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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

GOD Games

 

Developer

Terminal Reality

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2000

 

 

- Graphics add to the eerie nature of the game

- Physics modeling is great

- Blow the limbs off the undead in slow motion

- Sound design is the creepiest found in a videogame

- Light-sourcing is amazing

- Fills in the details on some of the events in the - Blair Witch mythology

- Choice of difficulty levels

- Very basic tutorial puts you right in the game

- A semi-sequel to Nocturne

 

 

- Overall control is hard to master

- Combat is very difficult

- Fixed view perspectives sometimes make combat even more frustrating

- "Wavy coat" effect is great, but not when youíre sitting down

- Some problems with textures popping in and out

- No lip synch

- Voice acting is hit and miss

- Using items and switching weapons is problematic

- Too easy to get lost in the woods

- Sometimes itís not apparent what you should be doing

- No room for save game descriptions

 

 

Review: Blair Witch Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale (PC)

Review: Resident Evil Zero (Gamecube)

Review: Resident Evil (Gamecube)

 

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Blair Witch Volume I:

Rustin Parr

Score: 6.9 / 10

In Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr all the women have breasts that would make Julie and Lara jealous, but for all the game physics I never once saw them bounce. You call that realism?

rustin_parr-a.jpg (11032 bytes)        rustin_parr-b.jpg (10551 bytes)

You take on the role of Elspeth Holliday (a.k.a. Doc), a member of the Spookhouse organization. (This is the same organization seen in Nocturne.) Sheís assigned to investigate the ritualistic murders recently committed by Rustin Parr and evidence of witchcraft in the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland. The situation starts out simply but soon spirals out of control with Daemites showing up and more grisly discoveries. This action adventure hybrid spans four days and just as many terrifying nights. To reach the end Doc must solve puzzles and fight past evil apparitions.

Rustin Parr oozes style. Everything is very detailed and there is an effort to keep everything "true to life." One impressive feature is the way Docís coat flutters and furls as she walks or runs. The most impressive feature is the light sourcing. Docís flashlight behaves like a real flashlight should. As the beam sweeps across a barred cell, the shadows cast by the bars act the way they should. Most of the areas found in the game require heavy use of the flashlight, especially the always dark and gloomy forest. Doc leaves footprints after walking through pools of blood, the prints gradually fading as she gets further away. Running through the forest kicks up leaves. But the engine has some omissions that subtract from the overall experience. Textures sometimes drop out. At one point Doc was wearing what looked like a striped carpet. Usually these oddities sorted themselves out when the next area loaded up. Thereís no lip synch, which is a small point but it looks strange.

 

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The view is fixed third-person, similar to that found in the Alone in the Dark series. There are positives and negatives for this view. On the positive side, the environments are very detailed and offer a cinematic experience. The negative is that combat turns into an exercise in frustration.

Depending on the difficulty levels you choose at the start of each new game, combat can be over with a couple of well placed shots or 

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can drag on across several screens against multiple enemies. Either way, combat is very hard. The fixed perspective doesnít allow you to easily know when (or if) youíve got the enemy in your sights. Most of the weapons have some kind of targeting laser that looks very cool but it doesnít help getting a bead on a charging zombie. This is most apparent when Doc is way in the background, far away from the camera, trying to defend herself. At these times itís a good idea to run to a screen where you can see whatís going on. Fighting two bad guys at once is very tough. If they get too close youíre dead because theyíll take turns eating your flesh. Itís better to shoot from afar then run away, repeating as necessary. There are instances where aiming is possible, which allows Doc to snipe limbs off, exploding bits of zombie in slow motion. There is decent weapon variety. (Even more when you enter a few cheat codes.) The problem is that ammo is very limited. Every shot has to count since there arenít ammo boxes lying around. Run out of ammo for your guns in the forest and youíre screwed. Try killing a giant scorpion with a cattle prod and youíll see what I mean. Basically, youíll die in the woods. Repeatedly. Usually with your neck snapped.

And speaking of the forest, itís way too easy to get turned around and lost. (Yes, I know that getting lost is part of the Blair Witch experience.) The map is accessed via the "TAB" key. It should have been implemented with an overlay map on the game screen. It would have simplified things. Switching to the map takes a couple of seconds and the game crashed on a few occasions while switching. Some of this hassle can be avoided by wearing the nightvision goggles (which puts you in first-person perspective), but this doesnít work during the day and at night you have to contend with otherworldly creatures. And using an item in your inventory is annoying. If Doc has a weapon drawn, she must holster it before being able activate the compass, etc. The same goes for opening doors. She cannot have a weapon at the ready when opening a door. Instead she must enter a dark room with nothing but her substantially chest in front of her, which often lets the bad guys get the drop on her.

Control is another area that needs some help, but for those that stick with it, running and gunning will be no problem. Itís a steep learning curve. (The control also relates to how the fixed perspective is implemented.) Fortunately, remapping the keys is no problem. The control is a combination of the mouse and keyboard. The mouse to turn left, right, up and down while the keyboard moves Doc forward, strafes, etc.

Now it may sound like this is the worst game since Outpost but there are a lot of good things to be found in Rustin Parr.

This the most frightening game Iíve ever played. This is due to two factors: the light-sourcing and the sound. At times they combine to create many "cold chill" moments. As mentioned above, the flashlight acts just like it does in real life. So, when youíre walking around the darkened forest, panning your flashlight back and forth, and you catch a glimpse of something lurking just off screen or right beside you, you will feel cold. The spectral proximity sensor picks up ghost energies and acts to warn Doc of possible threats. Sometimes the detector spikes while the specter of a child runs by you, laughing or crying, itís hard to tell. Shadows are everywhere, as are hiding places for demons. The ambient sound of the forest raises the bar in terms of creating atmosphere. At some points it sounds like something is crashing through the woods. And yes, if you listen, you can hear someone crying.

There are a few puzzles to work through, but the bulk consists of talking to people and gathering data. (And getting in and out of the damn forest.) There are no dialogue trees which is good because the voice acting is hit and miss. Various tasks to be performed are marked in Docís notebook so itís easy to know what should be done next. Overall the puzzles arenít terribly difficult, although it took me a long period of trail and error to decipher the sounds in the woods using the audio recorder.

The Blair Witch mythology gets fleshed out in this game. Locations and landmarks mentioned in the movie are explored. Coffin Rock (watch out for Elly Kedward), Rustin Parrís house (go stand in the corner), the town of Burkittsville circa. 1941 and the woods are all beautifully and frightfully brought to life. Fans of the movie wonít be let down.

If you can get used to the controls and dying repeatedly or youíre a Blair Witch fan, youíll probably enjoy this game. For the rest of us, we may come to hate the combat but weíll appreciate the visuals and the creepy story and locations.

Two questions and a comment: Why does anyone still live in the area? Why is the access to the woods, which is full of dark evil, located behind the school? Someone should sell the population of Burkittsville some brightly coloured paint. Everything is grey!

- Omni

 

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