Sunday, January 25, 2009

Scary moments in PC gaming

There have been two moments that I can remember where I was actually scared enough by a game to actually yelp out loud.  I'm sure there have been more, but these two I remember very well.

The most recent one was in Doom 3, which was a pretty scary game overall.  There's one part where you're wandering around this abandoned moon base where almost every single human has been killed and you hear a woman scream out for help.  "Help me!  Someone, please!  My baby!  My baby needs help!  Someone please help me!"  You can hear it coming from a long, curving hallway.  Naturally, I went to investigate.  As I went further and further down the hallway, I could hear her continuing to sob and her baby wailing.  At the end of the hallway was a final turn, leading to a locked door.  As soon as I could see the locked door, the lights shut off.  I switched to my flashlight, and then heard a whisper behind me, "over here!"  When I spun around, I saw in my dim flashlight not a woman and her baby, but a demon clawing frantically at my face.  I screamed a little.  Doom 3 had plenty of startling moments, but that's the one I always remember.

That's the story I usually tell when asked about my favorite scary moment in gaming.  But there's a second moment, and oddly enough, it's from the original Command and Conquer.  The Brotherhood of Nod (the bad guy terrorist faction) has a base defense structure called the Obelisk of Light, a curved, towering black spire.  I pretty much always play the good guys first in a game, and as I was scouting around and discovered a Nod base for the first time, I heard this low high voltage buzzing noise.  A few seconds later, my speakers emitted a loud ray-gun noise as a bright red laser beam fired from the obelisk, destroying my scout vehicle in a single shot.  The terror I felt at that moment from those fifty pixels and that low-fi sound effect was the most scared I had ever been of a game until Doom 3.

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