sheriff, a stranger, and Cold Winter Farm. Three words from the
stranger, the only three words, and three months in the saying. An
insufficient answer for why he was wandering the road in the outskirts
of Deacon Oaks. Sheriff Truman wants – needs – more. Cold Winter Farm
and its stately home beckons.
A snowstorm, a tree fall.
Trapped in a basement, a door is revealed. A door to a corridor. He
can’t go back, so Sherriff Truman goes forward. What he finds he cannot
And so begins Corrosion,
a self proclaimed “dark, shocking, and fear-charged mystery horror
There was darkness. Set entirely
in the corridors and rooms under the estate, the colour palette is
washed-out and bleak, grimy greys and browns dominating. Bad things
happened here, dark things, things unsuited to cheery hues.
A shocking story, pieced
together as you find and read journals, computer entries, emails and
other documents. The devices you find hint at things you don’t yet know
but which clearly aren’t good. Messages smeared on walls, a morgue you
can’t yet enter, people who were here but no longer. What happened?
There is fear expressed in the
entries of the journal writers, in the voice recordings you unlock.
Plucked at by a musical score, it shakes an admirable fist at the stated
intention. It wasn’t frightening. It was eerie, it was suggestive.
The black shambling shape once
The chase sets hearts beating.
Get caught and it's death. Press relentlessly and stoically on, and it’s
a fiery vanquishment.
The end is sudden. But you know
it all, so what more is there?
Corrosion: Cold Winter
Waiting is an admirable effort. First
person point and click, in an old world “slide show” graphical style,
with some other old world ways that are generally rather good. Like get
a pencil and write things down. Draw a few things, and nut things out.
Explore, learn some things, go back, try something else, pull your hair,
get the pencil out again, a-ha!
There are inventory items as
well, quite a few in fact, used in some “creative” ways. You say tomato,
I say tomato, so make up your own mind.
One of the first pencil puzzles
is in my view one of the best, and it takes some doing. I also liked the
bookcase, simple when you know how. Inventory items can be combined, and
many are used as their makers intended. Some inventory conundrums are
elaborate, and a little gearwheel icon will let you know you have to do
something here. In those places it can pay to think laterally. A pick of
them would be removing a vent cover.
I mentioned a chase and possible
death, but don’t let it worry you. There are some earlier sequences in
the game where the game takes over, possesses you perhaps. In those
sequences you can only go one direction from every screen, so you are
“propelled” from one place to the intended destination. In the chase it
is helpful to remember that.
If you do die, and this is the
only place it occurs, the game lets you try again. The game also won’t
let you start the sequence until you have learned what you need to learn
to “win” once you get to its end. Or at least, until you should have
learned, if you were paying attention.
I did think Corrosion was
a bit samey at times – find a key card and journal, open another
corridor or room, find another key card and journal, open another area,
move on. And there were one or two occasions when there was absolutely
no reason why you would go back and try a door that was previously
locked other than being at a loss as to what to do next. I might have
missed the clue, and there is a sense that there might be something or
someone else here (so they might have opened the door) but I do find
this type of “puzzle” a bit lazy. There has to be a reason to do
something, otherwise it's just aimless wandering.
There are a couple of puzzle
quirks, where watching the little animation prevents it from completing.
So if you start something happening, go away and look at something else,
then check back in. And don’t fret if the inventory ribbon disappears
briefly when combining items, as it does come back.
It's reasonably linear, in that
you can’t access many of the necessary places until you find the
appropriate information or items, but there is a fair amount you can do
and explore very early on. As well, things you learn or find in one
place aren’t used where you find them, and you have to make the
connections, so there is a sense of openness rather than one of being
propelled in a single direction.
“Fear-charged” is probably an
apt description. Psychological horror might be another. Things don’t go
"boo", and I have already said it wasn’t frightening, in the scary sense
of the word. But there is fear in the game, as an emotion expressed in a
variety of ways. Many of the doors you find are marked “to the unknown”
or something similar, and we all know of the fear in that place. People
who were here before you were clearly fearful, and some frightening
things went on. This understanding builds, and by the time you get to
the chase, all the little parts – the music, the setting, the sounds –
may well have come together to produce a tension waiting to be relieved.
Or run away from.
Navigating throughout the
corridors and rooms can be a little confusing. The sameness of the
environment and the slide show graphic style can add to the confusion,
so draw the map you find early on (you can’t take it with you). When you
stand in front of a door, a little pop-up script may indicate where the
door leads, assisting with the navigation. Some “unknown” rooms will
eventually be known, but some important rooms aren’t marked on the map,
so going over old ground is necessary. So too is backtracking and
revisiting certain rooms to access things like computer terminals, so
you do build up a familiarity with how to get around.
There did appear to be a couple
of short maze type sequences, but it might have just been me losing my
bearings. They were sorted out quickly in any event.
Hotspots are generous, and icons
will tell you what can be done there – a magnifying glass suggests a
closer look, a hand means you can take something, and the gears mean "do
something in this spot". Your default cursor will indicate the direction
you can move or turn from each location; forward, left or right, and
occasionally turn around. Each screen is a different “slide”, showing
the particular first person view you currently have. It is important to
“look” in every direction, as some things are only visible or accessible
from certain views.
Inventory items appear in a
ribbon at the bottom of the screen when the cursor is moved there,
outside the game window, which I always like. Right click to examine
more closely, left click to use in some way. Hit the "escape” button on
the keyboard to bring up the menu, which enables you to save, load and
quit, or view the credits.
There is no background movement
in any of the scenes that I could recall, although there are some
animations when you use items or engage in certain actions (e.g.,
turning on a tap). Ambient sound is limited but perfectly adequate –
there might be doors opening and closing, or the keyboard clatter when
you access a computer, but you don’t hear yourself walking around – and
a continuous and appropriately discordant musical score ensures it isn’t
a silent experience.
The plot is fanciful and
twisted, in a Lovecraft kind of way. You need to discover it for
yourself, so enough said. Much of it will be read, and as mentioned
there are some audio logs.
Corrosion: Cold Winter
Waiting isn’t an easy game, so it ended up
being a good length, and it kept me engaged and wanting to play some
more. It suited a lot of my preferences, and what didn’t appeal was
outweighed by what did.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
Corrosion: Cold Winter Waiting
can be purchased via download from the
Just Adventure Shop.
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