Corrosion: Cold Winter Waiting

 

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Viperante

Publisher:    Tri Synergy

Released:  February 2012

PC Requirements:  

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: 1.5 GHz processor
RAM: 512MB RAM(1GB for Vista and 7)
Video: DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with 64mb ram
Display: Display capable of at least 1024x768 resolution
Sound: Directx 9.0c compatible sound card
Hard Disk Space: At least 600MB HD Space

Additional screenshots

 

 

 

by flotsam

 

A 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 have imagined.

And so begins Corrosion, a self proclaimed “dark, shocking, and fear-charged mystery horror game”.

The overview

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 glimpsed notwithstanding.

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?

The underview

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.

B

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.

 

GameBoomers Review Guidelines

April 2012

design copyright© 2012 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index