Scared
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  • Freeware
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  • Action - Shooter - First Person (example - Quake)
  • March 1998
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9  |  Sometimes It's Good To Be Scared
Darryl B. , 2/6/2006 9:52:28 PM
The game genre of First Person Shooters goes back quite a ways, as a game doesn't necessarily have to show a gun pointing at the center of the screen to qualify as an FPS: the earliest ones can be considered to be the Battlezone arcade game, as well as anything cockpit-viewed where you shoot at a bunch of spaceships. However you look at it, though, there's pretty much no disagreeing that Doom capitalized on the genre back in the early 90s, turning it into a huge phenomenon then.

Then on the other side of the gaming spectrum, as far as online gaming goes, in general, you usually get simple shoot 'em ups, Pac-Man, Tetris, and Space Invader clones (along with several other kinds of rip-offs), and puzzle games, and maybe just a few others that escape my mind right now.

So, when you combine the two above genres (or maybe "platforms" is a better word; does "online games" qualify as a "genre"?), you're gonna end up with a so-so game, right?

Nope, not as far as Scared goes, in my opinion.

I lucked out in finding this really neato game, which used to be at www.gameroom.com; it's not there any more, but you can still play it at it's official site. Even if you're still on dial-up, it's worth the couple of minutes it takes to load, although I hope your eyesight isn't bad, it's playing screen is pretty freakin' small. But it's still a blast!

As in most FPS', it's your job to get out of a level and get out alive. You must make your way through mazes and destroy any robots that you come across. Even though they can move pretty swiftly, they're usually not too much of a problem in general, although if given the chance, they'll shoot away a lot of your health, of course (which can be restored by picking up health kits in a level [also of course], plus health is automatically restored back up to 100% once every time you complete a level as well). Only a couple of well-placed shots will reduce them to a pile of trash for the trashcan-shaped Star Wars droid R2-D2 to pick up later (not that he's in the game, though). Unfortunately, your ammo is limited, but there's ammo to be picked up within a level.

The game can seem pretty hard, though: until you start getting the feel of it, it seems like you don't have enough health and/or ammo to get through a level. However, the more you play it, the further those early memories will fade (just like a downed robot), kind of like in Sub-Terrania for the Sega Genesis, which it seems like your ship is always running out of fuel; but the more you play it, the easier those earlier levels become.

The game starts out simple, then some new elements get thrown in, like adding multiple keys to unlock certain doors in order to proceed, along with a couple of levels that have no power, so you can't progress any further (re: the doors won't open, like an old bottle of glue that you forgot to wipe off the top of the container for when you last used it eight years before) until you find and press the power button.

Unless you have a crappy keyboard that needs replacing, the controls work perfectly, and are pretty simple, plus there's a guide right there on the screen that tells you what key does what. The graphics are fairly decent for an old online game (LOVE that sky in the background!), although the sounds are pretty sparse, plus I really don't get that kind of punchy, snappy sound once you grab a medkit (?). It also fits with the Doom influence pretty well, with several secrets (pressing the Tab key will tell you the amount of robots left in a maze, along with the number of secrets [if any] per level, and how many you've found), collecting ammo and/or health kits.

Like I said, the game can be pretty hard, especially when you consider it has less than 10 levels, it could still keep you occupied for a while (even though there's a few "nuclear health" kits hidden throughout the game that raise your health limit to 200, but it's back to 100 once you finish those levels). And like the pre-Doom game of Castle Wolfenstein, there's no freakin' map. So that can get confusing when you're trying to find your way out, and have to "systematically" (somehow...or not) go through all a level's doors until you find the right one(s) to get out of there.

This is still a pretty good game though, even due to it's simplicity (and high difficulty level), especially since most of the sound effects were created by a can of Dr. Pepper! Yep, there's some funny stuff at the official web site -- here at http://brackeen.com/home/scared/ -- so make sure to have a poke around there, as there's also some "is killing robots ok?" merchandise (!) available through Cafe Press in the form of t-shirts, buttons and mugs (the latter two I'm going to have to check out at some point). So there's some funny stuff that went on behind the scenes, as well as the game being mentioned in a Doom thread at Classic Gaming, which it can be found on the very first post of the long-running thread here: http://www.forumplanet.com/classicgaming/topic.asp?fid=1455&tid=569105 (just ignore the part about the game still being available at gameroom.com).

So beam yourself down to wipe out a planet of evil robots (must be due to their cheesy antennas on top of their heads, and you're messing up their reception) already.

Time to get Scared. 9/10

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