Expect spooky boiler rooms.

Five teenagers band together when one of their number mysteriously disappears from the halls of Leafmore High. While searching for their missing chum, the remaining four are trapped inside the insidious school. Sound like your average slasher flick? Surprise! It’s Obscure. Think of it as one part Resident Evil and two parts Alone in the Dark. As you search for clues and solve puzzles that will unlock the other buildings on campus, nasties leap out from every crevice, each protected by a “black aura.†Dispersing this aura with the “boost†mode of your flashlight allows you to kill the critters, but you run the risk of the flashlight overheating and failing.

Only two of the five characters are active participants at any time: you manage one, the AI handles the other. Each teen has a special ability, but most players will probably use two particular characters for the majority of the game. Both are walking help systems, making the puzzles and annoying pixel-hunts ridiculously easy.

As for the game’s title, does it refer to the fixed camera angles that block your view of the monsters during combat? Does it hint at the dim behavior of the protagonists, who muse over basketball flyers and report cards as bloodcurdling screams echo through the murky corridors? Or is it an allusion to the inscrutable keyboard controls? The designers obviously meant for a gamepad to be used, as evidenced by the D-pad icon that appears whenever you give commands to your AI pal. Why, then, is there no native gamepad support on the PC?

Mercifully brief, the whole affair lasts about eight hours. Once completed, an additional difficulty level is unlocked, as well as a “special mode†that offers a few new weapons and outfits. Unfortunately, neither of these are carrot enough to encourage another round of this experience. Despite some appealing graphics, a few compelling moments, and a budget price tag, the reasons to buy Obscure remain… well, you know. Obscure.

System Requirements: P III 1Ghz, 256 MB RAM, 4 GB HDD, 32 MB Video, Win98

Tags: Free Download Obscure 2004 PC Game Review