Wednesday, May 9, 2012

VGR Cursed Mountain

New Survival Horror review for the blog!
Promise, I'll go back to Resident Evil soon...

First, another stop on the Wii for....

VGR: Cursed Mountain
From Deep Silver/Sproing Interactive Media
Played on Wii
Also available on PC

Type Survival horror/Adventure
Year 2009

What is Cursed Mountain, and how come you might never have heard about it before?

CM is a survival horror developed by the small dev' team of Deep Silver Vienna in co-production with Sproing Interactive.
It's not an indie developer nor one of those low budgets games teams, just a small company.
They worked easily on more than 100 games over this last decade, from co-productions like the console version of Back to the Future: The Video Game. Anno 1701 and their biggest title to date being Dead Island recently.
They were also responsible for the identically themed point & click adventure game Lost Horizon, which explores a similar story and setting.

CM is one of their very few survival horrors their catalog offers, it was a bit of a challenge for them to make it stand out, being a new original game of this genre.
Instead of innovating the gameplay, the game is pretty classic in that aspect, the game uses some rarely used themes for a change.
It was a joint production amongst several small dev teams around world, across at least 14 different countries!

The game puts you in the role of a mountain climber, in a story taking place during the 80s - due to the lack of modern technology in this area back then.

You play as Eric Simmons as he searches for his missing brother Frank in the Himalays, on a mountain named Chomolonzo - the Sacred One.
Frank was last scene when he was hired by Edward Bennett to find a mysterious powerful artifact, a Terma. The story is told through quick flashes and visions Eric has during his ascension of the cliff.
Is he living through actual memories or is the altitude just making him lost his mind?
Those flashbacks are presented in the form of static drawn pictures (kinda like what you'd find in an Xbox live Arcade game).

Bennett rushed through the rituals the monks were preparing Frank, they rushed to find that Terma not respecting the Goddess/spirit/mountain who got angry. So she cursed her lands and trapped Frank, the expedition and the other natives who didn't escape her fury in time.

Now trapped in a sort of limbo/protective zone, Eric embarks on a journey through Tibetan folklore came to life...

Let me just say it right away, fans of shooters and the more action-filled Resident Evil, move along!

This is a much more adventure approach to the genre, making you progress slowly, often without facing much opposing forces during your ascension of the mountain. Collecting objects, searching places around, exploring.

But besides that, it's a pretty classic and straightforward survival horror.
The combat is done on the 3rd person similar to Resident Evil 4, only you will be facing spirits and ghosts instead of zombies. Monks and climbers trapped in the Bardo, the in-between spiritual realm between this life and the next one.
To beat enemies you can either hit them with your climbing gear or "throw spiritual beams" through the same objects.
You will be able to find updates by praying to Buddha statues hidden around, or get some obligatory ones.
To actually defeat those stunned enemies you will need to perform certain ritual gestures - which are amongst the only waggle-aspect of the game - with special Wimmote moves to free those poor souls and move on.

It super easy in the beginning but gets a bit more challenging during the game.
Also you will prefer using some weapons/powers over others (like me, I preferred to use the "energy-beam catch ghosts" Ghostbusters-like method that captured enemies in one try, no need to blast them through)

As far as themes go, this is a pretty original game.
The whole Buddhism mysticism approach is pretty unique in gaming.

The game perfectly embraces it and adapts the usual videogame mechanics to the theme. You can restore your life by using candles you find around and praying to an altar.
The game saves are done automatically through various checkpoints.
The game has a great pacing, perfect atmosphere...

...but the controls are kinda... "meh".
There's not a lot of actual waggle in-game, but the few in there is pretty badly implemented, it doesn't recognize certain moves that well. (mostly the Nunchuk ones)
It's also a pretty slow and almost boring game in the end. Poorly executed, even though it was a good idea with potential.

The game just seems to get pretty long after mid-point...

Overall, I really wanted to like game, I really did...
It's not even actually a bad game per say. It's just a bit too slow, sluggish and boring!

I definitively liked the story, the game as a lot of personality, a great the price of a good gameplay.

Don't misunderstand me, there's plenty of worse games out there to play, those that are actually bad. It doesn't have bad production values. The game actually looks nice, if a bit much overdone on the snowy-can't see aspect. But you really get the impression of climbing the Himalayas
The game had a PC port released a year later, in 2010. (on retail disc and digital)
Perhaps if you want to play it, try that version. The PC version's probably better anyway, at least it won't suffer from the silly "waggle".
(though I have not tried it myself)

Anyway, worth a try...if you like the premise and are prepared for the worst.

I give it:
 1.5 / 3 Quacks!


  1. Replies
    1. What? The review? :P
      The game could certainly have been much better...

  2. When I first heard of this project I was looking forward to what would be a bleak and brutual surivival horror for the Wii..soon as I could see he shot spirit beams I lost all interest :B it's like Ghost Busters in a way D:

    1.'s like a boring bad Ghostbusters to be exact :/

      But like I said in the "overall" part of the review. If you like the sound of the buddism-aspect and the mountain climbing, then yes. it's sort of a unique worthwile experience....
      ...but it doesn't change the fact the game's pretty boring, bland and controls badly.