The Suffering Xbox
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The Suffering Product Details
Released on 14-May-2004
Experience the terror as you fight your way out of a maximum security penitentiary overrun with ghastly creatures. your desperate bid to escape this horrific prison and the island that surrounds is only the beginning as you learn the truth behind The Suffering.
- A full arsenal of brutal weapons.
- Transform into a hideous and powerful beast.
- A horde of ghoulish monsters representing vicious executions
- Experience three different endings based on your actions.
- Sneak peek of Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy.
Scot prepares himself up for some time in the slammer as he tackles The Suffering.
Forget your deserted schools and fog-ridden towns; The Suffering unleashes its grotesque charms on you in a secluded and desolate maximum security prison, where the inmates are foul-mouthed and spiteful and the monsters are worse.
You control a bushy-sideburned man named Torque, sentenced to a long stint in the slammer thanks to murderous actions against his wife and two sons. No sooner had the jail cell been locked, the penitentiary starts to shake and the inmates start dropping one by one. In an incredible stroke of luck, your door is unhinged, allowing you to escape from your confinement and try to walk away with your life. Although, it won't be easy, since no sooner than you take a few steps towards the exit, a grotesque being slices away at a security guard and leaves his body lying in a pool of blood.
So, picking up a knife found handily on the floor shortly after the escape, you slowly crawl your way through the gritty, rusted and now haunted corridors of Abbot Prison. The graphics are suitably drab, although not in a bad way - texturing is of a relatively high standard, complimented by some impressive lighting effects and gruesome creatures. It's far from the nicest looking game in the genre, but it's certainly got its own distinct feel and captures the coarse atmosphere of a harsh maximum-security prison splendidly.
The creatures you'll be spending most of your efforts dispatching have all been crafted with some wild imagination and modelled to embody a form of execution. Of particular note are the Mainliners - monsters symbolising the lethal injection - who lob toxic needles and run at you with their prickled spines and instilled, poisoned eyes. The Slayers are involved in some incredibly neat touches as well, especially when scuttling along on all fours, scraping their metal limbs across the concrete floor, or leaving their limb impaled in the ceiling once shot down by a fierce blast from your weapon.
While on the subject of weaponry, The Suffering allows you to get your hands on what could possibly be the coolest shotgun to ever feature in a videogame. It just feels like you're holding something remarkably powerful and the sound it makes when it rips flesh and bone is ever so sickly sweet. Each weapon serves a different purpose, be it accuracy, rate of fire or sheer devastation, but in truth, you'll be sticking with a shotgun whenever you've got enough shells to fill the chamber with.
As you progress through the game, you'll notice your body become progressively caked in blood - be it your own or the hordes of enemies you've ploughed your way through. While making very little impact on the game itself, it serves as a nice piece of eye candy or as something to show for the carnage you've left lying in the previous room. Switch to the first-person mode and you'll even see it splattered over your gun, which can only mean that you're getting up close and personal - just the way The Suffering wants you to play.
You'll also be smothered in claret when you transform into your inner monster. A simple press of a button will transform Torque into a powerful beast, capable of dismembering all but the largest of foes and is particularly handy when faced with too many enemies to shoot at. Unfortunately, while in this raged mode, you'll be unable to heal yourself or pull out any kind of projectile weaponry, so it's advisable to change back when your health drops critically low.
There are some unnerving scenes to be seen here, many falling into a flashback template that litters itself throughout the game. Unfortunately, the random flashes of disturbing imagery are abundantly used too often, which in turn detracts from the unsettling intention of them in the first place. Chaser utilised this shock method to a much better effect, while The Suffering relies on it just a little too much. The in-game flashback sequences are handled nicely though, as the camera blurs and the action halts as a scene is carried out in front of you.
One of the game's strongest points is the development of the story, where as Torque you must piece together your history and uncover the truth centred around the death of your family. Sure, it does tend to fall under the tried-and-tested "man loses memory, slowly comes to terms with the truth" formula but The Suffering manages to present it remarkably well, offering some truly disturbing cut-scenes and surprise revelations.
Yet, for all the excellent creature designs and dank, gritty environments, The Suffering never really manages to lure you into a sense of insecurity. You're never truly frightened of what's around the next corner, neither are you scared of the monster you know is looming behind the next door. While it makes an immensely fun horror-themed shooter, it never does anything more than offer a few uncomfortable moments where you're prone to pull a weird face and spurt a distasteful noise from your mouth.
While The Suffering falls short of making any considerable noise in the survival horror camp, it does successfully make a name for itself as one of the more enjoyable horror shooters to be released in recent memory. If you're up for a hi-octane ride through a nightmarish world, filled with disturbing imagery and hordes upon hordes of grotesquely striking monsters, then The Suffering shoves it right in your face.
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