Creeping Terror (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Albert Lichi 06.11.2017

Review for Creeping Terror on Nintendo 3DS

Clock Tower is one of the unsung heroes in the horror genre. It was one of the earliest gothic examples and featured an invulnerable pursuer that stalked the player-character. This was, and still is, a very novel approach having a scary threat in a horror adventure game and even to this day examples can be seen in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, NightCry, Dead Space 2 and Haunting Ground. It is a very frightening concept and, in practice, it usually works in creating a strong sense of desperation and fear. When compound with adventure gameplay of collecting key items and exploration of a contained locale, results can prove to be an exciting experience. Creeping Terror on Nintendo 3DS makes a half-hearted attempt at this.

Creeping Terror is developed by Sushi Typhoon Games, which happens to be a game development division of a film production company. The film production company is none other than Sushi Typhoon, which is infamous for producing highly entertaining ultra-violent schlock like Mutant Girls Squad (great movie) and the criminally underrated baseball epic, Deadball. It's a production company that is a part of the popular "New Japanese Gore" sub genre of films that has gained a lot of traction in the West. Now that it is dabbling in videogame development, naturally it would focus on making a story-driven survival horror. What is surprising is how little Creeping Terror relies on shock value given the fact that director of Ichi The Killer is the head honcho at Sushi Typhoon, but instead it relies on crafting atmosphere through a slow build up.

The very first thing that everyone will notice is that it is an amazing looking downloadable eShop title. The environments are all rendered in 3D, while the characters are illustrated in 2D, utilising a joint-based animation system. While the atmosphere is appropriately murky and every room feels distinct and recognisable, it is the character animations that were the one aspect that the developer gave the least priority. The animation is not bad, but given how the designers opted for the puppet-like method to rig the characters' joints, it was inevitable that all animation would have an uncanny stiffness to it. It is surprising that given the method to get these characters to come to life, they get by just enough that it doesn't distract too badly, except to the trained eye.

Screenshot for Creeping Terror on Nintendo 3DS

The aesthetics and art direction are strong for the most part. The main cast of teens are well designed and easily recognisable, especially Arisa the protagonist, who was obviously designed as a subtle homage to Clock Tower. Unlike Clock Tower, however, Creeping Terror has much less interesting stalkers. The hulking miner who wields a shovel just feels pretty generic and comes off as dumb muscle with no personality. There is also an elderly hooded figure that is hunched over and functions identically to the miner, which highlights this game's major flaw: escaping the stalkers requires no thought or imagination. The most interesting of all the pursuers is the dog because he operates a bit differently from the others and because a dog is just such a primal fear that is much easier to relate to.

When encountering a pursuer, Arisa has to hide, which would be interesting if it weren't for how rigid Creeping Terror's idea of what a hiding space is, compared to the Super Famicom's Clock Tower that had a wealth of options, things to interact with, and neat little set pieces that Jennifer could engage with to escape or temporarily despatch the scissor-man. Arisa can only run to the safe room while using up stamina or one of the fixed designated hiding spots because she can barely interact with her environment. It is a huge shame, too, because the developer put a ton of effort into the look and design of everything, and yet there is no interesting flavour text to go with any of it. This makes the overall threats feel much less scary since now they feel more like mechanical obstacles and annoyances rather than a thinking monster. These stalkers do not even exist in the game's world realistically; they tend to completely disappear after Arisa comes out of hiding and all tension is lost. They seem to appear at scripted moments and very rarely does this game have any real emergent gameplay in it.

When not being chased by Scooby Doo type bad guys, the gameplay is very standard adventure game material. Arisa explores a creepy mansion or hospital and finds keys or triggers to an event and the story then continues. Once in a while there are notes that add to the lore and add some context to the situation, and other times she picks up useless consumable items. Creeping Terror is just too easy and never rises in challenge at all because of several factors. Progress can be saved at almost any time, which is counterproductive to the point of having a safe room at all in a game like this, especially since it also is extremely generous with auto-saving to begin with. The aforementioned consumable items are all useless because the safe room restores all health and mobile phone battery life, which makes the finite resources pointlessly finite. What is the point of making such an oppressively atmospheric horror title that is a complete pushover to play? Creeping Terror dares to have the same initials as Clock Tower, tries so hard to emulate its visual style, yet fails to capture its harrowing sprit of terror.

Screenshot for Creeping Terror on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Creeping Terror's best quality is by far its impeccable production quality and graphics. Generic and uninteresting stalkers aside, the art direction and overall look of the game are incredible for a downloadable 3DS release. The very 'by the numbers' adventure gameplay is serviceable, and really the main event should have been the stalkers, but they are completely undermined by a lack of challenge and pushover difficulty. It is regretful because Creeping Terror could have been the definitive horror 3DS game since all the working pieces are present but are, ultimately, horribly implemented.

Developer

Mebius

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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