From Dusk Till Dawn | 245 Mb
With last year's horror-themed action-adventure game The Devil Inside, designer Hubert Chardot attempted to reclaim the "survival horror" genre that he arguably started when he created Alone in the Dark–the game that largely inspired Capcom's hugely successful Resident Evil series. Unfortunately, The Devil Inside, despite having some original ideas and gameplay elements, failed to make much of an impact. Evidently undaunted, Chardot is back again this year with another horror-themed game, From Dusk Till Dawn. And though it features some really interesting new ideas for the genre, its technical problems and overall lack of polish outweigh its few strengths.
As expressed in the gameplay of From Dusk Till Dawn, the best idea that Chardot has for the future of survival-horror games is the elimination of the simplistic, generally inane collection and item-manipulation puzzles that have become a staple of the genre. Instead, From Dusk Till Dawn's focus is exclusively on combat. In fact, Seth can't even jump, eliminating the possibility of even those types of "puzzles" that rely on fancy footwork. Every element of the game revolves around fighting. Its two subgames, which both occur several times, are a mounted Gatling gun mode, reminiscent of Wizard Works' simple shooter Beachhead 2000, and a sniper mode that's a lot like Virtua Cop and other light-gun games.
What differentiates this unyielding focus on combat from other pure combat games is From Dusk Till Dawn's other standout concept: the band of survivors. Though it's a staple of zombie and vampire movies, including the game's inspiration, the gradual accumulation of a ragtag group of allies has been effectively absent from the survival-horror genre. Though the game doesn't quite pull it off, it at least makes the attempt. As you make your way through the ship, you'll come across survivors, both singly and in groups. Instead of running away, dying, or disappearing through some other convenient plot contrivance, they're each incorporated into the story and will follow you throughout the rest of the game. Though they come and go as the plot progresses, and though you're sometimes required to go somewhere alone, in a given battle, you may have as many as five or six autonomous characters helping you fight the undead.