The game is titled F.E.A.R.
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F.E.A.R. and Vivendi expansions
First Encounter Assault Recon
- Just the indication of a message from an "UNKNOWN ORIGIN" at the top right of the screen and the trademark radio feedback from Alma's presence is enough to bring up your heart rate. Even better is when nothing actually happens.
- Things to watch out for in the game: mirrors, long hallways (especially with double doors at the end), dead ends with equipment (so you can turn around and get the crap scared around you), dead ends with switches to press, any sort of monitor you might be tempted to look at, ladders (dear god the ladders), windows to look through, blood trails, bathrooms of any kind or vents to crawl through.
- The Replica soldiers as a whole are pretty goddamned scary, too. Not simply for what they are, as military clones are nothing new to science fiction, but rather, what they do and how they do it. They are completely and absolutely loyal to whatever task their commander sets them to, and will carry it out without hesitation or question, and are willing to give their own lives without a second's thought to carry it out. Plus, they are heavily armed, well-trained, and relentless, making for a frighteningly efficient, faceless, remorseless enemy who will stop at nothing to kill you. Perhaps the most terrifying thing about the Replica soldiers is how "human" they are in battle. These are not mindless Mooks who just grunt and die randomly. They truly act like real people in battle, both in terms of professionalism but also in that they can be Not So Stoic and curse, get angry at each other, and feel fear. And yet, all their humanity only exists when they are in battle. The moment they lose their connection to their psychic commander, they immediately become nothing more than flesh-and-blood robots waiting for a command. It's also a bit sad to see that they are only alive on the battlefield... quite literally.
- The environments as a whole, really. They just generate a truly oppressive atmosphere. There's a lot of mostly-black computer screens in the game flickering with white static and emitting some unsettling noises. Even though they look like something from The Ring, it's hard not to spend some time just staring at them, in case there's something to see.
- Even the game's physics engine can be frightening. You're moving through some badly-lit building filled with corpses and bloodstains, you know enemy soldiers and worse are somewhere out there, then you hear something skittering across the floor behind you, you whirl around, weapon ready and... it's some trash you disturbed while passing through. Self-inflicted Cat Scares, more or less.
- Right at the start of the second stage, where the Delta Force sergeant orders you to open the gate - you do so, then hear radio chatter of them fighting an unseen enemy. You run back to them as your controller tries to raise them, seeing something odd through the fence, but you can't tell what, turn the corner and HOLY FRAKKING SHIT! They're just bloody skeletons!
- There's a moment when a Replica randomly jumps into the shallow water and never comes out. If you watch closely, you can see the Assassin run out of the water and dive through the bars of the grating around the corner on the right side.
- What's really creepy is this implies they were following you the whole time. AND YOU NEVER NOTICED.
- And if you're really fast, you can bullet-time and kill the assassin before it escapes.
- There is actually a tonne of hints they've been lurking about the entire game. Most of the events where a corpse would drop from somewhere above you will be accompanied by the telltale buzz and arcing electricity of an Assassin, and many of the incidents of random crap getting knocked over are from Assassins, which you immediately blame on Alma.
- The infamous "ladder scene" from the third level. You approach a ladder, start to go down it and Alma is standing about 2 feet from where you were before you started going down, and the fact she gives her trademark giggle does not help. Oh, and what awaits you when you actually get off the ladder at the bottom? You turn towards the path and see Paxton Fettel approaching you, but vanishing when he's about a foot from your face. What gave this scene so much impact is how players never had a scare before on any single ladder in the game and also in how your character mounts ladders. Usually, the game backs off after a single glimpse of Alma to keep you wired, which made Fettel's appearance so much worse.
- Also from the third level, when the slumped body of Fettel's latest victim suddenly lurches up, begging you to find Alma before Fettel does, before finally dying.
- Sometime in the third level, turn a corner with the flashlight on and BAM! Alma crawling at you.
- Just the music in the third level.
- Paranoia Fuel at its finest when you first enter the Armacham building. Your escort gets taken out by Replicas, you have a firefight on the helipad, and then nothing. For about two minutes there's nothing worth shooting, you start seeing signs that Assassins are watching you, and then for another five minutes there's still nothing.
