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Divis Mortis

by Lynnea Dally profile


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Number of Reviews: 8
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Basic Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, April 16, 2011
by Danielle (The Wild West)
In the "About" section of this game, the author writes: "The inspiration for Divis Mortis comes from my own life. I am rather fearful of a zombie attack, to the point where upon entering rooms I think about how to best barricade them, I make sure to stock up on blunt objects and canned food, and I always am running through scenarios in my head."

In this regard, DIVIS MORTIS succeeds quite well. If ONE EYE OPEN contained the horror and surreal aspects of SILENT HILL, then DIVIS MORTIS surely contains all the "survival" feelings. As you search the hospital for escape, you see how your, ah, "predecessors" fared. This environment makes it easy to believe that you are in peril--so when you finally encounter scary things, you're scared of 'em! This is just the thing you want in a survival horror game.

This game is thoroughly grounded in realism. The medical jargon is convincing, and state of the hospital (and the story it tells) rings very true. My hat's off to the author, though, for a scene in one of the elevators--one of my very favorite parts: (Spoiler - click to show)In one elevator, you pick up an emergency phone--AND IT WORKS. Major kudos to her for this part; without it, I think a lot of the realism would have been lost.

However, like ONE EYE OPEN, I feel like DIVIS suffers just a touch from a tone problem: on occasion the player character shows some snark/humor that feels a little too funny for the dire occasion. It doesn't bother me any more or less than it did in ONE EYE OPEN, but in EYE I felt like the game could get away with it a little more, since it overall was a more quirky setting (flesh. eating. washing. machine. That is all.).

DIVIS has such a cohesive feeling of isolation and caution, the one-liners felt out of place--perhaps the author didn't think her setting would be enough to hold the player's interest? If the PC had been played completely straight I think we might have gotten an extra taste of horror. I even wish it ended on a more serious or personal note than it did.

My other issues with DIVIS can hopefully be seen as compliments. First, I wish it were longer! Second, I wish there were a few more puzzles, or maybe more zombie-interaction puzzles (distracting a zombie, or really sneaking by some, perhaps?). It sounds like the author isn't a programmer by trade, so I can completely understand why the puzzles aren't too complex. The environment makes up for these shortcomings, though.

With its short-to-midsized length and reasonable puzzles, this game might have been relegated to the "Play in one evening" category--though an exceptional one due to the thought put into the setting. However! The ending really adds to the replay value.

In short: Horror buff? Zombie fan? Scenery hound? PLAY IT!

Comments on this review

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AmberShards, April 23, 2011 - Reply
I appreciate you pointing out the incongruity of humor, here. It's one of my huge pet peeves in horror in general, because it just flushes the whole tension, dread, and creeping doom down the toilet. It's much more fitting that the characters break down and cry than bust out something funny. (Of course, if your goal is to do a non-serious kind of campy thing, then sure, go for it. Just be obvious about it so that I can avoid that.)
Danielle, April 24, 2011 - Reply
I can see *nevous* humor working in horror ("Eheheh, that shadow on the wall looks almost like a Cthulu. Heheh. Almost. Right?")...but 99.9% don't do it right.

What do you think, then, of movies like TREMORS? Granted, that's a B movie, but it's got humor and horror-tension in equal scoops and it seems to work.
AmberShards, April 25, 2011 - Reply
I'd probably class that as being in the non-serious-from-the-start camp, but I've only seen Tremors 3, and that one was primarily humorous.
Danielle, April 26, 2011 - Reply
Ach--Tremors 3 is a different animal altogether than the first two. I recommend them, if'n you have time. They take themselves seriously enough (in parts) and have good enough special effects that I think they're a bit above and beyond a mere "B" horror movie.
AmberShards, May 8, 2011 - Reply
Ok, cool. I'll check 'em out.
Mr. Patient, April 16, 2011 - Reply
I think you mean One Eye Open, not Eye Wide Open.
Danielle, April 16, 2011 - Reply
D'oh! Thanks for the correction--obviously I didn't have my eyes wide open!
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