#575 Gregory Horror Show

Posted: 14th March 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

130th played so far

Genre: Survival Horror
Platform: Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Capcom Studio 3
Publisher: Capcom

When you have fallen for a lot of bad games there are a number of rules that you know to be true. One of them is never to buy a tie-in game because they universally suck… well almost.

Things are nowhere near as bad as they were in that respect. I mean sure every new big film has to have a game but they are nowhere near as publicised as they used to be which is probably down to their being so many great games dropping in recent years.

On the list there are four or five games that break the rule of ‘tie-in games being crap’ (for the sake of arguement we are not counting The Warriors since it was made too long afterwards to be considered a tie-in) and Gregory Horror Show is the first of these rule-breakers that are featuring on this blog. Based on the anime series of the same name this survival horror game remains fairly unknown in the UK.

Our Thoughts

To be fair, not knowing the anime, I have little to be disappointed with – I went in not knowing what to expect, only knowing this was a survival horror featuring a rather cubic-looking mouse. The only warning that he had was my playing it nearly ten years ago and some of the characters (namely Lost Doll) giving me the creeps.

Now, in my mind, when I think of survival horror games, I think of games like Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark. Scary, freaking you out, with a lot of sneaking and possibly even more shooting and other fighting. Running away when necessary (there’s limited ammo), but you’ll have a faithful baseball bat or something like that.

This game isn’t like that. If we call the aforementioned games survival shooters, this is a survival puzzle. You have no weapons and spend your time checking your map for the more violent guests staying in the hotel the game is set in. And you try to run away, assuming you’re fast enough to get away, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. If they catch you, you’re subjected to a horror show. A psychedelic attack on you using the weapon the guest prefers to use – a giant syringe, revolvers or a freaky second face. These rather twisted attacks are the eponymous horror shows. What’s interesting about them is that none of them are really THAT scary… in fact some of them are downright silly.

This takes away your sanity, which is your HP in the game. It also slowly reduces as you wander around the hotel for too long as well and losing it all means the worst fate in these sort of games – being stuck in the hotel… FOREVER!

Your way out is to collect lost souls. These are held by the same violent hotel guests and to get them, you need to solve the right puzzle, which often involves chasing around the place and waiting until the right time to strike, so you can grab the soul when they’re distracted. When you collect all 12, Death will free you from this fate.

Death is an interesting character himself (sporting a Swedish flag for a hat in a nice nod to the Ingmar Bergman film The Seventh Seal) because he is one of only three characters in the game (and I am including a fortune telling frog who acts as a save point) who are remotely helpful. The other helpful character is the incredibly sad character Neko Zombie who had his eyes, ears, nose and mouth sown shut in a terrible act of revenge.

Supporting this is one of the neat features of the game. The NPCs are mostly on rails and have a schedule throughout the day. While for some of them this just means they wander through the hallways, others go for different activities in the different rooms, meeting with people (and meeting with different people as more guests appear in the hotel) and it becomes important to make sure you’re out at the right time to catch them at their weak point, while avoiding them when they do their rounds through the hallway.

The voice acting is also lovely, and for an anime that I’m not sure ever made it to the English-speaking world, the voice actors are chosen well and really get into their parts. It makes some of them sound suitably creepy… and others just strangely crazy.

The characters look, as I mentioned earlier, blocky (as was the style of the anime). While I realise they might have originally made the choice to fit the system specs, by the time this game came out more was already possible, and the characters just look more unreal because of it. This is set, however, in a scary and lovely hotel, that might not be as detailed as elsewhere, but has so many dark corners and nooks that it makes the whole thing more creepy… especially with some of the brightly coloured characters standing out in it.

This blocky style has enabled this games graphics to remain almost timeless. It is something that we say so so SO often though that when you stylise your graphics and you do it well (as is the case with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, No More Heroes and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles) then you could have a timeless looking game on your hands.

Describing the game though, I wouldn’t call it horror-type scary. Nothing in there is going for the horror sense other games have. However, the game is crazy, absolutely out there at times. Deranged is the best word I’ve got for it and that makes it work better. It’s scary because you have no idea what to expect and the mismatch of styles and dialogue makes it more frightening. It may not look it, but this game will make you jump.

Final Thoughts

Although Dead Rising was technically the first survival horror game that we covered for the blog I really do feel that this was the first real title of that conforms to what most would think of the genre… apart from the lack of weapons.

Fact is… we are still behind on survival horror games since these were the only two we currently own (apart from Dead Space on the PC) but theoretically we should cover a Resident Evil game soon. Anyone want to lend it to us?

  1. […] play them when the sun is out). As we did, we noticed an overlap with other genres in each of them. Gregory Horror Show was an adventure. Dead Rising an FPS. Resident Evil, a mix between those two. For Alone in the […]

  2. […] not our favourite genre. We have to play them, it’s part of the blog, there are some (like Gregory Horror Show) that we do get into, but it’s the other genres that are dragged in that seem to determine […]