Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi

When I was on steam looking around this game was on my list of recommended games, I suppose the amount of horror games I’ve been downloading and playing recently must have led to it. I didn’t play this the first time round when it was released in 2003 and thought I’d give it a try since it has four and a half stars which doesn’t seem to happen often on games I look at on steam.

I haven’t managed to play it very much so this is another first impressions post, at least sort of. What I’ve played so far has been fun and it’s easy to dip in and out of which is good as a bit of a break while still playing a Halloween themed game. The graphics do show its age though it is probably on par or better than some of the indie games I’ve played recently.

The weapons given are what you’d expect from a game where you are trying to kill vampires; holy water, a crucifix and a wooden stake to name a few. It took a bit of getting used to the ways these work best but the right and left clicks make it easy to use and intuitive without really having much of a tutorial. The first time I played it I was definitely surprised by some of the monsters popping up as I didn’t notice them or know what to look out for as I was walking around. This does make you pay more attention next time and after a couple of goes you recognise the signs for each one and can be prepared.

There seemed to be a bit of lag between me pressing the key or mouse button and then the actual action which was annoying when fighting any of the monsters in the game. I’m not sure if this is my computer or if it’s something that I just have to get used to and it being the fact the game was originally released 11 years ago.

The castle is randomly generated and means that the layout can change between games giving it great replayability if you enjoy the shooter element to it and the horror atmosphere, maybe not so much if it’s the storyline you’re playing for.

Overall I’d say to me this is worth the £6.99 it is selling for on steam at the moment. It’s a good game if you’re not bothered by the quality of graphics and enjoy first person shooters and horror or vampire games. If you want to play a game purely for the storyline I would say this isn’t likely to appeal to you, at least what I’ve seen so far, as the storyline seems to go along the lines of finding the missing family members. There are so many vampire based games out there and a lot of horror games that seem to follow the same sort of formula but this is different to others that I have played. There may be others out there like this, especially given the 11 years between then and now, but I am yet to play them. It would be fun to give a more recent one a try, I’d probably still die a lot just in a higher resolution.

Alien: Isolation first impressions

I’ve only been playing the game for just over an hour and haven’t played much of the storyline so this is just a short post but so far I really like it. I’ve tried to stay away from spoilers as much as possible though have seen a couple of walkthrough series on YouTube up to a point but nothing too spoilerish had happened when I was watching.

I like the graphics, especially the look of the mostly abandoned station and how it all shares the look with the movie and the technology they thought of as futuristic when the first one was made. The models for the characters are good but the animations seem a bit robotic and something about the eyes kind of creeps me out a bit though I’m not sure what it is. The atmosphere is good and creepy with a lot of tension especially when the other survivors are around though I think when the alien comes into it more they’ll be the least of my worries. A few of the controls seem a bit hard to do when you’re worried about others finding you, the main one for me is removing the clamps, I guess that’s something that I’ll get better at as the game goes on though I’m hoping the other door opening mechanisms are used more when I get each one.

A couple of other things I thought of when playing that don’t have much to do with the gameplay:

  • In the first cut scene when we’re introduced to Samuels I realized he’s voiced by Anthony Howell, once I noticed this I was pretty sure he’s going to die. Kind of hoping I’m wrong though.
  • I really need to watch the movies again, they’re on Sky so I’ll be watching them some time soon. At the very least I’ll be watching the first one, probably the second one too.

Yankee Candle Halloween

This year Yankee candle have released the 3 candles from previous years; witches brew, candy corn and Happy Halloween which is available exclusively online, but they have also included a new one called ghostly treats. In my order I bought one of each apart from the candy corn candle as I had one last year and it wasn’t my favourite though it is definitely true to its name and reminded me of butter popcorn which I imagine is what candy corn smells of as we don’t really have it in the UK. I also bought one of the illumalids which is meant to help prevent the candle from flickering in drafts and had a nice Halloween theme though I’ll be using it all year round.

happyhalloweenHappy Halloween is described as “Scary good… A hauntingly perfect potion of black liquorice spiced with anise and cloves.” I definitely agree with the liquorice, to me this smells exactly like black jack sweets we used to get when I was little. It’s liquorice and aniseed but a sweeter version than the black liquorice sticks or twists you get. It’s only available as a large candle so it costs £19.99 and lasts a long time. It’s the first large candle I’ve had so I’ll have to see if it lasts as long as it says but having burnt it already to try the scent is definitely stronger when the candle is lit than just smelling the jar.

witchesbrewWitches brew is probably one of my favourite scents of any candle I’ve tried, on the site it describes it as “The spicy sweet aroma of exotic patchouli casts a captivating Halloween spell.” I’m not sure I’d say it’s just patchouli as it has an incensey sort of smell to me as well and seems almost sweet. It’ the kind of smell that reminds me of going into little gift shops in old towns where they sell things like dreamcatchers and little figures of pixies. I really like a lot of patchouli scents but unfortunately it does not smell good when I use it on my skin so this is the closest I’ll get with my room smelling of this.tealights2 It’s available in various sizes though I bought the medium jar which cost £16.99 and a set of the tea lights at £6.99 for twelve. Every year they release different designs on the jars, though this year’s is similar to one they did last year it has orange on it and is slightly different with more detail on the horizon part of the picture.

