In light of the imminent arrival of Hysteria Project 2, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about the game that started the series. When I first got the game I left it sitting on my device for quite a while because I wasn’t sure what kind of time commitment would be required to play the game. Once I finally launched the icon and started playing, I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop until I had finished the game. Part one is currently available for free, so I thought I’d download it and revisit the Hysteria Project before I dove into the sequel. Turns out that even when you basically know what’s coming, it’s still quite compelling the second time around.
The first thing you’ll note is that there aren’t any 2D pixel art graphics or 3D rendered images to be found. These are videos of real people. This was a fad in the mid 90’s called Full Motion Video (FMV), and it’s too bad these guys weren’t around to guide the pioneers of this type of visual display along. We might have seen a lot more quality FMV projects back then. The video is quite well done, and does a wonderful job of capturing the feel of a B-movie horror / slasher flick. Some of the camera angles in particular make things that wouldn’t normally be so scary quite intense.
The sound is also remarkable. The beating of your heart, the screeches when you see the stalker or have flashbacks: they all lend a great sense of foreboding to the game. I’d comment on the music as well, but to be perfectly honest I don’t really recall what the music was like, or if there even was any. What’s so amazing about that is I literally finished the game again just 10 minutes or so before writing this review. That’s how engrossed I was in the game itself.
As far as your interaction with the game, it kind of plays like a cross between a Choose Your Own Adventure game and Dragon’s Lair. You’ll often be presented with simple options like “turn left” or “turn right”. In a couple of spots you’ll need to “move the action along” by tapping certain spots on the screen whenever a hand appears. As these sequences get more intense the hands show up more frequently, and one missed tap will send you back to the beginning of the sequence. That’s the one down side to the game – certain decisions sets are bundled up into longer sequences, which means one wrong answer might have you revisiting several decisions.
There’s no dialog in the game, and in the first chapter the story is a bit vague. However, all that really does is add to the mystery of what’s going on, which is how a good horror story should play out. I know I was pretty stoked for part 2 by the time I finished the first one. The game is not all that long when played straight through, but chances are good you won’t make all the right decisions the first time around. Either way it’s worth the investment.
It’s games like this that make the phrase “short but sweet” ring true. The video is well shot, the story (what little you get of it) is intriguing, and there’s just enough action and decision points to make you feel like part of the “movie”. If you can snag this for free it’s a no-brainer, but even when it returns to 99 cents it’s totally worth giving up a soda or cup of coffee for.
Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]
Related Links: Hysteria Project 2 Teaser Trailer