Daymare 1998 is a third-person Survival Horror game with an Always Over the Shoulder, developed in Unreal Engine 4 for Windows PC via Steam, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One by 2019 under Invaders Studios, published by Destructive Creations.
In 1998, an industrial accident transforms the unaware citizens of a little community of Keen Sight, Idaho into violent and deformed creatures, a town that's changed thanks to the backing of a company called Hexacore Biotechnologies. A HADES (Hexacore Advanced Division Extraction and Search) team is dispatched to investigate the area and take out the monsters roaming around.
Involved in the op is a (supposedly) ex-Russian soldier named Liev and chopper pilot Raven, the two being deployed in a HADES op to secure Keen Sight in Idaho. The last survivor of KS is Samuel, a forest ranger who just so happens to be caught in the middle of the outbreak. He also happens to be medically diagnosed with a condition known as Daymare Syndrome, which causes panic attacks and anxiety with random visions.
You are expected to survive to this waking nightmare that has its roots in a nostalgic mood. The narration is full of direct references to the pop culture of the 90's and the modern gameplay mechanics fit perfectly with the old school survival horror atmosphere.
Invader Studios was previously developing a fan remake of Resident Evil 2 before the project was abandoned at Capcom's request. Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, a number that features heavily in Daymare's marketing, most prominently in its name.
This new title features "many connections with beloved old school survival horror games and '90s landmark brands", according to the developer. A number of developers that worked on Resident Evil titles have also signed up to contribute to the project. Kazuhiro Aoyama, who served as planner on the first Resident Evil and directed Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, is associate producer on Daymare. Satoshi Nakai, enemy designer on Code Veronica, is contributing as creature sketch artist. Paul Haddad, the first voice actor for Leon Kennedy, has been recruited for the project.
The game was released on September 17, 2019. Daymare 1994 Sandcastle, a prequel, was announced on May 25, 2021 and released on August 30th, 2023.
The official site can be found here.
The debut trailer can be seen here.
Daymare 1998 provides examples of:
- The '90s: The setting of the game and a throwback to the old school survival horror games of the 90s.
- Abandoned Hospital: The latter part of the second chapter takes place in one.
- Acid Attack: The only attack the zombies seem to be capable of is puking acid on their victims. This is especially the case for the Melted Man, whose acidic buildup was so great that just simply being near the creature can guarantee being doused in acid.
- Anachronism Stew: Generally averted, with surface-level tech being appropriate for the era, and even the Hexacorp high tech gadgets are straight out of 90s sci-fi movie or toku, but played straight in one non-easter egg segment where Raven crash lands into the fictional office of Invader Studios, see Developer's Room below.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- There's a faint static noise and mouse-like squeaking that appears to signify when a deer figure is present, making it easier to find them. The pause menus also lists how many figures are in each section and how many you've already shot.
- The hallucinatory zombies thankfully don't damage Sam if they attack him, not only saving up on health items but also saving ammo by not having to shoot one of them (since there's no way to tell them apart from the real zombies).
- "Modern Take" mode allows the player to, among others, skip puzzles, and One Bullet Clips in the game mode played straight.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The subtitles in the English version have the tendency to use the wrong words, wrong names, or even just flat out skips certain phrases that the person speaking said.
- Boom, Headshot!: Headshots aren't necessary to kill the zombies, but are recommended as they inflict greater damage. The shotgun and Hollow Point ammo are also capable of decapitating them.
- Cliffhanger: The game ends with Raven, Sandman and a crazed Sam opening fire on each other due to Sam blaming Sandman for the game's events (particularly for the death of his wife), without showing who survived.
- Company Town: Hexacorp is Keen Point's primary source of employment and income. The company secretly has total control of the town, to the point of having sleeper agents in all key positions of power and using the townspeople as test subjects for their biological experimentation.
- Critical Hit: Pistols loaded with Hollow Point ammo have a likelier chance of decapitating regular zombies.
- Degraded Boss: Each of the game's Elite Zombie enemies first appear as a boss, then are later encountered semi-regularly as mini-boss type enemies.
- Developer's Room: Raven, in the first segment where the player take direct control of him, crashed into the (fictional) office of Invader Studios. It features inexplicably present-day flat-screen multi monitor computers in contrast of the mostly period appropriate consumer tech at the time.
- Dual Boss: The game's third boss fight is against a pair of Castor H.A.D.E.S. zombies.
- Dull Surprise: Much of the voice acting is very wooden, with the characters' attempts at emoting coming across as forced or outright deadpan.
- Elite Zombie: Three types, all of which first appear as bosses before becoming semi-regular mini-boss enemies. There's the Type-7, a larger, more muscular, and noticeably faster zombie that rather resembles the Tyrant (which is reinforced by the boss room you first fight it in), the Melted Man, a "failed" Type-7 which moves slowly but spits toxic phlegm, and the Castor H.A.D.E.S., a very tough and fast zombie created from H.A.D.E.S. soldiers.
