It's another late night at the Londonist office. The place is empty, the cleaners aren't due in for hours and we've rung home and told lies to our loved ones so we can sit hunched over the keyboards, eyes glued to the monitors straining for a glimpse of a girl in a sanguine dress...
Sounds a little dodgy? It's actually terrifying.
We're hooked on the demo of a new game called FEAR which wowed more than a few people at E3 and has a growing buzz building for its release later in the year.
Normally we can shoot and hack our way through games with the best of them and at a fair old pace, being veterans of Manic Miner and other Spectrum 48k classics. We do pause from time to time during the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill until our ECGs are back to normal but we can usually brave the beasties and win through in the end.
FEAR is giving us a run for our money though. On the face of it if you've played Half Life then you know the score, but what's interesting is the way elements of Japanese horror have been dropped into the game play. It's one thing to face off against a group of highly armoured soldiers but it's quite another for your surroundings to dissolve, the walls hemorrhage and a cross between Sadako from Ringu and the little girl from Don't Look Now to dart across the ceiling.
The soldiers you dispatch with a variety of weapons.
The girl you escape from by screaming in terror, slamming the laptop shut and hiding under the desk whispering it's only a game... it's only a game.
The demo is a fully playable level from the finished game complete with prologue and back-story and enough difficulty settings to keep you busy for a while. If you really want to crank up the tension then do as we do. Turn off the lights, plug in a decent set of headphones and twist the volume way up. You'll never sleep again and probably run screaming from the next small child you come across, but you'll also have a lot of fun.