Stolen Pixels #239: After After Curfew, Pt. 3

By Shamus Posted Friday Oct 29, 2010

Filed under: Column 37 comments

And now I present… my most terrifying comic to date!

Which actually isn’t all that terrifying, really.


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37 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #239: After After Curfew, Pt. 3

  1. Amnestic says:

    Recently picked up the SH2 Special Edition second hand for £8, but I want to hold off on playing it until I get my new big TV so I can enjoy it all properly.

    /Not played an SH game since 1.

    I’ve heard good things about Amnesia, but not much talk about Frictional’s earlier works in the Penumbra series. Anyone know how they shape up in comparison?

    1. Teldurn says:

      According to Yahtzee, the games are quite similar. At least in their approach. I don’t know if gameplay is also similar.

      I’ve not played either, so this information might not even do you any good. :)

      1. Bryan says:

        Well, I’ve played all three Penumbra games (though the third is a lot more disconnected than the first two, and not really IMO survival horror, I still liked it), but not Amnesia.

        So… I don’t know either? I guess? :-)

        (Maybe I’ll get ahold of Amnesia for Christmas. Yes, I’m hard to buy for. Silly family, insisting on doing it anyway. :-P )

  2. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Shamus, did you ever played Vampire : Bloodlines?

    The Hotel was scary as hell for me.
    So was the hospital, when I think about it.

    1. Groboclown says:

      Unfortunately for me, I was told before hand that the hotel scene was as scary or scarier than that one Thief 3 level (The Cradle). It just didn’t work for me, though – I kept comparing it in my head, and I just thought, “no, not really.” I guess that just ruined it for me.

      1. Daemian lucifer says:

        Its a bit unnerving,but not so much.I mean you are a super powered vampire,so its not that easy to scare you.

        1. SolkaTruesilver says:

          Hum, no.

          You are a fledging vampire who just barely received the Embrace. If you don’t know where to go for the side-quests, you will be pretty weak at this point of the game.

          1. Daemian lucifer says:

            See,I didnt have that problem.The enemies I fought in the beginning(humans)were merely game for me.Uuu,they have weapons.Big deal,I have super powers!

            1. Jeff says:

              There’s a perception ability to see auras and through walls. That actually made it MORE creepy in the hotel, because the ghosts would appear. o_O

              1. tremor3258 says:

                … okay, rolling an Auspex character THIS SECOND….

                Also – the hotel is interesting, it really DOESN’T run off your Disciplines, skills, or combat ability.

    2. Cyanide says:

      The hospital was ruined for me because I knew what was in there, so the whole thing kind of reverses itself and you end up rooting for Pisha. Kindred before kine and all that.

      The hotel… I tried nullifying it by finding out that there are no actual enemies in that section. I think it actually made it worse. You just get used to being extremely powerful, and then you become powerless against forces you can’t even try to fight.

    3. Tizzy says:

      The Hotel was scary as hell for me.
      So was the hospital, when I think about it.

      And Grout’s mansion.
      And the zombie crack house.
      And the snuff film set.
      And the Sabbat house.
      And that damn werewolf!

      But not everything was scary: e.g., every visit to the society of Leopold was pure
      glee in raining death on these presumptuous but unsuspecting hunters.

  3. Dev Null says:


    See, I picked up Amnesia: The Dark Descent on pre-order, but hadn’t installed it until last night, what with one thing and another. And I was really hoping against hope that you hadn’t seen it yet, so I could recommend it to you, because I knew after half an hour that you were going to LOVE it. I hope you do write about it at some point.

    Amnestic, I started playing Penumbra Overture and quite liked it. Then I got distracted by…. ooh look! Shiny thing! Though not as compelling as Amnesia (so far) it had a nice feel to it. I will definitely go back to it.

  4. Primogenitor says:

    Re: HL2 Ravenholm. Me too. In fact, most FPS do-or-die are scary for me until the first respawn/reload.

    1. Brandon says:

      I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who found Ravenholm to be actually, genuinely frightening. I gotta say, Valve could probably do a heck of a good survival horror game if they wanted to. They really know how to make a player feel way off their guard and jumpy.

      1. Nick says:

        Yup, I found it frightening. Also beyond my skills as an FPS player. I ran out of ammo for -everything- and probably wasn’t even halfway through. Gave up in disgust like I did on the first half life.

        But it was genuinely scary!

        1. Trix says:

          The crowbar works wonders, but I will admit to not resorting to it much in that section. There is not such thing as overkill for poison headcrabs IMO.

          The interesting thing is that the basic zombies/headcrabs, by themselves, were not really scary for me…at least, if I could see them. I made it a point to look in every nook, cranny, and corner ahead of time (from a distance if possible) just to prevent any surprises.

          But then I’d always, ALWAYS jump in a window, slowly turn left, and OMGTHINGSHOOTITWAITITWITCHEDTHECAMERANOOOOO…

          If there was ever a section of the game that frightened the pants off me, that was it. I am always infinitely grateful to get past that part.

    2. Heron says:

      Me too. Ravenholm had me super freaked out the first time I played it. Not so much on later playthroughs… everything’s less scary if you know what’s going to happen.

