There is an old saying that “rules were meant to be broken” when someone of a new and adventurous nature decides to challenge the ways of the old. So it’s no surprise that Remedy’s latest game, Alan Wake, is breaking all of the rules in terms of the survival horror genre. G3 takes a look at the rules of being part of the horror genre that spans along horror films, novels and video games as well as other video games that tip toe down the line between obeying the laws of the horror genre and breaking them.
Wander into the dark- Alan Wake
Ok this should just be common sense but video game characters love going into the dark for any reason! Sure, Alan Wake is forced into the darkness in order to save the inhabitants of Bright Falls, but he sure does take an awful lot of risks when looking for a bit of extra ammo or pages of his manuscript. It’s just obvious that the light is your friend because of visibility. No dark corners for things to hide in (I’m looking in your direction too, Doom 3) and no surprises. Also; it makes reading maps easy (ala Silent Hill) and I’ve never had a problem with zombies popping out of brightly lit room.
Reach into a dark area-Silent Hill 2
I can hear faint echoes of my mom telling me something about “curiosity killing the cat” when I think about this rule. And the main offender for this rule is none other than Silent Hill 2‘s hero: James Sunderland. James, for some crazy reason, has no problem with reaching into a toilet to retrieve a wallet and also sticking his entire arm through a hole in the wall, only to be attacked by something on the other side. For all of the sane people in the room, these are extreme measures that should be avoided at all costs. That is, unless, you feel like parting with sanitary conditions or one of your arms…
Go into an abandoned hotel/mansion-Resident Evil/ Alone in the Dark
Fans of Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark should be aware of this one since they are always a good environment for a horror story. Mansions and hotels in horror stories always seem to be built by a mad man that killed his family, or on top of an Indian burial ground, or was the site of witch burnings or near a Wal-Mart (which might be the scariest scenario). The bottom line is that in a horror situation: stay the hell away from hotels and mansions. They will be the end of you since zombies and ghosts seem to flock to them instinctively like the salmon of Capistrano. Either way, steer clear of these buildings since they seem to attract all kinds of evil beings.
Split up-Left 4 Dead
If you’ve ever watched a horror movie in the 80′s: you’d know that splitting up is a sure way to get most everyone in your party killed. Sure, you’d survive since you’re the main character of the story and the story cannot progress without you, but since you’re on your own: be prepared to go through some pretty tough fights. Oh, and whoever had the glorious plan of “splitting up” is either going to be killed or horribly wounded. Case in point: Left 4 Dead. The world is plenty dangerous with zombies lurking around every corner and in Left 4 Dead: you’ll need to stick close to your teammates or you’ll find yourself as grub for smokers or hunters in no time.
So do yourself a favor and heed G3′s advice when it comes to horror video games. Because making a mistake in a horror video game is usually followed by a gory death.