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Saw it already.

  • nhubi
  • 10/25/2014 10:28 AM
Sawed is a locked room game, well actually it's a series of locked rooms game with each room adding another piece to the puzzle and allowing you to access the next room and so forth. It's pretty standard in that way, what at first appears to not be standard is the fact that not only do you have to get out of the room, and all the other rooms in the complex but you have a time limit, 10 minutes to get out the room you are in before you are sealed inside and left to starve to death.

If this set up sounds somewhat familiar, it should, whilst it hasn't been lifted wholesale from the atrocious Saw movie series, and yes the title is a give-away, it can definitely trace its narrative roots to that appalling piece of splatter flick. Now before you assume I've got an automatic bias and therefore will rate this game badly because of it, I have to say whilst I do find the films to be terrible that's because the acting is awful, the horror elements lacking imagination and the gore is laid on with a trowel, and I like B-grade zombie films so that's seriously saying something. However I find the idea of a game actually playing out as game as opposed to treating people as rats in a game as happens in the films quite an intriguing concept. It has the potential to put me as the player in the position of the captor watching my rat try to escape the maze.

Unfortunately that's not what happens here.

Still, let's begin. Bill our hapless protagonist, it seems has some long buried trauma in his past, something he's been trying to decipher none too successfully. But fear not the psycho who has locked you in this room and has given you a countdown clock on your own mortality measured in minutes is actually trying to help you uncover that secret and find the truth within yourself. Or at least that's why he says.

That NEVER ends well.

So with very few items in the room with which you can interact it's less the 2 minutes before you've found the keys and have exited the room to find yourself in a corridor filled with numbered doors and a few signs and messages. The timer above your head however has stopped, so the threat of immurement appears to have abated once the first hurdle is jumped, and with it a feeling of dread for our protagonist. As for Bill himself, he just wanders over to the next room and walks in with no internal or external monologue going. There is no shouting at the walls demanding to know what is going on, no rage or hysteria, no pleading or cajoling or bargaining or indeed any emotional outburst at all. You don't even get a moment of realisation that he found two keys in the first room and one of them has the number two on it so maybe it fits the door with a likewise moniker. It does, or course, Bill's captor is nothing if not unimaginative and formulaic.

So into room two which is filled with rats. Now this is something that has the potential for a bit of fear, murophobia is a potent phobia for some people and the idea of having to run the gauntlet through a room teeming with clones of Ben would hold some terror, but no, you can walk through the room without a scratch, bite or even a squeak. The whole point is that one of the rats is moving slower than the rest and once you catch it you can extract an item, one only imagines how, and use that to get the next key for the next room. Once again an opportunity wasted.

Room three holds some form of control panel for the steam engine that powers this complex. The puzzle here is simply to equalise the pressure but there is no indication that failing to do so will lead to any particularly gruesome death or even a grisly fate. No valves or vents near the controls ready to bathe you in superheated steam and parboil you where you stand. No dangerous loose fittings ready to fly off and impale you or crush your skull like an overripe melon. Just a moment or two spent choosing between three possible options and out pops the key to one of the lockers in the room and in it, you guessed it, the key to room four.

One thing the game does have going for it is the music, whilst the graphics are all mostly default with a few modifications, the developer has taken a bunch of music from Silent Hill 2 and transplanted into this game. They work to help create a somewhat creepy atmosphere, but then again that is what they were originally designed to do, so it's not so much a skill of the developer so much as knowing which atmospheric game to 'borrow' music and sound from.

Caution signs should denote danger; this should be a poster of fluffy bunnies and frolicking kittens.

So behind door number four is a long corridor leading to four dying people only one of which you can save, supposedly only one of them is innocent of any crime and therefore deserves your help, the others are all murderers. You are given their injuries via a computer console but no indication who did what to whom or who the innocent party could be, not that it matters as the syringe you've picked up seems to have four doses so there is no penalty for picking the wrong one. You don't lose your chance to escape if you saved the wrong person, the one you brought back doesn't turn into some sort of homicidal maniac who eats your fingers as a snack if you got it wrong, you just move from one mangled almost corpse to the next until you find the one who was lying on the next key and when they were saved they left it behind.

So with this key you enter the office of this complex and find a file outlining the fact that when Bill was in his teens supposedly his parents were murdered and he was the prime suspect, but he walked out of the police station and was never found so the cops closed the case. The implication here is that Bill murdered his parents and got away with it because he couldn't be found. Even though he never changed his name. Nothing stated within the game actually indicates that to be the case, there is no evidence at all, and no indication either from Bill or his mysterious captor of any chance of there ever being any evidence. It's just nonsensical.

In the end after leaving the office there is a brief timed dash out the back stairs and up the fire escape to reach safety and fresh air, but even that didn't hold any sense of urgency, the time allotted was ample to stroll out of the place, let alone run and nothing was put in the way of the escape attempt. I even had time to check out a couple of notices on the way to see if they said anything interesting. News flash, they didn't.

The thing about the Saw films, whether you consider then to be trashy splatter flicks, torture porn or gornos or the height of introspection on the human condition and the length a human being will go to to survive both as an individual, as in the case of the test subjects and as a race as Jigsaw states he is trying to do via his games they do have some internal consistency and an actual point. A twisted, violent and psychotic point, but a point. Sawed, doesn't. Saw is a badly portrayed Darwinian experiment, survival of the fittest generally through the medium of fear as a self realisation tool. It's not a new revelation; people who routinely put themselves on the line have known that fact for millennia. Sawed is not. It's not frightening, or redemptive, or cathartic or really anything else, there is no feeling of dread for Bill or indeed portrayed by Bill. He never once appears in fear of his life or anything other than slightly annoyed at the inconvenience.

Which I suppose is my ultimate feeling too.


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Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
Hey Nhubi, the weirdest thing happened!

After I approved this review I got an error message saying that I had used up all my approvals! I can't approve anymore reviews!

So I guess that means I can't accept any more of your game reviews after this one, so you might as well stop writing them!

None of this is my fault of course. I blame WIP. This sounds like his handiwork alright.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Hey Solitayre, that's ok. According to my calculation we're a draw so given my username begins with an earlier alphabetical position, I will be above you in the list.

Given you can't approve ANY more reviews that means that Liberty isn't going to get to overtake me because none of her IGMC reviews will be approved either...in fact no-one will be able to overtake my position, ever.

I'll have to send WIP a thank-you basket.
Bureaucracy is always a good thing. No.

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