‘Rule of Rose’ pt. II

Well, I found the mermaid. She puked on me and delivered some karate chops to the dome for good measure.

Since then, I’ve been at a place called the “gingerbread house,” met the first nice person in the game and am now slaughtering walking pig creatures that like to run and bowl you over.

I’m probably not going to get the chance to finish it before AGI, but I’ve played enough to call it a good, solid survival horror game, though there really isn’t that much horror. Visually, the game amps up the tension by not giving you a lot of light to work with, sometimes putting you in pitch black areas. There’s also a grainy look to the screen that adds a “dirty” touch to the experience. It’s not really a gory title, though the blood flies when you strike the various creatures you encounter. And as I mentioned before, I got puked on.

There’s an undercurrent of fear, rather than the waves of it you get with other games. Much of this has to do with the outstanding music, which features a lot of twisted violin and piano combinations. It does a good job of keeping the player uncomfortable, even though the instances of something actually jumping out at you are rare by horror standards. The true terror comes in the cutscenes bolstered by great audio — you’ll see a creatures with no eyes look at you right as the violin shrieks; you’ll hear sinister kiddie laughter or the wheezing of the demented chubby girl as she works away on a sewing machine — lots of crazy stuff that preys more on the anticipation of what you might see rather than the fear of death.

(scene description ahead — possible spoilers … )

As far as the whole “teen-girl eroticism” thing goes, I didn’t see much of it — there’s no rush of rampant sexual energy between the characters, like in “Fear Effect II.” Yes, there’s the “kiss me” scene in the intro and trailer, but after that, all I’ve seen is an innocently written love letter from one girl to another, as well as the scene of a budding friendship between Jennifer and another girl, Wendy, who says something about “being together forever” and mentions a pact of everlasting love. And the only things they trade at that moment are a teddy bear and brooch. The game is such that sexuality is the absolute last thing you think about. There’s a moment where Jennifer is on the ground and the chubby girl (Amanda) crawls OVER her instead of walking around her — and it’s not in a sexual way, but rather in a pathetic, oafish way.

My main issue with the game is goes out of its way to be vague about everything you’re supposed to be doing. I understand that this is meant to maintain the fabric of the story, but it also left me with a few instances of wandering around wondering what to do next. It seems very easy to get lost and frustrated if you don’t have something the dog can “find.”

I want to go ahead and finish the game, as there are multiple endings (I’ll get the bad one first). Overall, it’s been a worthwhile experience.