Let me tell you about a man named Kenji Eno. A child genius with an interest in video games and music, Kenji Eno (Ano) spent a lot of time playing around with programming, eventually winning competitions with games he made. After working for a few other companies, he would eventually band with other programmers and animators to form the company WARP Incorporated in 1994. This is where today’s game comes in. Kenji actually considered this is “opus,” his “masterpiece” of sorts. As a matter of fact, there are a few stories of how dedicated he was to this game.
Here’s one. First off, I’m going to tell you that it is a very disturbing game at some points, and that was ok in Japan (his native land) but would not fly by the manufacturers over in USA. That’s why Kenji made two version of the same; one without the story line, and one fully intact. He submitted the “clean” version, and it was approved. However, Kenji purposely failed to submit the master version of the game to the manufacturers in time, and the punishment was that he had to deliver the game by hand. While on the plane, Kenji switched the “clean” version for the full version, there by foregoing all censorship and allowed the world to be exposed to this horrible wonder.
This next dedication story may just be business sense, but I also think it shows how much this meant to him. See, this game (still not telling you the title before I start the review btw) was originally released on the 3DO. Yeah, not betting on the right pony there. Luckily, it was eventually ported to the Sega Saturn (probably the most popular version), the PC (as I’ll be playing it) and the Sony PlayStation. Most of them turned out alright, however, Sony was busy at the time of manufacturing the game and didn’t give it much priority; while the demand for this game was about 100 000 copies, they only promised 40 000 and provided only 28 000 copies. Eventually, sequels to this game and other WARP titles would never be released on Sony consoles and mostly stick to Sega.
Kenji Eno would eventually go on after this game to have a roller coaster career in gaming, including forming a few other companies and going out of the business for a bit, but this was probably the high point. This week’s game is the one letter terror of D.
The story in a nutshell is that Laura Harris is called to a hospital one night. It seems that her father, Dr. Richter Harris, has for some reason taken hostages and even already killed some people. The police are unable to help for some reason, and she goes in. Upon entering the hospital, Laura gets sucked into a portal to some kind of other dimension, which is mostly composed of a haunted castle. You now need to help her find a way out and figure what in god name is going on.
I honestly really had to force myself to play this game again, which is saying something since I’m currently locked in this place with nothing to do except play this game. The thing is, this game actually scared me so much, I locked it up with this DOS box in a dungeon (which I forgot about until I had no escape route from Piggsy). Man things make this game absolutely terrifying, at least for me. I think the main thing is the setting. As Laura, you are ALONE in this place, with the exception of your father and god knows what else. You’re also in an unfamiliar place that is creepy as all sin, and it doesn’t help that every now and then something freakily will happen for no reason or you’ll open a door and see something you just weren’t expecting. It doesn’t help that the game style gives you limted control of Laura anyways, continuing to make you feel like you feel like you just can’t escape anything bad thing that could happen to you. With the lights in your room shut off and with headphones (or the volume up high) you really get into it. Oh, and you do have to play it like that, it says so in the instruction booklet.
D’s main flaw is that is a very dated game. First off, it plays like the old type of puzzle/adventure game. You know, kind of like Myst where you go to a spot, then decide where to go or what to do at each point. (I think they are making a comeback on the DS though.) Also, the graphics look really lame, not even up to a Reboot standard I hold for 3D graphics; a lot of things just look stiff or half-assed. Granted, this was one of the first (if not THE first) completely CGI games, but still, you just know it’ll turn off some gamers. Finally, there’s this game’s length. To put it in perspective, you actually have a 2 hour, real-time time limit. Therefore, unlike modern games where you can just play and play and play, this one is over pretty quick. I counteract this argument though with the fact that the sheer suspense and creepiness should leave a lasting impression, much more then recent long and forgettable titles. I say, if you’re the kind of person who likes to watch old black and white horror movies, read scary books in the dark or are just a fan of these kinds of puzzle games looking for a scare, I think you should really check out this out. I give D for the PC 9.5 levels out 10.