(Okay, folks. I know we haven’t heard from Gaijin in a while, but this came in the other day by post and… something is off, here. I know I can’t usually read the return address on his mail in any case, but I’m not sure where this came from. It’s also making a mess on my kitchen table. Sending you the transcripts. Let me know what you think.)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 1
Once upon a darkest night, dear Candlemas but scarcely past, within my trembling hands a parcel soon delivered, now unwrapped, and its contents a picayune chip of molded plastic and of silicon, so deformed to hold unspeakable information therein. Upon its face, a seal was placed, its title lending a sense of dread, for in its plainspoken truth was terror birthed: The Darkest Dungeon. A simple premise, a common task to search the moulding ancestral manse, and within its dank and decadent walls a family fortune to discover.
Alas! the past has yet to deign release its foetid grip upon the present, and ancient sins still stain the land, the air, and the hears of them who dwell therein. From the tenuous safety of the nearest town must one recruit, equip, and prepare one’s allies for fates best left undescribed.
(Strawberry Eggs: Um… what is he playing this on again? It sounds like a Switch, but this is Gaijin we’re talking about. They didn’t port it to WonderSwan or something, right?.)
(Wheels: He’s got a PS Vita. And a melodramatic streak.)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 2
What exquisite squalor! What calculated display of that decadence which overlays the land like a miasma of the soul. This hamlet bears no name, no none would ever wish to claim this sodden pile of driftwood and human jetsam, and yet in its inimitable fashion still it provides what amenities it may: a forge to create, a master to train, a steady flow of the shiftless, the desperate, and the deranged, all willing to pursue a nightmare hidden within the folds of avaricious dreaming. Of these recruits, some are warriors born, called out of duty or of faith. Others have nothing to lose, and so feel the liberating act of risking all. And a wretched few are haunted in spirit or in flesh, seeking exorcism, exoneration, or abnegation in the harrowing night.
Regardless of why or how, these desperate cads, these wretched sacrifices to a disreputable cause are to a man afflicted with terrors of the mind and scars of the soul, haunted by the things they have witnesses and driven by compulsions they cannot fathom. In any sane realm people such as they would be shut away, exiled to the bedlam wards and fast forgotten by more civil folk, but here they thrive in their orgiastic excess, be it in the tavern, the cloister, or most literally in some poor harlot’s embrace, for thus do they seek to survive the horrors which grip their fragile psyches and force them to obsessive interest in unwholesome things.
(JCServant: I think it sounds like a fun time!)
(Nyx: You would.)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 3
And the environs… God’s Truth! This blighted land seems well made for one single task: to make its blighted hamlet seem the better choice. The ancient manse still stands, solemn in its funebral grace even as its ruined halls give shelter to tenebrous cults and the victims of their necromancy. The sonorous cries of advesperate paeans fall upon the area like hoary frost, and in their silence they are all the worse.To retreat, to return to civilized lands; such a seductive trap it is, but for the weald through which the only road wends. Rotten, rabid beasts are nearly preferable to those me of rotten morals who hold that honest profession of banditry, and the tales of keening cannibals at their pots dissuade all but the foolhardy from even once straying into the wooded murk.
Further on there lie the warrens, where accursed beings born of flesh inchoate, twisted and wrought until the last quantum of empathy has been wrung from their souls. And to the sea, where the waters lap up into grottoes carved long before man dared find them, squamous abominations, abortive fruit of the evolutionary tree rise with the tides to reclaim the land. But above it all stands the heart of the land’s darkness, the seat of demonic miasma pervading it all. From this darkest of dungeons few return, and none whole.
(Strawberry Eggs: There’s something about the word “tenebrous” that tickles me. And that’s probably the only thing I’d want to even so much as tap me in the dungeon.)
(lolwhoops: Um… did someone just tap my shoulder?)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 4
I shake my head clear of this malaise, reminding myself once again that this thing which I hold in my hands is but a game, a diversion, an amusement to view through a handheld screen of glass. Yet still this threnodic line of thought persists, that this soi-disant jeu de rôles is in its own fashion playing me even as my thumbs move my chosen sacrifices ever forward, watching them win or die, witnessing their sanity slowly wane, and with it my sense of control.
How to make them do what is needed, at what expense? Honi soit qui mal y pense: Let us do what is necessary, and shame on him who thinks ill of it. And yet… and yet… I find it hard to make the choices, hard to force the cursor left or right upon the desired party member before sending them to examine relics of another’s madness, or to trip the snares of a ravenous beast-man. Tap the back glass of my game device as I may, it does not always seem to register with this poxy piece of plastic and silicon, or else the game within is mocking my inability to manipulate it even as it leads my little marionettes to their final abattoir.
(Nyx: OK, who gave him the thesaurus for Christmas? Seriously.)
(Wheels: … So! I guess he’s having trouble with the back of the Vita controls?)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 5
What fake hope the light does bring! For even at its brightest, on the settings which the game itself makes false promise of ease, it is a fell and fickle tease, and my cemetery already stands full with those who shall live on in memory for their great deeds of bravery and not the gibbering, ignominious manner of their demise. Strokes of the reaper’s scythe fall with both frequency and impunity, making a crimson harvest of veteran and greenhorn alike.But so too do the doughty adventurers bring a red tide of violence unto the unclean, unto the corrupted, unto the very pillars of Hell itself which have arisen incarnate to lead the greedy and the insane, the squamous and the rugeose in their ravenous hordes.It is enough to bring hope, however fleeting, when one witnesses a mighty blow, a coup épique to sunder a snuffling, snout-nosed monstrosity from its mortal coil. Be it trusty steel or eldritch tricks, modern firearms or subtle poisons, all stand in their proper place in the line of battle.
And this hope lingers, a false lover seducing us to greater depths with the promise that all will be well. Until the final torch burns out…
(Nyx: Huh, the lights are flickering out again. Scott! Get the light bulbs!)
Pages Torn from an Ichor-Soaked Game Review, page 6
Be warned! you who follow in my path. This meager toy, this game born of silicon and plastic, hides behind its façade of innocence a vile tumescence which captures the imagination of its victims, drawing them ever further into its pusillanimous embrace. Heed its siren call at your own risk, for once heard it reverberates forever in your soul with its cries of Iä, iä, Cthulhu ftaghn! R’lyeh f’nglui Cthulhu ftagn! That which never rests shall never find peace, yet that which sleeps through aeons may yet dream, and from those accursed dreams may arise a diversion such as this to trap mortal souls and rob them of innocence!It disguises itself in darkest tones, when truly it is the jaundiced yellow of amber under the red suns of Carcosa. It feeds on your despair, on your tears of frustration, and it shall never slake its thirst, never give up its quarry, never run around and desert its intent upon that upon which it has set its spectral gaze.
by Zack Webster · Published March 23, 2018
· Last modified March 25, 2018
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