all of whom survive the in-flight stormy surprise landing. They soon meet a German-accented marine biologist Professor Peter Bartell (Martin Kosleck) who’s all by himself on the island save for his little microbial friends whom we will soon find out more about. The not so good Professor has taken up some evil WWII experiments in breeding nasty little bacteria who need fresh flesh to thrive, and between the human and many more fish skeletons that start turning up in the troubled waters around the island, everyone is in for quite a bad time if something REALLY stupid happened to that plane, right?

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It’s too bad the folks on that plane didn’t see the beginning of the film as the in-flight movie, as they kind of missed out on a few important things…

Guess what happens to the plane? Free popcorn to the winning guess!

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Review: Dawn of Fear (PS4)

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How come no one has a sledgehammer handy so they can bust the heck through those locked front doors in these games?

DOFYou’ll either like or not like Dawn of Fear ($19.99) for a few reasons. You’ll like it if you’re a big of the classics for the strict, stick to the script “survival” horror gameplay borrowed liberally from the first Resident Evil, with a touch of the more unsettling Silent Hill for good measure, very limited save function, static to a fault camera angles, blind spots, rigid aiming, low ammo counts and all. You’ll not like it for all that if you’re a newer survival horror fan or an old fan of the genre that’s moved on to games with more freedom of movement and a plot that makes more logical sense. Plus there’s a somewhat spotty localization that needed a bit of work, as it’s a bit cringe-worthy on the grammar side. Oh, and there were some pretty awful bugs and glitches at launch, some of which stopped the game cold and either forced a restart, or had you go back to an old save to hopefully restore things.

A recent patch helps a great deal, though. It turned the sluggish movement speed to an always run animation that helps a tremendously (even though the instructions still state holding the Square button runs, when it now doesn’t). Although you’ll now zip into camera angles that switch so fast it’s tricky to not run back into an area you just left. Glitches that were major visual and technical ones seem to be stomped out, but sometimes areas you explore still load in pieces. For example, you’ll be walking running into a dark room in that mansion and the lights suddenly switch on, but it’s not the lights, just an area on the map that’s loading in its pre-rendered details (oops).

 

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A (Very Good) Thought (2)

A Bad Man

It’s just one of those days, is it not?

If at some point today you woke up in a cornfield without having been turned into a jack-in-the box, consider that a very good thing, sort of. There’s a way out, but it’s a bit of a hike, though. You do have a compass in your pocket and some good walking shoes, I hope?

 

Thanks, The Twilight Zone!)

 

Who would have thought a lot of people just wanted some cheap peach brandy and a good Perry Como record… and that the late Rod Serling had a built-in barometer?

-GW

Dawn of Fear: Some Residents Are Quite Evil Here

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I like the PlayStation Talents program, as it’s been bringing a few games to players from quite a few indie developers in Spain that might otherwise be ignored in a market crowded with new releases every week. Survival Horror fans have a new game to look at with Dawn of Fear, from indie team Brok3nsite. Take a look at this trailer and get the warn and fuzzy zombies coming after you feeling once more:

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DOOM Eternal: More Kicks To The Devil Butt, Guaranteed

 

I did love the DOOM revival from 2016 because the game managed to be as fun to play as it was funny when necessary. It also defined its lead as a total demon-slaying nightmare that, yes, even some of the demons feared and you weren’t just killing them for fun and games. All that slaughter was your job because some rather stupid smart people had messed around and screwed things up by letting those demons into onto Mars (science!) and you were the person chosen to clean up the mess with how shall we say, EXTREME prejudice.

DOOM Eternal looks as if it’s also packing the same zippy no-cover fast-kill action as the last game (which was a welcome return to form from the first two DOOM games from the ’90’s), but as with the revival, I prefer to go in as cold as possible and be thrilled over knowing whee every enemy and secret is out of the gate. Kids, this is how gaming never gets old for me. The less I know, the better the game gets. On that note, I’ll probably ignore watching important spoilers from this moment on, as that new trailer sure teases a whole lot, doesn’t it?

 

 

-GW

Review: CATS (2019)

CATS_MPSo I did something out of the ordinary (for me, as least). I went and saw a film I didn’t like the first time with hopes that the second time would me somewhat more enjoyable. It wasn’t, but at least what I saw was a bit more polished and I kind of got it a tad more. Yeah, I saw CATS again. Granted, the first time was a freebie, as a friend had planned to take his wife when the film opened. They went to see the last Star Wars film together and CATS was her pick for the next film they were to see, but she got sick, so I got called up as a last minute substitute player. I still haven’t seen that Star Wars movie yet, by the way.