- One level in Interval 4, "Watchers", where you at first see security guards being killed by offscreen enemies, thrown through windows, or pulled into vents. Then, when you reach the second floor, you personally encounter the Assassins, who are equipped with cloaking devices and glowing night-vision goggles. They jump out of dark rooms and ventilation ducts, make almost no sound, can stick to walls, are fast and hard to hit, and can hack you to death in two seconds on the higher difficulty levels.
- There's a moment late in the Armacham corporate headquarters where you can take a look at a security camera feed. You watch Paxton Fettel walk past underneath you... and then Alma sloooowly rises into sight, staring right into the camera, before the screen goes dark.
- Just as you finally fix the elevator to get out of the Armacham office building, you look up and see Alma - in the elevator - stalking the CEO's daughter as the doors close. Try to charge to the rescue and you're treated to the sight of a bloody Alma rushing you.
- The hallway of waist-high blood. Creepy enough, right? And when you get to the end of the hallway, that bloody skeleton looms up and grabs you, which is wet-your-pants freaky. But the real kicker? Pay close attention to Alma as you reach the end of the hallway. She's staring at the doctor taking away her child, right? Right before the skeleton pops up, she turns to look at you.
- In the second-to-last level, right after Harlan releases Alma from the Vault. She's stepping towards you in hallucination, her body flickering from old to young and back again, slowly walking towards you, so slow HOLY CRAP SHE'S CRAWLING AT YOU SO FAST SHE'S IN YOUR FACE!!! End hallucination, leaving you beside Harlan's corpse and Alma's bloody footprints leading away. Then come the swarms of Nightmares.
- Imagine you are an Armacham soldier, new on the job. For the first week not much happens: you guard the scientists and look scary when required. But one day all hell breaks loose; cloned soldiers have gone nuts and are tearing though your colleagues. You head out with the others, terror and adrenaline pumping though you in equal measure. You engage the enemy, and then everything falls apart. The cloned soldiers tear though your team with ease. One of them finds you and introduces you to his rifle butt. Darkness swallows you as your dead colleagues' screams and empty faces fill your mind. You wake up hours later surrounded by bodies and stagger away. Something is wrong; the air is thick with dust and you feel a strange prickling on your skin. You find some more Armacham soldiers still fighting the clones. You join them, but moments later a third person appears, wearing a emotionless mask. He starts killing Armacham and clones alike, moving with impossible speed he makes his way towards you. You run but there are things coming after you. With tattered clothes and bandaged faces they rip apart anyone they can find. You barely get away but find you are bleeding badly. As blood blurs your vision you stagger outside and into a war zone, filled with clones, burning rubble and bloody bodies of the fallen. Running blind, you trip over charred skeletons and fall. Mad with fear you stagger on and fall over some rubble, rolling and losing all sense of direction. Pulling yourself up you see a woman, but somethings wrong with her. She smiles a crooked smile and your soul is ripped away.
F.E.A.R. Extraction Point
F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate
- Early on, after crossing a large catwalk, you catch a brief glimpse of a mysterious figure while descending a ladder. Following the figure will reveal... nothing, except for a medkit, some smeared blood, and debris. Turning around to exit the dead end, you are greeted by the blood-soaked, eyeless phantom of Jankowski standing right in front of your face, accompanied by a shrieking scare chord. It's more startling when played through, as many players aren't expecting Jankowski to haunt the Sergeant.
- There's an alarming number of little moments where you get on a ladder, or look through a window, and get a quick glimpse of something peering back at you before quickly vanishing.
- A conversation between your teammate and Mission Control. The NPCs are just confused, while you know damn well This Is Gonna Suck.
Chen: We've got an unaccompanied minor in the building. Little girl, red dress, about eight years old.
Betters: What are you talking about, Chen?
Chen: She's right - she was right there...
