Man With A Moody Camera: Paranormal

By Adam Smith on July 30th, 2012 at 2:30 pm.

I’ve been festooning RPS Towers with cobwebs and butchers’ leavings ever since the announcement of A Machine For Pigs, hoping the decor wouldn’t be out of place in a 2012 bursting at the fleshy seams with the grim and the gruesome. After Anna I was left with a hankering for some haunted house horrors and Paranormal looked to be just what the psychologist accidentally ordered. Built in the UDK, Matt Dementous’ project is a ‘dynamic haunting simulator’ that plays out like a rather more active version of Paranormal Activity. You wake, you wander, you film, you scream, you…go back to bed. There’s a downloadable beta, although only certain backers of the Kickstarter can play the latest versions.

There seem to be stories linked to some hauntings, which play out sequentially, although there are plenty of randomised bumps and whispers as well. The biggest barrier to brown trousers is the frequency and intensity of the scares. What starts with a whimper very quickly ends with a bang. These aren’t the sort of things you could blame on a trick of the light, they’re the sort of events that would cause you to move out of the house and have it burnt to the ground from a great distance, the ashes collected in a sanctified bin bag and launched into space. I hope there’s more subtlety in versions closer to the final release.

I’m also a little disappointed that the main character is an artist since his home doesn’t so much resemble a home as a giant studio, making it a much less familiar-seeming space to be trapped in than a dingy suburban house owned by a bus driver. Of course, you may actually be a sculptor with money to burn, in which case this could well be a perfect recreation of what your life would be like if the walls grew faces and screamed at you.

Time for cautious optimism, I reckon, and the hope that improvements are made before release. The Kickstarter has already been a huge success and maybe that means there’ll be more meat on these bones.

Oh yeah, I also tried this right before hearing about Knock-Knock which sounds like it might be the best thing ever.

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18 Comments »

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  1. pakoito says:

    From RPS twitter:
    >”Paranormal wants to frighten you by making loud noises at random intervals”

    And that’s what killed Amnesia for me. I could clearly distinguish the beginning and end of the audio clips, and the precise points of the level where the effects were triggered. The rest of the game was a sort-of-puzzle game with very clear timings.

    I know it worked for most people, but not for me :(

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’ve said this before many times. You have to let games scare you. I find, at least, that it’s very easy to not be scared by a film or game if you decide you won’t be.

      • Kaira- says:

        It’s hard to let the game under your skin, it must find its own way in there. Amnesia failed spectacularily in that in the very beginning of the game, but it got better later on.

  2. phelix says:

    Yay for RGB split post processing!

    • Salt says:

      The most fashionable of all post processing effects.

      We’re all eager to see if heavy hitter CodBlopsDeux will be sporting some chromatic aberration of his own in this year’s autumn line up. Speculation is high that it would fit well with an inevitable remote controlled vehicle section. But with the studio having used the same engine for many years we have to wonder if there’s anyone left on the staff that knows how to write shaders.

  3. DrGonzo says:

    It has Ouija, but does it have Monopoly? I know I’m a damn sight more scared of the latter.

  4. Priestman says:

    Not sure what it is that I specifically don’t like about Paranormal, but having tried it a couple of times before I found myself just unimpressed by its scares…every time. There’s no cohesion between the things that happen – it literally does just feel like random bumps, whispers and apparitions. None of which seem to do you any harm. Maybe I just didn’t feel vulnerable enough.

  5. houldendub says:

    FUCK MY LIFE the office phone went off AS SOON as the Ouija went over the “E”.

    BRICKS WERE SHAT.

  6. Kaira- says:

    I have to say, what I’ve tried the beta and watched the video material, I am impossibly underwhelmed.

  7. tlarn says:

    The Ouija board just told me this is going to be another one of those games that tries too hard to be scary.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    So he’s 26 and an artist. That should make him impoverished and living in a bedsit, not the owner of a huge studio.

  9. alabastersteel says:

    Just finished Amnesia the other day, it was a slow burn but really picked up for me once getting past the first sewer section. I loved the use of the droning ambient shrieks and whispers, that sort of sound design makes or breaks a horror anything for me. Case in point, one of the most effective aspects of “The Exorcist” was the layering of moans, groans, and scuttling noises coming from the entity that took hold of Regan.

    Anywho, for those interested in a brief but somewhat effective haunted house romp, there’s a flash game that was made to coincide with the release of the band The Mars Volta’s record “The Bedlam in Goliath”. Cue ouija haunting tropes, found messages explaining what happened to said ouija dabbler, and some kind of creepy ambient music. Some of the scares are a bit silly, but when you’re dealing with flash I suppose only so much can be done in the service of horror. Still, worth a go for those interested http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/422645

  10. TheTingler says:

    Any other Simpsons fans around who hoped the Ouija board marker was heading towards the letter ‘T’ at the end?

    • KenTWOu says:

      Don’t know what you’re talking about, I thought about letters ‘B’, ‘A’, ‘R’ and ‘T’.

  11. Network Crayon says:

    Man with a moody camera, I salute you.

  12. Strickebobo says:

    Here’s the abbreviated ‘review’ from the steam page:
    “The biggest barrier to brown trousers is the frequency and intensity of the scares. What starts with a whimper very quickly ends with a bang. These aren’t the sort of things you could blame on a trick of the light, they’re the sort of events that would cause you to move out of the house and have it burnt to the ground from a great distance, the ashes collected in a sanctified bin bag and launched into space.”
    Rock Paper Shotgun

    It appears they missed out the “I hope there’s more subtlety in versions closer to the final release.”
    They essentially turned a negative quote into a positive review.