ghostlytreatsGhostly treats is a new scent this year and has a similar design style on the jar as the candy corn and witches brew though is white with a black and purple design of ghosts in a graveyard to go with the name. The website describes it as “The scent of gooey toasted marshmallows is a haunting reminder of sharing spooky tales around a Halloween bonfire.” To me that description is spot on, it’s a nice sweet scent exactly like melting marshmallows with that smell they get when the outside is hard and slightly brown and caramelised. This is also available in multiple sizes though I only bought the medium jar which costs £16.99.

illumalid1The spider web illumalid is part of the Halloween accessories range than they’ve released this year. I miss the boney bunch as I only started buying Yankee candles around this time last year and was going to get one of the tart burners if they’d done one but I do like this range as although they’re Halloween themed the cobweb design can be used all round and I definitely will be using mine the rest of the year. The idea is that the lid goes on a lit candle and prevents any breeze from affecting the flame and so far from the few times I’ve tried it it does seem to work well at this as I’ve had candles flicker and wobble in the past but didn’t have the problem when I used the lid. It fits medium and large candles as the only difference with these is the height and the lids are the same and seems to work equally well on both. I really like the spider dangling down the side although it can get a bit tangled in the web on the top when I’m storing it between uses as I like to keep the original lids on the jars.illumalid2

I love all of these scents and for different reasons they all seem Halloween-ish to me, though they could also go with bonfire night in the UK as that’s when I’ve had toasted marshmallows in the past. With the witches brew and ghostly treats I’m also going to keep the jars to store things in, the scent does last inside though so nothing edible as they’d probably be flavoured by the scent and I don’t really want to be eating anything tasting of witches brew no matter how nice it smells. If you have a problem with candles flickering I recommend trying an illumalid, whichever design, it does seem to make a difference if there is a chance of people walking around near the candle or a breeze that might make it flicker. They have a range of designs so if you don’t like the Halloween one there are going to be others if you look around. I haven’t looked to see if any other companies do anything similar but if you like candles from another company then I’d see if they have something that works for the same problem.

They’re all available at www.yankeecandle.co.uk though many of the different sizes in candy corn, witches brew and ghostly treats are sold out as I write this, hopefully they’ll be back in stock as there is still time before Halloween. Yankee candles are also available in a lot of stores around the UK, especially garden centres it seems, as well as their own Yankee Candle shops though it depends from shop to shop as to whether they have the Halloween things in.

Computer games

I have always loved computer games, from the first computer we had with a floppy disk with the likes of ‘alley cats’ and ‘paratrooper’ on it and a copy of ‘Dizzy, prince of the Yolk Folk’ I have enjoyed playing them. With the improvements in technology from a rather angular crash bandicoot on the PlayStation one to the greatly improved graphics of PC games available now I’ve always found the actual design of the games amazing, the way the background looks as well as the characters themselves, and just as interesting and involving as the gameplay itself.

For the past 5 years I’ve had my apple and used windows as a bootcamped partition which works great for things like word where the file size is small enough that you don’t need a massive amount of memory to run or save your files. However this does not work so well when it comes to games or web design, especially when the partition was originally created solely for word documents and smaller files and therefore was made at just 80GB, not big enough to hold much with current games.

Recently, however, I bought a new laptop as the web design software I have been using does not have a mac equivalent and it did not work well on the small space. This large memory has the knock on effect that I can actually play some of the games I’ve wanted to play and have bought in steam but had to remove due to lack of space on my previous one. I now have a list of games ready to play, some of which I have already started if they’re the kind you can dip in and out of (Robocraft in particular was rather addictive with upgrades and short battles) but I will definitely be playing more of the more involved games now I have more time with the current course I am on.

As it is October I have decided that I will mainly be playing the horror games I have, the main 3 being Amnesia: Dark Descent (which I started but lost my save on the old computer), The Walking Dead (series 1 and 2) and Alien: Isolation which has just been released. So far from what I have seen of all three they look great, though they have 3 different art styles and settings they each seem interesting and detailed enough to be immersive for their storylines.

As I have sort of missed the past few years of games and the only consoles I have are my PS2 and Wii I will be trying to catch up on what I missed as well as any future releases so any recommendations for games would be appreciated, especially if they’re available on steam.

The beginning

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog. At the moment it’s empty but I will start posting things soon. Hopefully it will be full of reviews for things I’ve bought, watched or read and just chat in general. I’m not sure where this blog is going but it’ll be fun to find out and I hope you enjoy it too.