Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned: Psycho Crime - Japanese title
Condemned - European title
The game is played from a first-person perspective with a variety of weapons to attack your enemies. Focusing on melee combat Thomas can grab items directly from the environment, such as signs, pipes, 2x4's, concrete, rails, planks of wood, even desktops and desk drawers. There is also a supply of firearms, such as the standard pistol and shotgun, but all of those only have a limited amount of ammo.
The hunt takes Thomas across several different areas, from an abandoned office building to a subway station to an elementary school to an apple farm on the outskirts of town, battling all kinds of deranged people along the way. Combat is brutal and Thomas is able to perform a number of graphic finishing moves. The game is largely set in dark and narrow environment, with many horror elements. Lighting is scarce and Thomas has to use his flashlight at all time to light the environment. Enemies are also able to pull fuses to turn off lights and use the new darkness to their advantage. Movement is generally slow, but Thomas is able to sprint for a short moment. Health is replenished through kits scattered around. Enemies engage using the same weapons and they are also able to grab Thomas, which requires moving around frantically until they let go, with a dark haze over the screen visualizing the effects of strangulation. The screen also often turns grainy when Thomas has strange visions related to the serial killers.
Next to the combat there are also many moments where Thomas has to investigate the scenes, using several different types of forensic tools to find clues and help further the story. Use the UV light to find traces of blood, get a blood sample using the sample guy, use your laser light to find evidence that may be hidden. You also have a scanner to scan certain items, and a digital camera for any photographs which need to be taken. Most of the importation is processed at the bureau and Thomas keeps in touch with them through his phone.
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Condemned is not like any other game you've played, and is a great combo of first person action with survival horror. It is scary and brutal, and has a great story, regardless of the stupid ending. I highly recommend it to horror fans and people who love brutal melee or murder mysteries. Take a bow, Monolith.
An incredibly effective mixture between gripping horror and smooth gameplay by Mobygames has been cybersquatted (588)
It's been a while since a game doesn't give me the creeps like this one did. Games like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth did have a really effective horror atmosphere, but this one surpassed pretty much everything I've played since the first and third Silent Hill's. I found myself genuinely scared when investigating certain areas. During my first playthrough I even avoided some rooms, the tension I was feeling was so strong. There's a level that takes place in an abandoned department store with a bunch of mannequins scattered here and there that really got to my nerves, especially when some of them start moving... As a fan of horror games, the shockingly effective atmosphere of Condemned alone grants it a honor seat among my all-time favorites.
The combat system is simplistic and repetitive, but it's also responsive and smooth enough as to get me to play the entire thing through all over again once I was done. Still, the ability to perform at least some basic combos would've been greatly appreciated.
The worst part of the game are undoubtedly the puzzles: The enticing promise of crime scene investigating armed with high-tech forensic tools translates into the most stupidly simplistic excuses for puzzles I've seen in quite some time.
All in all, I think Condemned is a great game. In a way, it reminds me of The Suffering, as both are equally effective at delivering a genuinely terrifying atmosphere and enjoyable gameplay, two things we rarely see coming together.