- The Scarecrows, which show up as dark puddles on the floor. When you walk on them, these massive claws come out and drag you into this dark watery void inside the floor, while a horrific spiky frail demon thing claws the crap out of you, killing you in seconds unless you unload massive amounts of ammunition in it. They're also placed in ways that mean you can't avoid them unless you take things slow and pay very close attention. It's their introduction, though, that's the worst. You watch your lieutenant walk over one, where his leg is first frozen in place, and then it gets worse. He's slowly dragged in, screaming and begging you for help, clawing fingermarks in the ground, as his lower half is shredded with blood flying everywhere. You can either leave him, and watch him die horribly and he pleads with you for help and screams in agony until he goes fully under and blood explodes out, or you can grab his hand and try to help, which ends up with his arm being ripped off as the rest of him is shredded anyway. This is, unsurprisingly, the point at which many gamers simply can't play the game any more.
Steve Chen: Uh, some-something's got my leg. Something's got my leg! FUCK, HELP ME!
- And if you're not careful about where you stand at that moment, the same Scarecrow will make you join your shredded lieutenant.
- There's something much worse than that. For most of the game Scarecrows are fairly easy to spot, and can be dealt with by emptying a clip of ammo into any black hole in the floor you can't walk around. Even the ones that try to disguise themselves as harmless blood splatters on the floor can be dealt with via the "better safe than sorry" approach. But during interval six you'll run into one scarecrow that is located under-fucking-water. Unless you're paying incredibly close attention to the floor there's no way that you're going to see it coming till it grabs you.
- All of Interval 04 (Devastation). After witnessing the detonation of the Origin Facility and running for your life with Lieutenant Chen down to completely unknown grounds and fading out while still running, you wake up in a darkened, dusty ruin that Chen identifies as the Old Underground Metro Area, a part of Fairport that was buried underground after an earthquake and was left to rot when the new city was built on top of it. The first part is a long sequence of trudging through creepily quiet hallways and collecting supplies, until the paranormal events start rolling in. You'd think having Chen with you would help make things more bearable, except there's moments where, as he leads the way down a hall, the whole scene seems to stretch, something yanks you back to the start, and you can only run as fast as you can to catch up. Or a time when you're jogging along at his heels, but then Chen just fades away into black dust, and you're stuck on your own for a bit until you reach a dead end, something starts kicking down one of the locked doors... and Chen sticks his head in the room and asks "where the fuck have you been?". Then to say the least, bad things happen. There are no human enemies in the entire place, the background music is a continuous drone of ghostly whispers and unsettling sounds, you get ambushed by Shades and Scarecrows aplenty, any little rattle of an object could mean several invisible whispering humanoids are gunning to mob your sorry ass, it gets pretty damn dark in places, and you don't even get the slight relief of seeing the sky after leaving a building, since you're stuffed deep underground. Even when you change to a newer, less stuffy location, things don't get any less scary. Besides Wade Elementary, this is the place in the series that deserves the "Big Boo's Haunt" moniker. You'd never think you'd sigh in relief when stumbling upon a particularly large Nightcrawler detail, but you will. You definitely will.
- About midway through, the Replica forces all go inactive, because the Point Man has taken down Fettel. Then when you're trying to get through a trainyard, you pass a whole squad of dead-on-their-feet Replica troops, activate a switch, double back... and the troopers are all gone.
- While you're "infiltrating" the mercenaries' forward command post, and after hearing a communication about the number of men they've lost to the things in the shadows, you'll come across a pit with some weird shadows cast on the wall above and behind it. Look down and you see a lone Nightcrawler, one of those stoic, deadpan mercs, holding a flare over his head and shaking with fear as he tries to cover an intersection of passages.
- The Replica cloning facility. One of the first things you see in it is a window into... what, a tangle of red tree roots? Then you step closer and realize the window is coated in blood, and the room beyond is packed to the ceiling with corpses. And so is just about every window or transparent barrier in the facility.
- There's a moment when you step into a room filled with the corpses of scientists, then see a vision of adult Alma walking through, and all the bodies rising off the floor. When the vision ends, you're back in the same room, but there's nothing in it but bloodstains.
- One laptop in the cloning facility has a message from one of the scientists, saying how Armacham has locked down the whole facility and is holding them prisoner, while "something's gone wrong with the second prototype." It ends in screams and gunfire, then you hear Fettel giggling, and he's right behind you on the other side of an observation window.
