Survival Horror

There are many distinguishing features that define a survival horror game, the most obvious of which is a lack of ammo/weapons and a strange setting. Although, there is a lot more depth to the style of these games. The games are designed to scare people, so the player usually controls a character which is made particularly weak compared to the enemies (to give the player a sense of vulnerability). The character will be put in an unfamiliar/closed in environment and be forced to encounter ghosts or generally undead enemies. The character will be armed (most of the time) with a certain weapon, in some games the character can pick up ordinary objects to use as weapons, such as lead pipes, planks of wood, kitchen knife etc. But sometimes the character is given a gun of some sort however there is always a lack of ammunition (or too much ammunition for the wrong gun) so the player will have to use the weapon scarcely and find ammo and health whenever they can, hence the name of the genre. To progress in survival horror games the player is usually forced to explore and solve puzzles, however, the enemies will make the player more reluctant to do so.

The first game in this genre is called sweet home which was on the NES and it was released in 1989. It was about a group of people who enter the mansion of the recently deceased to photograph her paintings, but as soon as they enter the house they are locked in by a ghost and must find a way out. The game is said to have been the inspiration for resident evil, by being set in a mansion, having to solve puzzles and it even had the annoying door sequence.

The game which defines the genre better is resident evil which is probably the most popular survival horror game. The game features a trained unit which are sent in to find a missing unit who disappeared while investigating a series of gruesome murders. The team soon find themselves taking refuge in a nearby mansion after getting attacked, but the mansion is full of undead creatures which are genetically modified by a virus created by the umbrella corporation. In the game the player controlls a character who has to make their way through the mansion and to hopefully find their safety. It features all of the classic survival horror elements such as lack of weapons, puzzle solving, claustrophobic environments etc.

There have been many steps forward in the genre, creating many different types of survival horror, some of which may not even be considered survival horror at all. For example resident evil changed the whole style of gameplay when they released resident evil 4, which was less survival horror and more kill hordes of rampaging 'zombies'. The game gave the player a lot of guns, ammo and medical supplies, it was also a lot less puzzle orientated making the game more of an action rather than survival horror. The same could also be said about the new resident evil 5 which has the same kind of set up, but this game is going to contain an incredible amount of enemies which will add a certain horror aspect to it. The player will again have an overabundance of guns and ammunition but for the amount of enemies there are it still dosen't seem like enough creating one of the core aspects of any survival horror game by making the player feel vulnerable.

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