Saturday, June 30, 2012

Let's Play Calling Part 3: High School Blues

          Chamomile has been done in by BOOF and it appears that it's time to turn over a new leaf, seeing as death isn't really something Chamomile can get back from at this point. Wait. I'm playing a game about ghosts. Ghostly Chamomile. Oh god. Please just show the title card so I can stop thinking about this.

          So I suppose this pre-chapter discussion/chatroom thing is going to become a theme, huh. This time we see some girls discussing the mysterious deaths of the aforementioned three high school girls. We get more exposition about how they were all looking at some website and how images of them were displayed on their computers when they were found dead. Clearly this game has a plot based around phones. Also, these chat things seem to have no purpose other than blatant unrelated exposition.


          This is what a high school girl says when she finds out that three of her classmates are being held for detention. Not when they have been killed by a website. Of course, seeing as this website's other target was Chamomile, consistency would suggest that these girls may share personality traits with him. Mimi, you have my support.
          Enough opening fluff. It's time to start the next chapter.

          I'm playing as Rin Kagura this time. I believe they were in the opening chatroom preceding the first chapter. Well, at least that's some sort of relevant connection. The first cutscene of the section commences and I see I'm in some sort of extremely artily filtered hospital room.

          Then fast cuts to different images of flowers and people getting hit by trucks and stuff happen. I suppose the game felt this was the best time to meet its art quota, as nothing in this cutscene makes any sense whatsoever and it's using enough bloom to effectively blot out half the screen and cause several gardens of flowers to sprout from nowhere all across southern Tanzania. So after the brief art break, we see Rin, who appears to be in some room full of instruments. She then offers us insight into what all of the images we just bore witness to mean.

          Oh wait, no she doesn't. She just sort of acts surprised at her own amazing ability to have a dream and then never mentions it again. Looking around, Rin realizes that she's in her school music room and recounts how she ended up sleeping there.

          Or, you know, just kind of wonders about why she's in her school in the middle of the night while seeing no inherent issue with her situation. Despite her lack of understanding or explaining anything, I do find this Rin person a lot more tolerable than Chamomile. She's devoted her opening cutscene to explaining at least a little bit about her character, whereas big C probably would have just started hollering about the lights being off and run into a wall, knocking himself out.
          The cutscene ends, and the game begins loading. At the end of the loading screen, the game cuts to... this.

          I'm pretty sure it's either an upside-down picture of a guy's face or a right side up picture of a pig wearing a very small sombrero. After appearing onscreen for a moment, it just sort of vanishes and I go into gameplay. I... okay. After el cerdo con un sombrero leaves, I'm back in first person in the music room. Everything is too dark to closely investigate again, but I still manage to blindly slap the guitar in order to create beautiful music.

          After bashing all of the available instruments, I decide to leave the room due to the lack of anything else interesting. Upon exiting, Rin hears a string concerto and automatically assumes its origin to be a cellphone. At least she's genre-savvy, I'll give her that. Eventually I track it down in the middle of the hallway floor, and Rin decides to pick it up. The voice on the other end, which sounds like a cross between a 70 year old woman's Marge Simpson impression and Marlon Brando in The Godfather, claims that the phone belongs to her (it?) and that she's at the exit.

          Seeing as only sane people leave their own cellphones in the middle of  high school hallways and then call them in the middle of the night, Rin decides that returning this phone to its rightful owner must be the best course of action. Evidently Rin is not going to survive very long. After I enter a nearby classroom, the phone rings again. I pick it up; it's Marglon Simsdo again.

          After this, Marglon hangs up and proceeds to call another two times before I manage to actually exit the room I'm in, finally managing to tell me that she's on the third floor stair landing. This prompts me to spend over 20 minutes attempting to find the stairs. After sprinting around the hallways of the school in circles for way too long, I take a second look at a door that I had already checked. Apparently I could have peeked through a hole in the door the entire time. Feh. I look through the hole and bear witness to one of the most terrifying groups of creatures imaginable.

          Extremely pale Japanese schoolgirls facing away from the camera! Um... the terror? Rin wonders if she should ask them what in the name of bad ideas is going on when they dissolve into nothingness. Again, not much of a big deal in this game, but it scares Rin enough to cause her to forget that punctuation is supposed to go at the end of a sentence.

          Rin is also apparently shocked enough to not react physically at all and leave her head awkwardly next to the large hole leading to the room of ghostlyness. This goes about as well as you would expect for Rin.

          Little Miss Jumpscare manages to get Rin to jump away from the door and fall to the floor. I then look around for a bit in the same no-movement mode that applied to Chamomile's experience with the miniature cheerleaders. After some peering about, Rin realizes the horrible truth; her jump back may have saved her from the first jump scare, but it can do nothing to protect her from THE GREAT ROTUNDA!

          Apparently Rin doesn't have as much experience flailing around violently as Chamomile, as she takes a good deal longer to break free. Rin sprints off through the now open stairwell door and down to the third floor. Upon arrival, she hears what sounds like... something. I didn't actually hear anything so I'm just gonna take her word for it that there was some kind of noise. Anyway, this causes her to press her ear up against a random door.

