That Which Rocks My Socks

Nightmare material

Having a baby has really changed my gaming habits, but this week I managed to finish two different games. The first is Hellnight, a phenomenal (and pretty obscure) PS1 horror game. I’ve posted a review, but the short version is that Hellnight absolutely rocks, it’s pretty damn scary, and it succeeds despite PS1 graphics and an extremely simple game interface. This is a game that anybody who thinks next gen is required to make new experiences should play.

The second game isn’t a horror game, but since I’ve discussed Suda51’s games before, I thought I’d give a little shout out to No More Heros. Grasshopper’s latest is as self-referential and post modern as it is hilarious and fun. With constant references to video games as a medium, No More Heros is a game clearly made by gamers for gamers. At the same time it experiments with “breaking the fourth wall” all the time; the characters are often speaking to you the player rather than to other characters in the game world. Other than the Metal Gear Solid series, this is pretty much unprecedented in medium, and I really enjoyed it. Oh, and the combat system is pretty hot too.

20 thoughts on “That Which Rocks My Socks

  1. Hellnight! Hellyeah!

    Still (probably) the scariest game I’ve ever played. Siren and the first Silent Hill comes close, but I think this one beats them, just because it still scares me after repeated plays.

  2. I also just finished No More Heroes. After that and killer7, I think I’m in love with Suda51. Brilliant, brilliant games. He needs to release more of his stuff in the US.

  3. Just ordered Hellnight from amazon, £10 delivered so looking forward to it! Siren arrived the other day too but my PS2 packed in so couldnt even play it! I’ve already taken apart my 5 year old ps2 twice and cleaned it but it finally seems to have given up. Looks like I’m on for an old fashioned PS1 night some time soon!

    Also, Chris, I enjoyed your review of Hellnight, one of the reasons that encouraged me tobuy it. I think actually implementing ideas well is vitally important when compared to simply having good graphics. One of the best examples of this, for me, was Vagrant Story. It’s a game I really enjoyed as it’s concept is relatively simple, but the depth of idea and implementation of it make it ultimately a rewarding experience.

    That said, I think its interesting when people say they find games “rewarding”. Obviously there is a subjective element to gaming that makes different people enjoy them. However, some people seem to refuse to accept this element exists. By this I mean, some people seem to be unwilling to accept that games can be viewed as a form of literature (interactive fiction for instance), and seem to think it reflects badly on what they call “real literature”. However for me, this misses the point. That a game can have a large (and well written) literary content in now way reflects upon other forms of literature, but many people seem to turn their nose up at games as a method of literature and, indeed, story telling.

    Anyhow, I was really trtying to sayu my preference is towards substance and structure over first impressions and visuals.

  4. Wow! I am more than happy to see your review of Hell Night here. I’ve been a survival horror fan since AitD and a loyal reader of CSHQ since long time ago.

    I’ve to say that Hell Night is no doubt one of the most forgotten and underrated games ever. With the level of hardware and game engines at that time, Hell Night is definitely an outstanding game. Without glamorous graphics, the atmosphere and sound effects still creep the player out. And the design of no-weapon-on-hand-and-can-only-run-away boosts the player’s adrenaline to the high point.

    I played on my friend’s PSX some years ago but I don’t have one. Just installed emu and found the game 2 yrs ago. However, got stuck in the maze with portal and gave up. I spent days and nights to search for a complete walkthrough but no result. Really don’t know how people can miss out the walkthrough of such a good game. 🙁

  5. It would be hard for one person alone to
    do a walkthru. It is tough to run for your
    life and write notes.
    You would have to have-
    -a super memory or
    -tape all your game play and then draw notes
    from that or
    -have a 2 man team to play thru and split the
    controller/note taking duties.

    Even then with the varied paths depending on who
    your partner, was they couldn’t cover everything.

    I’ve played HN more than a few times and I still have only earned 2 endings. Heck I don’t
    even know if the medical lab on the
    first level had threads deeper into the game I’m
    missing. Were the Xrays of a creature found
    in the 1940s? Were they recent ones made by
    the Hybrid who was still human enough to realize
    something was wrong with him?