Anyway, I was astounded by how very well-made but very off-putting this expensive film was and started writing a review in response, the opening paragraph which is below:

I was planning to save this one for when my writer’s block was slamming a book down on my fingers, but this review is practically writing itself for me as we speak. CATS is so very memorably atrocious that if we ever get visited by alien life in the future, I think those aliens will somehow unearth a print that’s been buried somewhere and may think we were ruled by a feline race that we made extinct because we got to see them as they really were.

There was more, but after looking at the finished review, I ended up trashing it it because it wasn’t constructive at all and even though I managed to make it a tidy 501 words, not too many of them were positive. So, I decided to chalk it up to the unfinished quality of the first run print’s unacceptable CG and yesterday afternoon, I flipped a coin and went to see it again, as the fixed version was out making the rounds. Mistake, meet blessing in disguise, as there was a blind person in front of me using a folding cane buying a pair of tickets to the showing.

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Random Film of the Week: Dracula/Horror of Dracula (1958)

dracula_01

Now, that’s a title screen, Isn’t it?

draculaAmusingly enough, I was wearing a Famous Monsters of Filmland T-shirt I got as a gift when I ran into an older neighbor in the supermarket last week who mentioned that as a kid, her parents took her to see Horror of Dracula back in 1958. She was only 8 years old, but was a big fan of sci-fi and horror movies, noting her parents were as well, and they’d make trips to the movies regularly. She noted she couldn’t sleep for about a month or so, but not because of Dracula, mind you, as (spoiler!) he’s as dead as a door nail at the end of the film (well, until his revival in the next films), but because of his brides.

She was convinced they were going to come after her for some reason and I noted that I’m sure many people who’ve seen this film sure as heck wanted a nibble on the neck from any of the lovely ladies in that film, vampires or not. Maybe even a few too many nibbles.

She laughed, and said “I know, but there was one in particular… what’s her name? The one that looked like a cat?” I thought for a few seconds and guessed correctly it was Andrée Melly, who indeed did look like a cat, and yes, briefly played that favorite bide of too many others as well. The neighbor let out a loud laugh. “Well that was fast! I guess she made an impression on you, too!”, which made me laugh as well, as there’s a pun in there she didn’t realize she was making. Anyway, we chatted a bit more and I helped her get a big aluminum baking pan off a high shelf for the ham she was making, as family was visiting that weekend. She paid for her groceries and left with a wave, thanking me for jogging her memory.

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Meow! Careful. I hear she bites…

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ITTA: (Bullet) Hell Is Other People In This New PC and Switch Game

My inbox is a treasure trove of indie game info, so much so that it takes time to sift through all the emails I receive about so many games each week. Okay, it’s a BURIED treasure trove at times, as I sometimes get a few dozen pitches a week, I’m still catching up with games from 2019! In an attempt to rectify this, here’s info on a *new* release that will hopefully, pique your interest as it did with mine, ITTA, for PC and Nintendo Switch. It does look pretty interesting, that’s for sure:

 

Created by Jacob Williams, a solo developer at Glass Revolver, the game mixes what seems very like a frantic boss rush mode in a campaign that’s bound to test the skills or anyone willing to pick up a controller. The game also has some horror-themed elements so it’ll be right up a few alleys. I’d say. Yes. this one goes on the review request list, so check back to see my impressions.

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Well, soon, I hope…

-GW

Preview: The House In The Hollow (PC)

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Well, this looks innnntersting, department (Volume 1174): While it’s not complete yet, PSINE Studios in progress title The House In The Hollow caught my eye as a game to watch for 2020 or whenever it’s released. Take a gander at the trailer above and below and go wishlist this on Steam if it floats your boat. This looks right up my dark alley, as these days I’m older and slower (creak, groan), but still like adventure games as long as they don’t require lightning fast reflexes. The Unreal 4-powered visuals are the icing on the cake here, so it’s good to-see even with some early alpha testing, it looks really fantastic.

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I’ll flit back in at some point to post a follow up on this. I do like these sort of games, so let’s hope it all comes together and maybe gets some sort of console port in the future.

-GW