          Upon pressing her ear to said door, Rin realizes that the sound was just her imagination. Yes, this was indeed a necessary cutscene. But wait, now the camera's panning to a piece of paper! Maybe this will give me a hint as to what to do next!

          Ah yes. This is clearly helpful to me in so many ways. I get a chance to actually read it after the cutscene however, and the sign apparently says to return the door's key to the janitor's office after use.
          I think that wraps up this installment of this Let's Play. Next time, we get to find a janitor's closet! I guess.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let's Play Calling Part 2: The Short and Wondrous Adventures of Chamomile

          After approximately 7 minutes of turmoil and way too many paragraphs, I understand that I have survived the first cutscene. Herbert's antics come to an end, and I once again breathe the free air. It's time to actually play the game. I have entered...

          Assuming that Shin Suzutani is someone's name, I don't recall any Shins appearing during the intro chat. Maybe Shin was the anonymous chatter, or maybe that entire first cutscene was there to provide nothing but the obligatory opening kill and exposition combo. Whatever the case, I awaken to another cutscene. Wheee.

          So apparently, Shin has awoken in an unfamiliar place that seems to be somebody's crappy bedroom. Being sensible, he acts only slightly puzzled after waking up in bland-wallpaper-house. He then notices two phones sitting on a side table next to him and I assume control of his actions. After stumbling about for a while due to the game being on the Wii and all of my movements being resisted due to Shin's irresistible urge to  closely study the paint on the ceiling, I attempt to pick one up and call somebody Shin knows to alert them to his status as a part-time resident of creeper house. Shin has other ideas.

          This is true. I advance the dialogue. There is silence. Apparently Shin finds it rude to violate someone's privacy by using their cell phone after they have kidnapped you and left it sitting on a table. I inspect the cell phone again and Shin reiterates his wise observation that he is, in fact, looking at a cell phone. Fed up with Shin's repetitive assertions of the cell phone's status as itself, I choose to examine the other phone.

          Woah. I would continue writing, but the idea that a black rotary phone is, in fact, a black rotary phone has stunned me into silence. For a game called "Calling," there sure doesn't seem to be very much of it so far. Although I suppose I've only actually been playing for approximately 15 seconds (and 5 paragraphs) so I'll let this one slide. I proceed to search the drawers on the side table and discover exactly no things. I continue over to the other side of the room and begin searching a large set of drawers while the cat doll on top opens and closes its eyes. Then something happens. Something completely indescribable through text.

          The lights go out and Shin utters a sound that can only be written as "Ahauguaha." It sort of sounds like what would happen if you tickled a llama with a plastic shovel. Shin has lost his name privileges at this point; anything capable of creating such a sound does not deserve a human name. From now on this entity shall be referred to as, and exclusively as, Chamomile. It is the only word to describe such a sound. Anyway, I learn that I can save using the eye fluttering cat things. Yay?
          I notice that in the save point this area is referred to as "one story house." I believe there are many other terms that could be used to better describe the flaky-paint-blackout-doll home than this. Just as I exit the save point, I hear a phone ring behind me and observe that it is the cell phone from before, still on the side table. Seeing as Chamomile outright refused to touch it before, it's probable that he won't

          It seems that Chamomile is attempting to make as little sense as a character as possible at this point. Either that or he just doesn't understand the concept of using phones in any other way than picking them up. Regardless, I go over and grab it just to stop the ringtone from continuing. After a short tutorial, I open the phone and listen to the caller. It sounds like a fairly old man.

          After this, the caller hangs up. Umm... good to know. I suppose I'll remember that? After the call, I investigate the clearly lit room and find out that I can't investigate anything because "I can't see well in the darkness" and venture forth into the dark hallway. The atmosphere of the hallway is crushing, and I find myself having only enough willpower to venture into the room directly adjacent to the one I've just left. I attempt to press the light switch outside the room, but not even a flicker results. Anxious, I open the door and peer inside.

          A toilet... okay. After a quick search, there's nothing to be found in the bathroom so I shut the door and creep slowly down the hallway, leading to another door. I attempt to open it, but the doorknob only rattles in reply. Suddenly, I hear a noise. I look around, puzzled. And then...

          A rabid old pale man leaps from the shadows! Luckily, the possibly frantic moment is stopped when he gets smacked in the face with a tutorial screen.

          From the tutorial I learn that if Chamomile flails around enough the ghost will just sort of give up and leave, so I do so. The previously locked door opens and I walk in, finding a flashlight on the floor. I try to open a sliding door at the exit of the flashlight room but only manage to get it open a crack. I head back to the first room to see what I missed due to the darkness, and get another phone call detailing how dolls rule because they never betray you and such. Then I hear giggling and turn around toward the bed.