    Your best bet with Hellnight is to practice
    detecting and dodging ol’ Monster face. If you
    can do that eventually you will reach some ending. A trip to the Dream Chamber is a must
    for all Horror game fans.

  6. I agree with everyone here that Hellnight, despite its simpleness (which is positive here), is great and easily the most underrated survival horror game ever.
    After completing the game I looked for professional reviews on the internet – ALL of them were negative. One of the funnier ones was from the german Official Playstation magazine, the reviewer was complaining because you can’t shoot, just hilarious. Some of the reviewers even admitted not completing the game, something which pisses me off and one of the reasons I stopped reading game reviews alltogether – you also can’t review a movie by just watching the first 30 minutes of it.

  7. Agreed. This game is probably one of the scariest I’ve ever played. There is something indeed to be said about it’s simplicity and how well that works. It doesn’t try to do much, and it’s a very focused design. I haven’t beat it yet, but every time I play I’m always on edge. Also, I really like how it doesn’t use fancy graphics. Just goes to show you that you can make a perfectly good horror game by using the player’s imagination and create tension easily, without having to resort to next-gen graphics. This would be an excellent technique for an indie game developer to use.

    Btw Chris, I haven’t played this for a while (and all my stuff is packed away), but I seem to remember a quick turn in the game. Maybe I’m thinking about another game, but I could have sworn I used it more than once (before getting killed or lost anyway :P).

  8. > Luna

    There’s a “quick look over your shoulder” button, but alas no button to actually rotate your body 180 degrees and send you in the opposite direction. Perhaps that’s intentional.

  9. After reading about the game on this site, I managed to get a copy and just finished playing.
    Although my TV isn’t fully compatible with PAL, I actually got a decent picture, aside from the reds being a little too orange.

    It really is a great game.

    I thought it was interesting that it would allow you to let Naomi die, I was expecting a Game over the first time she did.
    But still, I couldn’t allow myself to go on without her, and so I re-loaded every time to keep her alive with me,
    I’ll have to go back and try to get some of those other endings.

    Thanks for introducing me to this game.

  10. Rob, how long did u take to finish it? U know one of the features of the game is it always requires backtracking and walking unnecessarily long corridors (wth)… Will u consider making a walkthru?

  11. Night Hell, it took me a couple days to finish it, playing a few hours each day.
    Yeah, it wouldn’t have taken me as long to finish, but I got stuck a few times, and in one area had to backtrack a while to get an item I missed.

    When I have time I’ll try to put together a walkthrough.
    There really should be at least one in existence.
    I’ll keep you updated.

  12. I was 14 when a friend of mine gave me this game, I was so frightened that I left that game in some dark ugly corner. Now Im 21, I enjoyed all the Silent Hill games, nearly all the Resident Evil games, but I still got the chill if Im going to think about Hellnight.

  13. One thing I still don’t particularly understand is the last, say, 1/3 of the game, when everything changes drastically.

    If you’ve played that far, you’ll know what I mean. No spoilers.

  14. Night Hell, I started making a walkthrough for the game, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through.
    The walkthrough is going to assume that you’ve kept Naomi alive though, because that’s the only way I’ve beat the game.
    I’ll let you know when it’s finished and post a link.
    Also, I’ve never made a walkthrough before, so if it’s not good, then I’m sorry. >_

  15. Rob, if you finish your walkthrough I’d be happy to host it here. I am sure that 16bitman or some of the others on the forum would be happy to give you a hand filling out the non-Naomi sections as well. Shoot me an e-mail (see the “Contact” link on the left bar) when you are finished and I’ll put it up!

  16. =D Thx, Rob.
    It’s great that the walkthru will be for Naomi. I play as Naomi as well. IMO seeing the monster on the map is the most useful ability.

    Finally a walkthru for this game… It deserves one… (sob~)

  17. I’m almost finished with the walkthrough now.
    I’m about to reach the last area of the game, so after that I’ll clean it up, maybe try to draw out some maps of the areas, and send it to you Chris so you can host it. ^_^
    If anyone would like to fill out sections for characters other than Naomi, that would be great.

  18. Night Hell,

    Everything is finished, so you should see the walkthrough online soon.
    Just keep checking this site. ^_-

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