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Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome Review

Back to school. Never since "pandas are playable" have three words visited my heart with such terror. And on the topic of terror, I land back at the house and am immediately roped into reviewing another adventure game, Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome Collector's Edition. As you can imagine, I screamed an "Anakin just turned into Darth Vader" NOOOOOOOO. At least let me buy my books for next semester first. Anyway, as for Brink, yes, it's a stupidly long title. But it's also stupidly good. And it actually brings plenty of horror goodness to the table.
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by on 01-02-2012     
Back to school. Never since "Pandas are playable" have three words visited my heart with such terror. And on the topic of terror, I land back at the house and am immediately roped into reviewing another adventure game, Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome Collector's Edition. As you can imagine, I screamed an "Anakin just turned into Darth Vader" NOOOOOOOO. At least let me buy my books for next semester first. Anyway, as for Brink, yes, it's a stupidly long title. But it's also stupidly good. And it actually brings plenty of horror goodness to the table.

Brink of Consciousness is one part the movie Silence of the Lambs , one part Amnesia the video game, and one part Bioshock . Yeah, I just went there with a casual game, but hear me out. You're Sam, a British dude with a very British laid-back attitude. You're a journalist investigating a series of "disappearances of young people," and suddenly work becomes very personal when your girlfriend gets kidnapped by the serial disappearerer (I think the developers wanted to keep it polite and stick to "disappearances," but make no mistake, this dude's killing peeps). Losing the laid-back Britishness, you venture to the killer's big mansion (no surprise there for fans of hidden object games) and try to find your honey.



This game, from MagicIndie Softworks, is pretty much off the chain, off the hook, banging, or however you want to phrase it. It's got the goods. The atmosphere is flawless, from the discordant music to the washed out, Victorian-style locations. The killer is in constant communication with you, pouring venom in your ear Wormtongue-style, and the voice actor is just the best. Puzzles are fairly original and on the tougher side, but I think what'll hook you in is the charisma of the killer. I mean, anytime you have a dead body stapled to the ceiling, you get my vote. That said, the game's not ultra-bloody or anything, just ultra-creepy.

As a veteran of gaming wars, what really struck me was the attention to detail. When you find a hidden object, its name gets scratched out like it got clawed, instead of just being grayed out. Your map of the mansion is all ink-stained. You have a grimy-looking "Dictaphone" in your journal to listen back to the killer's rants. There's even a "film grain" filter to add even more of an unsettling vibe.

I'm not saying it will scare you like Amnesia or rise to the sheer level of awesomeness of Bioshock. But I am saying that Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome Collector's Edition will bug your eyes out and make you say, "Damn. Casual games can bring it."

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