F.E.A.R. + F.E.A.R EXTRACTION POINT A RETROSPECITVE


Survival shooter standard FPS but with a supernatural edge.


I discovered the F.E.A.R franchise whilst working at TT games. Went on to play it mostly at night alone at home it is one of the few games that really made me feel that there was a genuine sense of evil in F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R. is an FPS of the survival shooter genre, you play an un-named delta force soldier named only as ‘point man” part of the First Encounter Assault Recon unit. Who happens to be a rookie.


Like most good horror movies, the developer has used the horror trope as a way to discuss deeper issues i.e. Pont man's childhood and being torn away from his mother.


Plot


In the year 2025 Armacham technology corp. developed a brigade of telepathically controlled soldiers known as replicas.

Psychic commander Paxton Fettle goes rouge with a clone army seizing ATC headquarters, killing all personnel.


F.E.A.R is deployed in response to the crisis with the point man in the vanguard.

Alma is controlling the main antagonist after being locked down in the facility.



Point Man travels back to the abandoned facility fighting waves of replicants and ATC guards.

When he comes to face with Fettle, Point Man is thrown into a flashback where Elmer's first son enables the Point Man to kill Fettle himself.


Alma is freed when ATC researcher Harlan Wade opens her storage chamber. A fat Cheeto eating technician takes point man to overload the reactor.


Running a gauntlet against Alma's ghosts when escaping before the location explodes. Delta Force extracts the Point Man on a Blackhawk helicopter.


FEAR team surveys the sight from the Black Hawk mesmerized by a mushroom cloud in the background then Alma climbs on board.


F.E.A.R extraction point plot


Picking up from where we left off from fear the survivors of the crashed Blackhawk stumble out of the crash site into an apocalyptic wasteland.

The Point Man is reunited with Delta commando Douglas Holliday and technical officer Jin Sun K Wan.


All replicas are now lifeless drones that litter the landscape because Fettle has been eliminated.



Point Man and Fettle meet in a nearby church (which seems so weird after you killed him in the last game).

In revenge for his death, Fettle reactivates replicas directing them to kill the Point Man, Holiday mentions an extraction point has been established at the roof of your auburn hospital.


After this point, the main objective of the game is about getting to that extraction point.


Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.


The relentlessly creepy tone of the game achieves, with lighting and sound, a moody darkness that seeps into your soul.


After eight hours of playing this game, it can honestly start to get nauseating as you work your way through dark tunnels and access shafts never knowing at what moment Alma’s ghost is going to appear.


Nothing Without Sound


In a horror when you have a monster or some evil that can’t be seen the easiest way to create it is with sound.

Whether it's reverberant footsteps in an access shaft or the monotonous buzz of flickering florescent light in an elevator.


To violent bursts of gunfire punctuating the tension.

Developers have used their audio palette with care to terrify the gamer there is no point in this game when playing F.E.A.R. is not anxiety-inducing.


Messages answer machine to fill information


Like Farcry 2 and the bio shock franchise recordings allows the game developer to drip-feed backstory to the gamer via answering machines littered through the game.


Level designed like Puzzles


You hardly ever go outside, any exteriors in the game are relegated to rooftops and courtyards, this chronic sense of isolation put you in a trapped mindset.

Cultivating a deep-rooted feeling of wanting to get out, wanting to break out into a wide-open space!!!


The level architecture works as a prison, one door opens as another one closes.

Requiring the player to figure out puzzles to open one section of the level whilst closing another, heightening that sense of claustrophobic enmeshment with the environment.


Players will often find themselves in ventilation ducts, morgues, water treatment plants,

underground labyrinthic tunnels where the most direct route is barricaded of forcing you to find a different way and move laterally.


A quite literal metaphor for burying deeper into your subconsciousness not knowing when Alma is going to pop out as you get closer and closer to your objective which in this game is discovering Point Man and Alma’s personal truth.

Clearing the point man’s subconscious led him to his mother.


Flashbacks as a Narrative Device


It can be argued that the root subject of all horror is childhood trauma F.E.A.R is no exception.

Point man on the face of it is a fairly nebulous protagonist but really he and Alma share a mother ergo I believe Alma is used as a flashback device to lead the point man home to his mother the original sin in point man's life.

Placed strategically through the game to trigger a memory with Alma.

Graphics


This game came out in 2006-2007, the graphics are dated but one thing they do achieve is that foreboding tone especially the way the blacks and the shadows are produced.

I would play this game in the dark at night and sometimes I was so frightened I would jack the brightness so I could see what's going on.


Gameplay


The gameplay rotates like a three-position detent switch; unnerving, intense close-quarter combat, an all-out war in the open.


It's fun to liquefy your enemies


Weapons in most FPS are to kill, weapons in F.E.A.R. are designed to decapitate, disembody and disintegrate your enemies. TFrom SMGs to rocket launchers my personnel favourites are the combat shotgun and the 10mm HPV penetrating weapon.


Game Mechanics


-Combat

F.E.A.R throws a wide array of combat scenarios and enemies at the Point Man, from squads of replicas to full-scale battle mechs.


-Slow-mo

Combat becomes an ethereal experience for the player as you hit that yellow Y button and star blasting enemies apart, it also acts as a device to draw the player via the avatar of the point man closer to Alma and the supernatural fabric of F.E.A.R.


It's pretty hard to do horror in games


It is quite difficult to make a horror game scary, it is a different animal to a horror film.

There is an audience that will passively give its attention to a film that makes it compelling allowing the film to work into your subconscious eerily slinking past the audience's defences.

But a game is a different story entirely.


You are separated by a controller a console and the knowledge you know this is man-made, it is lines of code compiled with graphics sound that can be turned off at any time.


But F.E.A.R and F.E.A.R Extraction points are different there is something malignant lingering behind the lines of code that hooks you into this nightmare giving you the F.E.A.R.


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