      1. Tizzy says:

        I remember hearing for the first time: “We don’t go to Ravenholm” and feeling my heart sink: “Uh oh, I’m going to end up there soon, aren’t I?…”

    3. Tizzy says:

      Melee opponents are scary in FPSes: headcrabs, zombies, I guess hunters kind of fit the bill too… Anything that gets up close and personal is scary, regardless of the actual threat. It’s especially true in HL2 because it has such a ridiculously low penalty when hit by ranged weapons: you’re not pushed back or dizzy or incapacitated. So that you may be getting your ass handed to you by combine snipers or striders without feeling any of the fear that a lousy normal headcrab jumping at you will cause.

  5. Daemian lucifer says:

    Shalebridge cradle and ravenholm are still the most scary levels Ive played so far.Also,half life is still the only game where a jump scare didnt make me go “that was such a cheap jump scare”.Im talking about meeting the head crabs for the first time in original and the scene on a train with all the stalkers.

    1. Trix says:

      This was the main reason the basic headcrabs were scary for me. I could see them walking around with no problems, but the second I turn a corner to have one leap at my face….all bets are off.

      The other varieties always made me uncomfortable, but that was more because they reminded me more of spiders (which I haaaaate).

  6. RTBones says:

    I am surprised F.E.A.R didn’t make that list.

    1. Kdansky says:

      FEAR is good at startling you, but horrible at making you afraid. Having seventy billion giant guns doesn’t help.

    2. Daemian lucifer says:

      Well,all those rooms of blood become old rather quickly.I loved fear for its great ai,but the rest of the game was substandard.

  7. Neil Polenske says:

    I decided to do a re-run through Thief: Deadly Shadows after I got my new computer like…a year ago. I stopped cause I couldn’t bring myself to enter…well…y’know.

    And I haven’t gone back since, and I sure as shit aint gonna start it up again this close to All Hollows Eve! I mean, that’s just BEGGIN for trouble! :S

    1. Kdansky says:

      The Cradle broke Thief 3 for me. Afterwards, the rest of the game horribly paled in comparison, and I was too bored to finish it.

      1. Daemian lucifer says:

        The whole of thief 3 is kind of bland.Yes it has a nice wrap of the story about the keepers,and the cradle is a fantastic level,but compared to previous 2,the game as a whole is just meh.

    2. Galad says:

      soo I got Thief 3 thanks to this post exchange here..Would anyone advise me how to catch up on the story of the first two games without spoiling myself too much for the third game? Just read the wiki entries? A-and, I’m not getting the first two games since I’m not very fond of retro graphics (which makes it tough to game for me since I have a lame video card too..) but if there’s enough awesomeness in them I might give them a shot, like I did with Wizardry there?

      1. Daemian lucifer says:

        There is enough awesomeness in 1 and 2 besides the story.The atmosphere,the wast missions,the loot,the traps,the enemies….

        As for the story from them,I think it would be safe to read it on thief wiki.

  8. somebodys_kid says:

    Clive Barker’s Undying anybody? Or am I just a pansy…

  9. Pickly says:

    Yea, this cmoic isn’t too scary. It would need to be something like “Bobby Kotick buys out all other PC gaming companies, announces personal interest in all of them.”

    I haven’t really played the right games to be scared by setting details, as seems ot be the purpose of the comic here. Most of the more scary moment have to do with gameplay elements (Some guild wars Realm of Torment moments, and Duriel in diablo 2, especially for ranged characters, are the ones I remember at the moment.)

  10. Julia says:

    I liked that a lot. I think that may be the funniest thing I’ve read today, and I’ve read about a 4-year-old being both cute and clever, so that’s saying something.

  11. Jep jep says:

    The Cradle wasn’t really as scary as it was creepy as all hell for me. The overall mood of the level is just oppressive. I can’t remember any other game making me cringe so much just to look around a corner or walk down a hallway, expecting something awful to happen. The Cathedral and The Bonehoard in Thief 1 were probably in themselves scarier experiences the first time through, though being in my early teens back then might have played a part in that.

    Bloodlines hotel, now there’s a piece too. I can remember really being spooked, though it’s been a few years. Definetly have to play that game again, never finished the last time.

    1. Daemian lucifer says:

      What ruined the creepiness of 1 for me was that I got lost in the bonehoard for hours,and got accustomed to undead.Still I was a bit more cautious with undead than with other enemies,but that was because they couldnt be stunned.

  12. Ian says:

    Say, Shamus, speaking of terrifying(ly cute…heh) games, have you played Eversion yet?

    If not, do yourself a favor and check it out. There is also an “HD” version available on Steam that’s pretty snazzy. I think it’s $5-ish.

    Oh, don’t read and of the comments. You don’t want to spoil your fun romp around that bright, beautiful, carefree world, do you? DO YOU?

  13. Jonathan says:

    I still refuse to play through Ravenholm. Did it once, not interested in doing it again. My replays of Half-Life 2 have gone up until reaching Black Mesa East, and then get restarted in the chapter after Ravenholm, when I get the buggy.

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