It seems like an everyday subway ride. There is one young man staring out the window, watching the night fall over a wide city. Then, the screen flashes black and white. The rapid breathing of a scared youth can be heard in the darkness. In the murk of vision, something tells him to take the camera on the table and he starts snapping. Awful images of blood, scattering glass, and dark doppelgangers reach out...until the protagonist Simon wakes in a dark alley without any recollection as to how he got there. This is 'Cry of Fear.'
'Cry of Fear' is a horror mod for the Half Life 1 engine. The cut scenes are well animated and the protagonist saves on old fashioned voice recorders. At it's heart, it's psychological horror survival FPS. Players take control of Simon, a kid who is throw into the horrid weirdness of his surroundings when he thinks he sees a man get run over by a car when he exits the subway. He wakes up later on the other side of the city. The player must transverse the alleyways, basements, and apartment buildings in order to solve puzzles and progress the plot. Along the way, Simon runs into many different types of grotesque creatures and insane NPCs.
In the first chapter, Simon receives a text message from his mom saying that he should come home because its getting dark. Trying this turns into a twisted challenge as Simon begins seeing a bald man in a black coat following him where ever he goes. Simon begins finding journal notes, detailing kills and background facts about a man who lured children into the bushes to kill them. One of the first enemies Simon faces...is a little boy wrapped up in a garbage bag and brandishing two long kitchen knives. Next, follows the psychos with missing eyes and cut lips, cracking their joints and trying to keep their heads upright as they launch after him. Simon is now caught on this strange path of finding this maniacal killer and trying to stay alive.
The atmosphere and jump scares in this game really make it. The player ducks into alleys that are not well let, corners that he can not see around, and take ladders farther into the underbelly of the city. Leaking water can hide enemies. The cries of the demented children can echo off the stone and rusting metal. At times, those are the only sound players will hear. Sometimes, a quick violin cord or bang of a drum will signal an oncoming enemy.
For one of heck of a scare this coming Halloween season, 'Cry of Fear' is sure to make horror fans scream.