by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
I can still remember playing the F.E.A.R. demo when it first came out. Monolith had been working hard to make us believe that the game really was scary and with that mindset and the lights switched of, I started playing. The first few moments in the game weren't all that scary but the tension was tangible nonetheless. At some point I climbed down some stairs and as I turned around, there she was: the little girl in the red dress (later learn that she is called Alma). Of course I could only see her legs in a flash but it was enough to make my skin crawl.
When I finally reached the floor below, I turned around and BANG! My frazzled nerves caused me to instantly pull the trigger only to see my target -some odd looking shadowy character- turn to dust. That was it for me. Lights back on, wife back in the room, only then I could play on. I finished the demo and said to myself. "Damn, Monolith is back."
The full game was brimming with those moments and yes, the Artificial Intelligence really was all that it was cracked up to be. F.E.A.R. turned out to be one of the best shooters of 2005. The only gripes reviewers could come up with, was that it required a beefy system and that it was too short.
I don't know about you but I am generally thankful when a well made thriller (movie) that has kept me in suspense for nearly two hours is finally over. With that in mind, I think the short length worked out rather well.
An expansion for F.E.A.R., called F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, is currently in the works over at TimeGate studios. While TimeGate isn't particularly generous when it comes to the storyline, we do know that the story is a continuation of the one started in the original. In fact, the game will pick up pretty much exactly where it left off. With the echo of the big explosion at the end of the game still ringing in your ears, you will start upon your new mission. Fettle may be dead but the forces that possessed him are still very much alive and they aren't happy with you... not happy at all. Unfortunately that really is all we know about the storyline.
With Extraction Point being an expansion, the focus is not on bringing the player even better graphics or a whole set of new gameplay elements. It is a continuation of the original in every way, spiced up with a few additions.