Game Review: Into the Dark - Ultimate Trash Edition
By Andreas Charalambous - 4th June 2014
Into the Dark: Ultimate Trash Edition is an interesting PC steam-based game from Homegrown Games. As a fan of trashy horror B-movies from years gone by, I was excited by the prospect of diving right into a game that was described by its developers as a “Playable B-Movie Trash Abomination’’ – Their words, not mine!
It was not long before I was greeted by the game’s title page, featuring zombie cabaret dancers doing the zombie Can-Can. Interesting!
I can see the vision that the developers had when creating the concept of Into the Dark: Ultimate Trash Edition – a playable B-Movie of a game, which should appeal to those who enjoy a good grindhouse movie or two.
As you can imagine by thinking of the types of films it is trying to emulate, this game is by no means perfect – nor does it try to be. As the “Ultimate Trash Edition” title suggests, there are many things that are wrong with the game itself (again, as with the movies whose format it is copying) and it aims to sit nicely in the category of the “so bad, it’s good” variety.
The story revolves around private detective Peter O’Brannon, who is employed by a big corporation to unearth information that no-one else in their right mind would go in search of, for fear of facing some strange and deadly goings-on. Bar some communication with Peter’s superiors, essentially that is the entire story.
The B-movie influence is evident in the inclusion of schlocky zombies and un-PC jokes, but can be a bit hit-and-miss with the dark humour. You really have to be familiar with the grounds this game is treading in order to fully appreciate the self-aware vulgarity of it all.
The game is a first-person shooter, where you will find many interesting monsters to kill (including zombie hookers!) and an equally varied selection of weapons to dispatch them with. Along the way, you are made to solve some pretty unchallenging puzzles, amongst all the interesting side missions that await.
Again, owing to the self-professed ‘trashiness’ from the developers, the game mechanics do have some major issues – especially the controls, targeting and random respawning of monsters – but you have to wonder how much of this is intentional, and how much is just plain bad game design. There were also some issues with the audio in places.
The dark environments remind you of PC games from the early 2000s and the voice acting is hilariously cheesy and wooden at times, which again make you wonder if this is intentional, or not. There are plenty of easter eggs to discover, pop culture references and the occasional jump scare that will make you want to play on and see if the game gets any worse (or better, depending on your view-point).
You get to drink with skeletons, play a piano whilst listening to the screams of the previously-mentioned zombie hookers, and can watch George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in an in-game cinema, in its entirety (I'm not making it up, honestly!).
It gets weirder!! Amongst all the zombie Nazi-slaying shenanigans and thought-provoking political statements within, you also become privy to the connection between the Third Reich and the War on Terror, whilst watching vintage porn films no less, which are hidden within the game (Take that GTA, with your controversial scenes!).
According to the press release, you can also hook up an Oculus Rift and immerse yourself within the dark environments and roam them with VR delight (I don’t have an Oculus Rift… so I didn’t).
By now, you are probably reacting to this review in one of two ways. Either you are intrigued by this game, or you are quite happy to give it a miss. As I mention earlier, this really is down to how much you enjoy trashy B-movies, and whether you are convinced that the many buggy faults within the game are intentional in trying to remain faithful to these. There is a ‘hint’ within the game, which suggests that if you are finding the game too buggy to play, then it’s probably because you are too sober. After all, you are in control of a heavy-drinking private eye!
Ultimately, you may or may not appreciate this ironically bad game with its equally bad sense of humour throughout. The question you will be asking yourself is if this game can be described as “so bad, it’s good” or “so bad, it’s terrible!” – although I must admit, I did enjoy being immersed into this bizarre experience of a game, even with all its faults. It is just plain craziness coming at you from your PC monitor.
Currently priced at under £7 on the Steam Store, it costs less than a ticket to watch a trashy horror film at the cinema. So, if you enjoyed watching trash on the big screen, you may just enjoy this game.