Some Thing Survived
The next entry in Horror Game Icon has players fighting against a deadly mutation at a research facility in the frozen wasteland (and no I’m not talking about The Thing).
Instead I’m going to look back at Extermination, one of the earliest first party titles released for the PlayStation 2. This was a unique horror game for its time that sadly was quick to fall into obscurity among the PlayStation community. Let us look back at this lost gem and give it the respect that it deserves.
A Frozen Nightmare
A distress call from Fort Stewart, a research facility in Antarctica, is sent out requesting an immediate air strike on the facility. In response, a squad of the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance is deployed to the facility to investigate the situation. However en route, the plane malfunctions and the team is separated upon the crash landing.
From this point players will take on the role Sergeant Dennis Riley, who will make his way to the base with a squad mate Roger Grigman.
When Sgt. Riley and Grigman finally arrives to the base, they discover the horrific aftermath of a mass slaughter. Soon they are attacked by members of the base staff that have been mutated by a viral outbreak. the player is tasked with fight through the base, finding survivors and keeping the outbreak from escaping the base.
A New Nightmare
At a first glance; Extermination may look like The Thing with a Resident Evil-setup but after giving it a try one would come to see it as a new take on the classic horror survival genre.
Extermination featured a gameplay mechanism and control function that is based on the classic Resident Evil-setup to give players a sense of familiarity. True to the concept of horror survival, the player must solve a series of puzzles to progress while fighting against the infected with a limited arsenal. However the puzzles were more about unlocking doors and gaining access to different parts of the facility while the ammo could easily be replenished at certain checkpoints.
New to the horror survival is the concept of “Infection Rate”; this requires the player to avoid being infected by the virus or risk taking greater damages and face the possibility of mutating. Players could cure themselves by finding vaccines and using a special machine called the MTS Bed that are located in certain areas.
So why did the PlayStation community totally forgot about this game? Several moths after its North American release; games like Devil May Cry, Max Payne, Silent Hill 2, the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and most important of all Grand Theft Auto III were released. Basically it got dog piled by a wave of major releases. These highly anticipated titles made Extermination completely forgettable.
It also didn’t help that The Thing was released a year later and featured an original gameplay mechanism while being presented as a sequel to one of the greatest horror films of all time.
In the end, Extermination was unfortunately one of those great games that fell into obscurity because it was overshadowed by more highly anticipated titles. Yet the season of fear is upon us and it won’t hurt to survive a nightmare inspired by the John Carpenter classic.
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