          DOLL ASSAULT SQUADRON! I nearly jump as they shake their heads violently, laughing and then... just sort of disappear. Okay, I guess these dolls are pretty noncommittal in their attacks on innocent bystanders. With nothing else to do and feeling sort of disappointed that this game managed to make dolls completely un-scary, I head back to the sliding door room. I peek through the crack I made between the doors and see some lady lying on the floor, causing Chamomile to once again produce his wretched ululation. He starts having some sort of nervous breakdown and looks around the room (apparently when you're freaked out you stop moving rather than start booking it) and slowly turns back to the crack to see...

          The doll assault squad is actually a deadly doll cheerleading squad who have formed a human pyramid behind the door and have started projecting their prehensile hair through... what. Chamomile can't handle the sheer stylish force of the dolls' acrobatic moves though, so he forces me to make a charge back to the first room... because I guess that will help him somehow. On the way there, the old man jumps me again and I successfully shimmy out of his grasp. Upon making it back to the room, I receive another phone call (from a young female voice this time) claiming that it's "got me." Although this just seems like more of the same, apparently it sets Chamomile off and he starts hyperventilating. Suddenly, a familiar face appears in the shadows.

          BOOF has made her return! Also that's pretty much exactly how I expected Chamomile to look. Chamomile stares dumbfounded at the opposite wall for a bit before spinning around and noticing BOOF. BOOF then proceeds to kill him using her six arms. Yeah, I don't know either.

          Chamomile makes several ridiculous faces while failing to sync the movement of his mouth with his screams and kicks the bucket. So I guess that was just another over-extended opening kill. Good to know.

          So after about 10 minutes and an extremely long summary, I've completed The Possession. I guess. Hopefully I'll be dealing with somebody less annoying than Chamomile here after this.

          Wait, who even got possessed?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let's Play Calling Part 1: Cutscenia

          Hello to those of you who have stumbled upon or decided to seek this blog. You will be one of the amazing human beings blessed with the privilege of observing my first Let's Play to be posted here. "Calling" is a 2009 horror Wii game developed by Hudson Soft, that, to put it bluntly, had a pretty terrible reception. I'll reserve judgement until I complete it, and I'm hoping I have the kind of brain that allows me to give it some appreciation. So, without further ado, let's get this started.
          After getting the disk in the Wii, things look okay. The title from the Wii menu seems at least okay. Then, I actually start the game and see the ESRB rating slide. Oh dear.

          This does not bode well for the game's quality. Maybe I'm just a cynic, and there's an explanation for this other than some sort of error. Maybe "Calling" is just EXTREMELY VIOLENT and this is an attempt by the developers to ward off any soul who may not be troubled by the sight of one dose of T rated violence, but retches at two. I haven't even gotten to the title screen yet and things look grim. Let's think positively. At least this will probably manage to outdo anything else we see before the first menu appears. Show me the next screen game. Let's go.

          That is not the logo of a creator of horror games, Hudson. That is Hudson, the magical mustachioed bee. He does not spread fear. He spreads love. You should know this by now. Please title screen, save me from this nightmare. Or lack of one.

          Okay, this is getting better. Visual pun with the Ls and the I, fairly creepy backdrop and some shadow hands going for a cellphone. Greener pastures may be ahead. The game begins with a chatroom, oddly. Someone has entered as an Anonymous user.

          This is nice. Mystery, I like it. Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous seems sophisticated. Maybe this is some sort of haunted chatroom... full of phones... that call people... through the chatroom... or something. The fact that people seem to be typing into a computer-based IM using exclusively their cell phones doesn't really seem like much of an issue. So let's see what our plot is building towards. 

          Goodbye, possible fear, LOL.

          So in a development that would take way too many screenshots to fully document, it becomes clear that this is a chatroom full of people looking to speak with the dead... or something. I was a bit too busy trying to figure out how they were typing at normal speed with normal keyboard-less phones to actually pay all that much attention. Somebody mentions some high school girls' deaths. Then somebody named Kuroneko logs on, says hello, and the phones of all of the chatters ring. We see one girl picking up her cell. This does not sit well with the blue, out of focus child standing behind her. 

          Blue out of focus child (who shall henceforth be referred to as BOOF) title fades this girl to death and we see her personal kill count dial increasing. Evidently BOOF is on the forgetful side, seeing as she needs some sort of rusty spinning score counter to remind herself of how many chillin's she done ate. 

          I have a feeling kill number one thousand is going to be extremely major for some arbitrary reason. Anyway, we continue down exposition lane and away from gameplay town when some bodyless and characterless voices speak to each other about some lady whose husband and daughter have died.

          The conversation between faceless 1 and 2 continues. (I secretly believe these two are actually one person who's extremely lonely and talks to themself about other people's suffering in order to ease the pain. They're probably named Herbert.) After some generic conversation about how sad it all is, Herbert 1 drops the word I was hoping I wouldn't have to hear (or read) in this game.

          DOLLS. I was beginning to doubt this game was going to scare me. This might just end up destroying  me after all. This is only my first part of my first Let's Play! I will move on. I can survive this! I CAN SURVI

          Someone please stop this. Well, this cutscene has worn out my writing fingers. I suspect I'll post some actual descriptions of the gameplay soon, but until then, get pumped and destroy any doll you may see. For my sake.