Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bookmonkey Saw: Day 18

Taking a step away from the films for a few days, lets look at some the other Saw-related media out there.

But first a little background.

1) In 1999 Konami released a survival-horror video game called Silent Hill (which in itself became the beginning of a series of games, comic books, movies, and novels), in which an "everyman" type character explored the frightening town of Silent Hill and sometimes slipped into a darker and more violent place.  Unlike it's most popular competitor in survival horror, the Resident Evil series of video games, Silent Hill focused on moody atmosphere and could best be described as psychological horror rather than the zombie-filled action horror of the Resident Evil series.

2) One year earlier, in 1998 the television series Felicity began airing which focused on the character of Felicity Porter (played by Keri Russell) as she attends college at the fictional University of New York, and throughout the series balances school with a love triangle involving two boys named Ben Convington and Noel Crane.  The first season ended on a cliffhanger, wherein Felicity had to choose between taking a road trip to California with Ben, or a trip to Europe with Noel.  Season two began with the knowledge that Felicity chose (mild, 13-year-old spoiler) the road trip with Ben.

Now, before you get upset and and start wondering why I'm filling my Saw blog with Silent Hill and Felicity, bear with me, It will all make sense I promise.

1a) Before season two of Felicity began, fans could buy a novel called Felicity: Summer which focused on her European trip with NOEL!?!  Which, of course, didn't happen (although the series does get involved in time travel later - seriously - so who knows, maybe it did?).

2a) Already considered one of the leaders of horror games in the video game industry, Konami began to look for a new concept which would further cement their hold on this sub-genre of video games.

Now, let's talk about Saw, for Playstation 3.  Like Felicity: Summer, Saw the game plays around with the franchise, taking place between Saw and Saw II, and featuring the character of Detective Tapp, who DIED in the first film, as the main character.  At the time of the games release, Saw VI was due out in about a month, so a game wherein the main character, who is clearly referred to as dead in the second film, somehow survives and gets to go through another bout with the Jigsaw killer may seem strange, but that is what players were met with.

The game looks an awful lot like Silent Hill, taking place in a largely-abandoned location, and with a very similar atmosphere, it is easy to make comparisons.  Also, having played through the first half of the game myself, it is probably the most fun I've had with a Saw-themed text since the first film.  The game is filled with timed mini-puzzles, and although it has a pretty high violence factor, the fact that you control the character makes it a heck of a lot more enjoyable than watching another half-dozen random characters get fed through death-manchines (sorry, Saw III - V).

So there you have it, even a passing familiarity with the series of films is all you need to enjoy the game, and as long as you are not put off by the onscreen violence, it was actually a lot more fun than I expected.

Also I got to put Saw and Felicity together for the first time on the web!

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