Creeping Terror (3DS)

When I first saw this game, I thought it might’ve been based on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie of the same name, but I knew better than that.  But this game could’ve been a low budget horror movie anyway.  Four teens explore a haunted mansion rumored to have a monster inside.  You play as Arisa, a Japanese foreign exchange student in the group.  Shortly after arriving, an earthquake causes her to fall through the floor and into a cave under the mansion.  Now she must escape the caves and find her friends, all the while avoiding the monster who haunts the place.  Creeping Terror is one part survival horror, one part point and click adventure, and one part 2-D Metroid style game, downloadable on the 3DS.

As Arisa, you’ll explore the 2-D caves and mansion armed only with your cell phone light.  The light helps you see any obstacles so you don’t stumble over them, but icons for picking up tools, climbing ladders, entering doors, and hiding spots will appear whether it’s dark or light.  But be careful because your cell phone has a very limited battery and when it’s gone, you’ll have no light.  You can pick up tools like rocks for throwing at threats, rations to fill your health, or chargers for your cell phone battery, but the amount of inventory you can hold is very limited.  Sometimes you may have to find keys to open locked doors to progress the story along.

You also have to watch out for monsters that chase you, mainly a lumbering oaf with a lantern and shovel.  He’s more annoying than scary, though.  If you see him, you’ll need to run away and find a hiding spot.  You have two walking speeds: super slow walking and slightly less slow running.  If you run, a stamina meter will deplete, and when it’s out, you’ll lose health.  So you want to mind that meter when running and keep that cell phone light on so you don’t stumble.  If he catches you, you can rapidly press the button to escape, unless you’re in a dead-end room where there’s no escape.  Or if you can find a hiding spot in time, you can evade him that way.  But it’s all very inconsistent and will take some trial and error to find the best way to run away.

I had a few problems with the game, though.  The graphics are very dark and hard to see, even with the cell phone light on.  I know they did that on purpose, but it’s not fun to lumber around in the dark in a game.  Plus, your slow character isn’t fun to control, making backtracking and walking around generally a chore.  It’s not really the game’s fault, but I would always push the wrong button and use a tool when I really wanted to just turn off my cell phone light.  But the worst problem was the map on the bottom screen.  It’ll tell you what room you’re in, but not where you are in relation to other things in the room, like doors and ladders.  This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re being chased by a monster, knowing exactly where you are in a room would’ve helped.  But even though the game didn’t pique my interest, if you like portable survival horror games, you may want to check this one out anyway.

Kid Factor:

Creeping Terror is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Mild Violence.  If the monster catches you, he’ll smack you with his shovel and you’ll see a red flash before the game over screen, but that’s about as violent as it gets.  There are other scenes with dead bodies and such, but the dark 2-D visuals keep things from looking too gory.  Reading skill is a must for the text, and some gamers may get bored of the slow pace.

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