My name is Mr. Wayne and in my gruff voice I speak of destruction. I speak of evil and the battle between men and shadows. You may know me by a different name.
No, not Batman.
I am… Randy.
I am a survivor of the war, the war between men and shadows. No, not literal shadows. That’s what we call them. Shadows. You might call them zombies. We don’t use that word.
Just because. Don’t ask questions.
The shadows took my family. Maybe. Someone did. People maybe. I don’t know. They’re gone though. I lost them, somewhere in Seattle. Somewhere in the dark remains of a world long dead.
My friends are gone, too. They ran, ran from the shadows after they found us. I didn’t go with them. I am a gruff loner. But I will track them down. I will find them like the dog that follows the scent of blood.
I head out from our hideout, heading to the right. A shadow blocks my path. I jump over it and head out into Seattle.
It’s dark outside, dark and dreary and gloomy. The world is a broken reflection of what it once was, a shattered version of a world that never really existed.
Why do I talk this way? I don’t know. It’s almost like the words in my head were written in some other language, then translated into English. Badly.
Or maybe I am just so tough. Tough like a shark that never stops swimming.
I venture out into Seattle. It is a world painted in gray and black. It looks frickin’ cool.
I jump over more shadows. I climb atop cars to avoid their greedy fingers. I scale telephone poles and vault from building to building, scaling window ledges and picking my way through the ruins.
Is it wrong of me to think this is fun? I have seen movies, movies about the hungry dead. I have played video games about them, blasting them apart like overripe melons. I have not played a game about climbing over them, avoiding them, jumping from platform to platform to continue my quest ever forward. It is novel. It is interesting. A survival horror twist on an old favorite.
Prince of Persia with the undead.
I liked that game.
Then I try to jump up, and I jump forward instead. I die.
I come back. Not like they come back. I am still me. I try to jump up again and this time I make it. I find a hidden page of my diary on the other side.
Why did I scatter pages of my diary around the city? I do not know.
I find a fire ax, and I think it will change everything. There is a shadow in front of me. I swing the ax. It slices through the shadow but does not hurt it. I try again. This time it does. I slice again and again. Finally I hurt it enough. Why do some of my attacks hurt it and others not?
Later I find a gun. I shoot several shadows in the head and they die, a satisfying victory.
Then I meet the Ratman, and he takes my weapons away. For some reason.
I must follow him through his maze. For some reason. It is full of devious traps. Many are tricky. There is no way to survive but trial and error. I run across some switches before the falling platforms crush me.
The unseen blade rushing at me cuts me in two.
I come back. Not like they come back. I am still me. I get through the trap. The Ratman gives me a slingshot I use to shoot targets that open the path ahead.
For some reason.
I bring a box up an elevator to make a jump. I push it to the edge of a platform. I fall and die, the world going dark. I try again. I die again. Try again, die again.
I search for another solution. I do not find one. I try everything I can think of. I spend 20 minutes looking for something I somehow missed, some dark clue in the dark maze of darkness.
I get stuck inside a box. I must reload the last checkpoint.
I try the first solution again, pushing the box to the edge and jumping. I make the jump this time. I do not know why it didn’t work before. I complete the Ratman’s maze and head back out into Seattle.
I run, I jump. I leap from house to house, avoiding the shadows. I race to find the Ratman’s son and stumble across his treehouse. It is a shrine to someone important, someone long gone. I continue my search.
My life transforms into a scene of film for a moment. I leap into a van, drive away from the shadows. The van crashes. I am fine, because I am so tough. The van has a radio. For some reason. A young man’s voice calls to me over it.
“Hey idiot,” it says. “You in the van.”
I follow the voice out of the van and up to the roof of a nearby building. A young man in a baseball cap is waiting for me there. I try to ignore the fact that this entire moment was lifted from The Walking Dead.
I like that show.
The young man leads me across the rooftops. A helicopter has appeared, trying to gun us down.
For some reason.
I jump, I crawl, I leap. I try to scale fences, but for some unknown reason my body refuses to do what I want it to. I come back again, I try again. Sometimes my body does what I tell it to. Sometimes it does not. When it does not listen, I die. But I always come back.
Until I turn off the console and decide to do something else.
Deadlight does as much right as it does wrong
This review is based on an Xbox 360 code provided by the publisher.
About the Author:
Jeremy Zoss has written for Game Informer, Wizard Magazine, Village Voice Media and more. He has several published works of fiction, but his dogs are not impressed with any of that.
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