Fettel: I never cared much for him.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
- The Assassins return in Project Origin and have been upgraded significantly, can punch you to death quickly, and cause an Interface Screw that lasts for a few seconds. Especially the one that kills Terry Halford). When you can't see their mouths, they're almost The Blank, but when you can see their mouths, they're permanently locked into big scary-as-fuck evil grins like the Chryssalids from X-COM.
- Abominations. Holy shit, the Abominations. A ridiculous combination of Paranoia Fuel and Uncanny Valley.
- The locker rooms of Wade Elementary. Or the majority of Wade Elementary, period.
- The worst part is the bodies of the ATC commandos lying around. Most of them pinned to the walls by unseen forces. And they're apparently still alive and breathing. They're not. Which makes that all the more disturbing.
- But they still choke. And moan. Even when they've been fixed to a ceiling. You can't even put them out of their misery.
- And in the locker rooms you are attacked by ghosts that are hard to see and they make this horrific noise.
- Plus the horrible rapid-fire slamming sounds of the double doors, making it hard to hear anything coming at you, and they steadily grow louder and louder as you get closer. The noise itself is just plain disturbing.
- The classroom projectors. Sweet jeebus, the fucking classroom projectors.
- Also, the locker room is one of the few places in the game where your flashlight doesn't work, so all you can see are the flickering lights, showing flashes of bloodstained walls, corpses hanging from the ceiling, flickering ghosts, and from time to time, Alma herself.
- Wade Elementary is full of cute/silly posters, which actually serve to enhance the disturbing mood when you find out the fate of the schoolchildren. In particular, the 'Welcome back to school' poster depicts an anthropomorphic raccoon with an eerily knowing, dead-eyed, cynical look about it that just screams "You poor bastards."
- The Remnants. There's only three of them (Thank God) but all three of them are absolutely terrifying, especially the dead music teacher playing piano in Wade Elementary.
- That one is playing the music box theme. It is horrifying.
- What about the principal? You pick up the keycard, and OMIGODHESRIGHTINFRONTOFMEAAAAAAAGHHHH. As far as the Jump Scare goes, it was pretty damn freaky.
- The soldiers the Remnants reanimate. They're basically zombies, but they just make the Remnant fights scarier, especially when you get too close to a Remnant and get the Interface Screw effect.
- Once again, Alma. As if being a creepy little girl who wreaks unholy havoc on anything and everything wasn't bad enough, in Project Origin, she turns into a Personal Space Invader, and to make things even worse, her attacks on you turn out to be attempts to rape you.
- The section where you pursue the dazed Sgt. Keegan through the underground tunnels leading to Still Island is highly unsettling. That weird, deep, buzzing voice in which he started singing is highly unnerving.
- The really creepy part about that? He's singing the exact same song that you've been hearing Alma singing, or coming from the music boxes.
- This might be just a glitch, but when playing through the elementary school, you may come across two ATC mercenaries fleeing from Alma, their flesh being boiled away as they run. It is pretty startling to see them, so your probable instinct is to open fire. They fall to the ground, and then the skeletons get up, point their rifles at you, and start firing. Cue ruined underwear.
- Walking along at Still Island, just recovering from another hallucination. You stop, seeing the swing-set. Beneath it, you see the doll. You pause, bend down to look at it. Suddenly, you hear Alma whisper in your ear. Everything is still and silent afterwards. You turn toward the door to get to the next section of the area, and while doing so, you pause to slowly turn, to look at the sky-painted murals on the walls around the swing. You keep turning, and JESUS SHE'S BEEN TWO FEET BEHIND YOU STARING AT YOU THE WHOLE TIME. Pure, 100%, Grade-A Paranoia Fuel.
- The Still Island facility, where you see the Type VII Replicas, who haven't been issued with helmets yet. And you see how imperfect Armacham are with their cloning technology.
- The music box. That goddamned music box. That horrible, sad, upbeat, painful, tear-inducing, pants-browningly chilling tune. Its like someone scientifically formulated the perfect theme song to emphasize every single aspect of Alma, and then used it in the most disturbing manner imaginable.
- When Becket has the Harbinger surgery, not just the horrific Alma visions he has every time he flatlines, but also the part when you realize there is nothing you can do to stop it. From the fact that he keeps waking up and screaming, they're also apparently not using anesthetic.
