Gaming History 101

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The Countdown Horror Obscura – Day 7: Catherine

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Day 7: Catherine

So this is something a bit different, so far on The Countdown Horror Obscura I have covered fantasy horror, gory horror and terrible portable powered horror. Well today I’m going to cover a deep seated horror that concerns the average gamer. I speak of the horror of commitment in a relationship.

Catherine truly is a breath of fresh air in a game. You have a simple premise a man (Vincent) is in a long term relationship with his partner (Katherine) and is conflicted about taking the next big step. Basically all those things that make up an average gamers worst nightmare, such as settling down with the same partner, getting married, having kids. One big plot hole I always questioned in this game was if Vincent was in a relationship with Katherine for as long as he had been, then why on earth was he still not living with her? Instead he lives in an apartment and spends more time with his friends at sushi bars and creepy drinking establishments then actually spending time with Katherine. But this game is Japanese, so maybe its some cultural thing I’m missing. Anyway Vincent has a moment of weakness that all men go through in life where he gazes upon another woman, only Vincent being the dumb Neanderthal man that he is drinks one to many and ends up sleeping with the most blonde just over the limit blonde girl that decided to sit next to him. After this the game plops you in this most disastrous situation you as the player are then given control of how the story progresses. You can take the weight of the situation on your shoulders and try make good with your long term partner or you can just stick with your new love interest as well as make various neutral choices. This control is what most critics and gamers rate as the highlight of the game experience.

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What critics and gamers don’t seem to like is the obligatory puzzle portion of the game. Which puts Vincent into a nightmare world while he sleeps. He needs to push blocs and climb a tower while escaping the endless dropping platforms below. Also did I mention he does this in his pants- talk about being vulnerable. Personally I loved these sections I’ve always had a fondness for puzzle games since the game Puzznic on the Amstrad computer (but that’s a tale for another night children). I feel the difficulty of these puzzle sections only enhances the tension of the situation. You need to escape this nightmare or you are going to wake up dead. The game also preys on those fears I mentioned above by throwing boss sections at you. These as just the same as standard puzzle levels only this time some horrific monster is stalking you such as a demonic incarnation of your girlfriend Katherine or some creepy looking baby, this game really knows how to press your buttons if you find the thought of commitment terrifying. Of course this game only really gives men a hard time, if your female and hate men you may get continuous joy out of watching Vincent suffer over and over again. But I do feel this game can be enjoyed immensely by both men and women.

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So let me tell you a story I personally didn’t initially play this game. My lady was sieving through the titles I got for PS Plus and this stood out to her. I initially thought this might not be a game that couples should play together and was actually slightly concerned with her giving it a go. I’d been in a serious relationship with someone before this that absolutely detested any films about cheating and unfaithfulness. I took her to see a film called The Last Kiss, which ultimately ended in a rather difficult conversation with that partner on the subject matter. My life goes on and decided that history probably wouldn’t repeat itself since my current Lady friend saw that film and actually enjoyed it. So we played though Catherine together and it turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. I actually went through the experience being even more comfortable in the relationship. It may just be from my own experience but talking about the subject matter in Catherine with people is a very sensitive topic. I even have friends that are scared to talk about the issues raised in this game. Its for these reasons that I feel Catherine absolutely deserves an entry in the Horror Obscura.

The Verdict: Don’t drink and drive or you’ll spill it. Or be careful of that blonde, she could take you to hell and back.

Written by jamalais

October 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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