Review: Cry Of Fear
Cry of Fear, developed by Team Psykskallar, is an ambitious first person shooter and horror mod for the original Half-Life engine that was released earlier this year. We're a bit late to the party, but nonetheless intrigued, so read on if you want to find out more about this game and our verdict.
- Worth The Time?Yes, definitely, it's compelling and exciting.
- Things LovedThe genuinely oppressive and fantastically creepy atmosphere, it can be quite terrifying, the absolutely incredible graphics for the Half-Life 1 engine, the campaign is very lengthy, both the story and the game are really compelling, the enemies are varied and very imaginative, the game has plenty of great ideas, the gameplay is solid and highly enjoyable.
- Things HatedLots of backtracking, it can later be difficult to find your way and you may need a walkthrough for some of the game's paths and puzzles, towards the end there are some extremely frustrating sections, the inventory system is not very intuitive sometimes, there are crash bugs.
- RecommendationIf there was ever a reason to dig your dusty copy of Half-Life up, this is it. If you're a fan of horror, you should feel obligated to test your resistance to soiling yourself with this game, otherwise steer clear if you can't deal.
- Name: Cry of Fear
- Genre: First Person Shooter, Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online co-op (4 players)
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Team Psykskallar
- Publisher: Team Psykskallar
- Price: Free (must have original Half-Life)
- Reviewed On: PC
You can download the game for free here. You need the Steam version of the original Half-Life in order to play the game, and you can grab it for R80.
Cry of Fear is an ambitious modification for Half-Life 1 that has been in development for quite some time, releasing only in February this year. Created by Team Psykskallar, its goal is to deliver the horror that gamers have always been afraid of. In the game you play as Simon, who gets into a car accident in the beginning only to wake up in a dark alley alone with no idea of how he got there. It isn’t long until he discovers that something is different, and that there’s a darkness spreading that has seemingly come from nowhere. Simon wants to return home, but the darkness won’t let him. With monstrous creatures inhabiting places Simon thought he knew, and no one out there to help him, eventually, he isn’t just questioning reality anymore, but his own sanity. The story is a journey about Simon searching for the truth of what’s going on, but it looks like he might not live long enough to find out what it is.
The first thing you’ll notice about Cry of Fear that is bound to impress the hell out of you is its graphics. Remember folks, this is the Half-Life 1 engine, a relic over a decade old, yet Team Psykskallar deserve great credit for creating something that looks absolutely incredible. The game features voice acting, cutscenes and awesome visual work with detailed custom models, physics and lighting. It looks great, and it should be highly playable to anyone, regardless of how important graphics are to you. A huge amount of effort was put into this mod, and it shows in almost every regard. But that’s not all Cry of Fear is good for. It’s actually a shining example of how graphics really aren’t everything, and that horror is all in the atmosphere. To put it simply, this game is hell. At least, the early hours of it are. It has a fantastically oppressive and creepy atmosphere, and even with a gun you still feel vulnerable. If you’re easily scared, then it would be best if you stayed away from this game, especially its early moments.
Cry of Fear is simple enough to understand with regards to its gameplay, but it requires thought, resource management and a steady heart to get through. Your health, stamina and ammunition are displayed on screen at all times, while your inventory screen is accessed with a button. Health does not regenerate, and you’ll need to use morphine syringes to recover. Stamina drains when sprinting, attacking with heavy weapons or dodging, and is something that needs to be monitored at all times. You can hold up to six items in your inventory, and it’s up to you to decide what you’ll keep or throw away. Objective items such as keys take up space in your inventory as well, so resource management definitely plays a solid role in the game. You can duel wield whatever makes sense, such as your phone which acts as a flashlight and a knife, or a gun and a small flashlight. It’s overall a good system but, while it mostly works fine, it’s not very intuitive sometimes with regards to duel wielding and using items, and it will take a bit of time to get used to it. Luckily, you can place up to three items in the quick select slots, which lets you get access to them in-game without having to open up your inventory.
Cry of Fear, both with its story and gameplay, is very compelling. The game world is very large and divided into multiple segments filled with resources, objectives and scares. You’ll save your progress with tape recorders found in the world, and this can sometimes lead to frustration if you die far away from a save point or you haven’t saved for a long time. The game starts out fairly linear, but as you get deep into it you’ll start needing to backtrack and it becomes more difficult to find your way. I only ever turn to a walkthrough as an absolute last resort, because I prefer to do things on my own, but I can’t lie, Cry of Fear made me use one on numerous occasions. Even though I hated that and the amount of backtracking I had to do in the later parts of the game, Cry of Fear is simply too damn compelling and intriguing to put down. And it’s entirely worth it to keep on going. If you decide to play this and you get stuck, just get a walkthrough, because there’s no shame in that and this game is seriously good.
One of the best things about Cry of Fear is its enemies. They are extremely varied and imaginative, and I honestly lost count of how many enemy types and unique scenarios were in the game. Cry of Fear isn’t just about cheap jump scares, it’s about chilling atmosphere. You’ll never feel like you’re at the advantage, no matter what you’re carrying. You’ll always feel vulnerable and like something is going to jump out at you or get you at every turn. In many ways, Cry of Fear is nerve-wrecking. Even though I am someone who rarely gets scared, and I love horror games, I honestly felt worn out sometimes after lengthy sessions with this game, because it’s so intense. And that’s where all the fun is. Cry of Fear is awesome, and it’s packed with great ideas and imaginative gameplay scenarios that will continuously impress and surprise you when you remember that you’re playing a Half-Life 1 mod. The only thing about it I don’t remember too fondly are some of the sections towards the end, which are so frustrating it’s scary in itself, so I suggest that instead of almost ruining the game for you or risking an anger-induced heart attack, rather seek online help, but don’t stop playing this amazing game.
It should come as a huge surprise to you that it will actually take you eight hours or more to get through the story mode of this game. It’s really lengthy, and if you’re insane enough there’s a Nightmare difficulty mode to unlock at the end, plus a number of unique collectibles such as alternate costumes. There are also multiple endings to the story mode, but these mostly depend on two or so key decisions at certain points, one of them which you may not even be aware of at the time and will have to read up on. But the significant one works excellently in context of the story, and it really isn’t a matter of just choosing your ending, but experiencing it, because these two moments are far apart from each other and you’ll only see the consequences play out much later, and will be able to work them out and interpret them once you conclude the game, which just makes the story so much more interesting. On that note, this game is both dark and depressing, but it’s just far too intriguing to walk away from. Once you complete it there is a co-op multiplayer mode waiting for you, but I never got the chance to play it because I couldn’t find other players online. I’ve heard that completing it can influence the ending of your game, but I’m not too sure how that plays out. This is mostly a single-player game though.
Cry of Fear is an incredible achievement on the original Half-Life engine, and it’s definitely worth digging up your dusty copy of the game if you’re a fan of horror. It’s a seriously impressive mod, and as a game it’s awesome, compelling and genuinely terrifying. If you manage to see the end credits of this one, you should be proud of yourself. To put it simply, Cry of Fear is as good, if not better, than many triple-A horror games out there, and it’s just an amazing, and nerve-wrecking, experience to have.