- The flashback where Harlan wade orders his men to carry Alma away to the Vault. Combination of both Tear Jerker and sheer horror that he's doing that to his own daughter.
- The Pglitch in Aristide's apartment. Alma's supposed to do one of her appear-and-disappear-pants-wetting scares, but since the game can't predict where you're going to end up in the pool room, she'll appear and then follow you slowly wherever you go until you leave. Better have a change of underwear handy.
- The pool room of Genevieve Aristide's penthouse. You step into the room with blood-red, back-lit water, and you think you hear someone moving around. Something runs in front of you and you stop, tracking the movement. Then, you hear a whisper behind you, and turn around, and child Alma is right there staring up at you. There's a better than even chance that you'll flinch away from her and fall into the pool, where emaciated adult Alma will hurl herself at you.
- Even worse if you realize where you are when you fall in the pool. It's the chamber she was sealed in when she was a child.
- Once you get past that bit, you'll spot some ammo and armor up on a balcony overlooking the pool area. Going after it results in glass shattering behind you, and Alma appearing again.
- Extreme squick-horror via Fridge Logic: The Replica in Project Origin are under Alma' vague control, right? They're essentially following Alma's desires when they're attacking you. Except that Alma doesn't want to kill you. She wants to rape you. So, what happens to your corpse if the Replica kill you is best not dwelt on.
- The hospital level in Origin is pretty creepy too. You're walking through it and see Armacham guys walking around cleaning up. You get a scare from a woman hurling herself at a window trying to get out as Colonel Vanek shoots her. Then you see a man attempting to give a woman CPR before an Armacham commando comes over and shoots his head off with a shotgun. Next, as you come around a corner you see an Armacham guy get pulled into a mostly-barricaded room. He's screaming and pleading for help from the guy he's with, who shoots at the gap. It doesn't do anything as his buddy is pulled inside. Then there's a glimpse of an Abomination, climbing along the walls and ripping a group of Armacham soldiers to shreds. Then there's the other Abomination who's controlling the Replicas. You find it in a chair, frenziedly struggling and roaring as images on screens across from it flash by randomly. Then there's the death scene of one of your team. Sergeant Jankowski was undergoing the same procedure you already went through, but his team was killed mid-procedure. You come across him, dying, on a hospital bed, with several needles jabbing him repeatedly. You also get your first glimpse of Alma really close to the beginning of the game. After you come out of a dream, you're woken by one of your squad, but instead it's Alma, directly in front of you before it switches to reality.
- An absolutely horrific notion posited in the JBM page: when Alma is raping Beckett, it is possible she was using Stokes' dying/dead body to do the physical part of the deed. SHUDDER.
- Paranoia Fuel: Ever wonder how the Replica are always able to keep tabs on you enough to constantly put troops in your way and set ambushes? They've got Assassins. Watching. Your. Every. Move. Including right now.
- Beckett's dream at the beginning of Project: Origin. It takes place in a destroyed city and he's following Alma. Then when he wakes up, she pops up right in front of him. It's actually his teammate, but it still can give one a shock.
- In the Reborn DLC, there's an area right after Foxtrot 813 goes rogue where the replica send the Heavy Armor troops after you. It's in an area in an under-construction office building, made mostly of plywood boards. The Heavy Armor troops are able to smash through any of these walls. And the do so with a gusto, and where you least expect it. Nothing quite as scary as ducking around a corner to reload only to have the massive, faceless supersoldier slam straight through the wall in front of you without slowing down.
- Later in Reborn, there's a boss battle with a Powered Armor unit, right after fighting a couple of Assassins. The terrifying part is a double-whammy: first, while fighting the powered armor unit, Assassins will periodically spawn in upper levels of the room and attack you, so not only do you have to dodge the armor's massive machineguns, you also have to keep spinning around, because you never know when an Assassin will hit you. The second whammy comes from the fact that the area is a multi-level lobby, with the armor starting on the lower floor and the only way up being a thin escalator the armor can't hope to climb. It looks like it might be an easy fight where you can use the elevation to avoid enemy first and whittle the armor down, right? Until the powered armor jumps fifteen feet straight up to your level.