“ Manufacturer: Capcom / Genre: Adventures & Role-playing „
Gregory Horror Show (GHS) is a game that most will be unfamiliar with. This original title is based on a hit Japanese childrens cartoon, and is only available on the PlayStation 2. This adventure game is from Capcom, and was given a 12+ certificate in the UK. This is a review of the PAL version of the game released in Europe in December 2003.
The game starts with our main character becoming lost wandering a forest. Your character who players can decide the gender of - soon arrives at a bizarre hotel named Gregory House. The cruel old rat Gregory runs this strange place, and it is your mission to escape from his hotel to make it back to the real world. Death informs us that the place is full of lost souls (twelve in total) that have to be collected and returned to him to achieve this task.
In this survival horror game players need to observe fellow guests at the hotel so as to find the location of each soul. Accomplishing this involves learning the guests routines, and finding their weaknesses. For instance your character can spy through keyholes, listen to mumbling guests, and hide in closets, under tables or behind sofas. Guests follow their own particular schedules, like eating, sleeping and moving rooms, meaning you have to time your actions with precision. The game controls are simple and are very responsive throughout. GHS features no weapons, so gun hungry gamers should overlook this game it is about solving, sometimes obscure, puzzles.
After collecting souls the guests get immensely sinister and will start chasing you. Upon successfully catching you, our character is subjected to a Horror Show, which is essentially a torture event that damages sanity. Examples of such events include one character drawing blood from your head with a syringe, and another making you swallow a poisoned pill. The only way to escape the angry guests is to run and hide. The Mental Gauge highlights your current level of sanity, and if this is depleted fully the game is over.
Another way the gauge decreases is when your character suffers a status ailment - Darkness, Tiredness, Confusion, Melancholy, Nervous, and Headache - which needs to be cured. For example if you stay awake too long you will become tired, and after remaining in this state continually the character will suffer a headache. The numerous conditions noticeably change the appearance of your character, as well as his/her ability to see if suffering from Darkness, and if tired the ability to run. Thankfully you can recuperate the gauge by consuming various pieces food or green herbs, drinking, reading books and by sleeping.
--------Graphics, Sound and Music--------
GHS is a very basic but aesthetically pleasing game. The characters within GHS use very few polygons and have large square heads with tiny limbs, whilst the environments are limited in terms of detail. Strangely this adds to the appeal of the game as these particular visuals fit nicely the cartoon world that the game is based on.
The voice acting throughout is impressive, adding to the characters individuality. For example one of the characters starts cursing in a comical Mexican accent, and another purrs frantically. The music and sound effects can be rather disturbing adding tension to proceedings.
The primary concern is how this quirky title is not a very long affair. The average time to complete is approximately six to seven hours, which is short in anyones book. Added to this is that it may prove exceptionally easy for some. As such renting the title may be more suitable than buying.
The puzzles of GHS can become frustrating as you progress. Players have to be at a particular place at the exact correct time, otherwise they will not be able to continue the adventure. Thus one may simply have to wait around for a while doing nothing. Bearing in mind that this game is about the puzzles, it is a real shame how some prove to be just plain annoying, and ultimately this lets the title down.
Another complaint is that each Horror Show is repeated when the characters catch up with you, which becomes rather repetitive. You can only really appreciate these visions of violence against your character a few times before they turn tiresome. Similarly many characters continually chasing you can be draining when all you want to do is work out what to do next.
GHS can be described as an unusual survival horror game, and a potential alternative to the big names of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. You will not find characters like this anywhere else, and the story is a fine idea that all in all is well implemented. It could never be described a classic being too short, repetitive, and irritating to deal with at times, but developers should be encouraged to create more titles like this a genuine one off. For those interested in purchasing this niche title it can be found at whsmith.co.uk priced £11.63 (including delivery), or can be purchased on ebay for under a fiver due to its lack of popularity.
- Graphics: 7/10 distinctive, memorable characters that benefit from strong design. The big heads and little bodies work well as do the primary colours used.
- Gameplay: 7/10 first and foremost the game is about solving puzzles and avoiding chasing foes. Both are not without their problems, but as least GHS is trying to do something unorthodox.
- Sound: 7.5/10 the quality voice acting adds a lot to this game to the point where you actually are interested in what the characters have to say.
- Storyline: 7/10 GHS enjoys a good premise that does seem appropriate considering it is based on an anime show.
- Longevity: 5/10 - very brief adventure that does not need to be replayed. As such this has to be rated rather poorly.
>Final Score: 7.0 out of Ten