Cry of Fear used to be my favorite game of all time. Thing is...it was like that years ago, and it even seeped into some of my site. References, basing the text off of the same motion-blur arial, putting Simon on one of my buttons; etc. In April 2018, I had to switch to Windows 10 because of a virus wiping out my installation of Windows 7. OpenGL no longer works correctly. Neither does Cry of Fear. Skip to March of 2019. I install Windows 7 again, and the first game I play is Cry of Fear, to see if it still stands the test of time to this day. Let's see where this leads.
Cry of Fear is a survival horror that has a tendency of leaning a little too far on old trends - think Greta Van Fleet to Led Zeppelin, but edgy. This is less in gameplay and more in story and puzzles; Simon is a traumatized and mentally unstable 19 year old man. Suffered a car crash, and was suggested to write a book about all his anxieties and issues. Cry of Fear, gameplay-wise, puts you in the shoes of "Book Simon", dropped off in this fucked up world of confusion, metaphors, shittily-laid-out apartments, with no goal other than to get back home.
The game is heavy on guns despite not having many, but the ones they do have are genuinely impressive and feel smooth to use. Gun nuts all around agree that Cry of Fear has amazing guns, and I'm no gun nut but I have to agree, especially in the pistols. Simon has stamina and while this stamina isn't usually annoying, there are some parts where you have to run and the stamina's length just isn't in your favor. For instance, the first nightmare sequence where you run through halls as hands come out of the floor and grope at your feet. Hope you used a morphine syringe before going in.
The jumping can be somewhat annoying sometimes, though there's no severe problems with how the game plays. Dodging is relatively responsive, running puts you at a decent speed for a decent time with a decent regeneration speed, though the inventory management can be absolutely annoying and requires, a lot of the time, dropping one thing to pick up another and then hoping you can go back to pick up that thing you dropped. It's clear that despite having very well thought-out guns, this game shines through the story, especially the story behind Simon himself. Even before what he calls the "black day", in which he was hit by a car, he wasn't the most sturdy and stable person out there. Anxious about things like college, his friend Sophie, suicide - overall, depression. It's never explained much, however, why Simon is so anxious and depressed.
Simon doesn't trust his doctor? His doctor is in the book as a mysterious maniac. Simon has anxiety? The "anxiety" in his book is a fast chainsaw-wielding motherfucker who comes out of nowhere at random times. Simon had a time where he felt everything he had was taken away? Eventually he loses everything in the game, including his bag. As if the inventory management wasn't bad enough. The monsters in this game get more and more disgusting as time goes on, with bone-chilling screams, lightning speed attacks and movement, and horrifying designs that often seem to replicate people in Simon's life.
The story behind Cry of Fear is mostly a one-trick pony, however. There's not much more than "this bad thing happened in my life, let's make a metaphor for it in my book", which is unfortunate, but at least it does that trick right...most of the time. Cry of Fear truly doesn't offer a lot more than games before it and the games that inspired it, like the Silent Hill franchise, for instance. Sometimes, it really just feels like Cry of Fear is trying to do more than it really can. I can see why it was my #1 favorite, and it still is one of my top 10 favorites, maybe even top 5, but after playing the games that did what it wants to do better, I can't say it's amazing.
Click on the image below to go to the Steam store page for Cry of Fear.