Friday, April 5, 2013

Tea Time with 1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg

Dinobots, assemble!
This week's tea time is so short that I'll cut to the chase:

There are raptors. World War I raptors. And they want your flesh.

The Dino Crisis Prequel We've All Been Waiting For

1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg describes itself as a "first person avoider." Usually, attempts to define a game as being part of a new genre come off as the publisher trying to sell too much hype. 1916 definitely hit the nail on the head with that one, though.

In this very short but beautifully simple game, you take on the role of a German soldier who finds himself trapped in a trench system with some very casual but nevertheless bloodthirsty dinosaurs. The goal is simple: get the hell out of there before life finds a way to eat your face.

1916 is the game that dares to ask: "was trench warfare not shitty enough?"

Your tools are few and of dubious effectiveness: a rifle with three bullets, flares, and the correct strength/morbidity ratio to rip hands off of corpses so you have something to throw as you run away screaming.

The entire game takes place in a small section of trench. After some requisite unarmed intro scares, you (hopefully) find solace in a bunker where you can relax with some sweet '16 jams and wait for someone to come rescue you.

I notice there's no area marked 'rocket launcher.' Thanks, Germany.

Oh... wait. Oh.

1916 stirs fond memories of early survival horror. Your avatar can only sprint for so long, and he's suffering from being on the front lines. The world is murky, especially once that gas mask comes into play. There's a cruel amount of twists and turns that might hide hungry hungry dinosaurs. The gun doesn't seem to do anything, or maybe it's just as inaccurate as the firing animation implies.

That all conspires to make it tense. What pushes 1916 into being terrifying, even for people who don't usually get scared, is that your objective is eternally just so close. Even hardened horror veterans can't help but get on edge when the ladder is right freaking there and why can't you sprint for just one second longer, now are you glad you skipped your dance class, you out of shape slob?!

This was a shameful period of raptor history, before they were allowed to open doors.

Maybe 'terrifying' isn't the right word. Whatever it might be, it's definitely the feeling of survival horror.

Ready to climb into the raptor pen? Download the game or play in browser.

Want to suggest a game or genre for tea time? Email me at
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