Sacrilegium: TopWare Interactive's new unpronounceable 3D horror title
Sac-ree-lee-jium? Sac-re-ledge-ium? Sac-rile-gium? It’s the game whose name cannot be spoken, not because of the terrifying consequences, but because we don’t know how. It’s a survival horror from Two Worlds developers TopWare Interactive, and it promises to “revive and renew the genre in terms of story and atmosphere”.
The story follows Alex, who travels from San Francisco to somewhere in Europe and encounters a variety of monsters on the way. Maybe the title is a misspelling of "Belgium". There's also a monster called a Moroi, "a creature most resembling a vampire, but able to eat a vampire for breakfast." But what could eat the vampire vampire for breakfast? We shudder to think.
It’s very, very difficult to make a genuinely scary survival horror game. Amnesia was a terrifying experience because the genre was pared back to its bare minimum: a handful of monsters in haunted mansion with a slightly insane protagonist. Alex - who has "combat and self-defence training" - doesn't sound vulnerable enough to be a horror protagonist, and a multitude of settings rarely work in the genre's favour.
We would write Sacri-le-gium off as another bargain basement unscary horror game, if it weren’t for a few things. TopWare have proved that they’re pretty good at understanding and playing with genre conventions, as demonstrated by Two Worlds. It doesn’t look all that bad, either. But, most intriguingly of all, it uses TopWare’s proprietary 3D-ET technology, which monitors your eye and face movements to render pseudo-3D on a 2D monitor. Which could elevate the terror to new levels, or simply induce migraines and an escalating sense of paranoia.