- Extremely Short Timespan: It apparently only took a single day for the infection to spread all across Keen Sight and subsequently for all hell to break loose.
- Foreshadowing: After apparently betraying his team and causing the outbreak, Liev blames Sandman for his situation and still tries to contact Command. The ending reveals that it was Sandman who was the real traitor, and Liev was just a Punch-Clock Villain who was mistaken as the traitor.
- Genre Throwback: To '90s horror films and games (e.g. Resident Evil and Deep Fear).
- Hallucinations: Sam's "Daymare syndrome" causes him to experience crippling hallucinations if he doesn't regularly take special medication (which he quickly loses at the beginning of the outbreak). This results in him being tormented by dead characters and even occasionally being attacked by enemies that actually aren't real. He does seem to have some ability to tell them apart from reality; when he first encounters zombies he doesn't for a second mistake them for one of his hallucinations.
- Hand Cannon: Appears as the 3rd weapon of Sam and Raven. Sam gets a .44 magnum revolver while Raven gets a Desert Eagle.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Besides medical syringes, the game's key healing items are energy drinks and energy bars.
- Idiot Ball: Liev has Sandman at his mercy, but instead of shooting him dead right then and there, he decides to gloat which leads to his arm getting torn off.
- Interface Screw: For the first segments in which you play as him, Sam doesn't have a D.I.D. armpad, so you have absolutely no HUD when playing as him (and thus no inventory, map, visible health bar, etc). Fortunately, you soon pick up a shotgun, whose simple reloading mechanism means you don't need the HUD to operate it.
- Leave No Witnesses: The H.A.D.E.S. operatives have orders to liquidate any survivors at the lab to preserve the company's secrets. Liev carries out these orders with perhaps a little too much enthusiasm.
- Militaries Are Useless: Idaho National Guard soldiers were massively overwhelmed by the outbreak even with initial superior numbers and firepower against the infected.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Investigating the site of a biohazard outbreak alone and without any incoming help from friendlies with managing ammo and weapons.
- One Bullet Clips: Averted. You don't reload from your ammo pool, but rather from filled magazines. You need to manually fill magazines in your inventory. This does not pause the game. Realistically played straight with the pump-action shotgun, which reloads directly from your ammo pool. Played straight in the "Modern Take" mode.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies appear to be a mixture of Plague Zombies and Technically-Living Zombies; they're created by a virus, but are never seen devouring any living person, instead preferring to just kill their victims by puking acidic bile on them. note Their rotting appearances are due to the acid building up in their blood and tissues, and actually can die off on their own after 72 hours should they not mutate any further.
- Police Are Useless: The Keen Sight police force were so overwhelmed by the outbreak, most of them ended up turning into monsters or faced casualties in the initial attack.
- Poor Communication Kills: Sam raves like an enraged crazy person whenever he interacts with other survivors, which really doesn't help his case when dealing with them. A small part of this might be due to his "Daymare syndrome", but it's made clear it's mostly just him not dealing with the stress of the situation very well largely due to uncontrollable anger over the death of his wife. Granted the first survivor he meets is a Jerkass Hexacorp operative who probably wouldn't have helped him anyway, but Sam's crazed ranting really hurts him in the end during his Mexican Standoff with Raven.
- The first survivor Liev finds at the beginning of the game is a black guy named Al Powell.
- The hospital employed a Dr. Kimblenote and a Dr. Peter Silberman.
- The Invaders Studios room in which Raven starts chapter 3 includes several movie posters parodying real films:
- The logo for Hexacore Biogenetics is basically an upside-down Omni Consumer Products logo.
- Pollux, a refined version of the zombie-creating Castor bioweapon, is supposed to create these. Unfortunately, the results are only stable for a limited time before their hormone levels get out of whack, at which point they inevitably mutate uncontrollably until their bodies self-destruct. Sandman seems to be a temporarily successful result, able to make it across the city without mutating and even remain human long enough to defeat the Abomination hand-to-hand in an Offscreen Moment of Awesome before needing an antidote injection to prevent him from mutating.
- A Hexacorp doctor reveals that all H.A.D.E.S. members have received physiological enhancements based on Hexacorp's research. However, this results in them mutating into tougher-than-usual super-zombies when exposed to Castor. Liev, who was exposed to Castor and Pollux, ends up mutating into the toughest enemy in the game, the Abomination.
- Survival Horror: Like its Resident Evil counterpart, the game requires players to carefully manage their ammo and navigate through the town while avoiding the creatures trying to kill them. Also your inventory size is rather limited, you don't get the ability to store items until about 20% through the game (and storage locations tend to be in relatively inconvenient areas of the map), and at times your ability to backtrack is limited, so you often need to decide what you want to keep and what you want to leave behind.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Averted. Hallucinatory zombies won't damage you even if they have the exact same grab animation as the real ones, but there's no way to tell them apart from the real deal and shooting them wastes ammo (though fortunately it only takes 1 bullet for them to dissolve).
- Zombie Apocalypse: The town is swarming with zombies by the time HADES arrives and Liev is on the ground.