PLATFORMS | PC
DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER | JOONAS RIKKONEN
RELEASE DATE | 2012
If you recall my review from last week on Slender: The Eight Pages, you hopefully also remember the terror of being alone in the darkness, expecting an entity to kill you off at any moment, only to be left to the sound of your own beating heart and the crunching of footsteps.
Well that was just a warm up. Slender Man doesn’t have anything on SCP-173 in terms of unnerving, lethal horror.
SCP Containment Breach takes you inside the SCP Foundation, a collection of the strangest creatures and horror stories hidden from the general public. They are an organization dedicated to your safety, and something has gone horribly wrong. See, there has been a containment breach. The artifacts trapped in its walls are now loose, killing off staff members in the darkness. Now it’s searching for you. You have to escape the labs before it does, all the while trying to discover what caused the breach in the first place. Chances are you won’t make it that far.
The primary nightmare is SCP-173, a cement statue that poops and pees blood, and can snap your neck at any moment. One look away from its soulless eyes is a death wish. “At all times, two persons must maintain direct eye contact with SCP-173 until all personnel have vacated and relocked the container,” the wiki and game state. One look away and it moves at unreal speeds.
Sure you could just look at it the entire game, but in the real world, wouldn’t you need to blink? In the game you can blink manually, but it becomes automatic once the blink meter runs out, plunging you into a brief period of darkness during which things can change around you. It could be your last blink.
SCP-173 is just like a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who, except no matter what state it’s in, it remains disturbing in its design.
The game was made on a budget of probably nothing, and is running on a simple game engine, so it maintains a lot of its horror through poorly-rendered environments, pixelated monsters, and blank rooms. Your flashlight barely illuminates your sight, and certain necessary items even work to make it harder to see. This darkness only adds to the suspense and the difficulty of trying to avoid the monsters, and creates an unrealistic world that disturbs you from the first second of gameplay.
However, the game is more complex than first appearances. There are a vast number of rooms, and they are all randomly generated behind closed doors. Each walkthrough (if you want to play this game more than once I guess) is different. You cannot go off of past playthroughs in order to make it out. You have to rely on instinct and hope, praying that you don’t see a mysterious figure behind one of those doors. SCP-173 moves fast, so it could end up anywhere.
The game has more to offer than what you can get at the time of this reading, and hopefully future versions will play on this potential.
Although in a way, I hope they don’t. That will just force me to play the game again. I don’t think I can whimper to myself any more.