The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, released in 1974, is a horror classic. It is violent and merciless, and whenever it wants to be, it is downright terrifying. It is gritty like no other. It would be crucial to bring those same traits to a video game adaptation of the film landmark, and that is just what Gun Media and Sumo Nottingham have done. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (TCM) brilliantly gamifies its scares in ways that are rewarding and built for the long haul, and it is just as nauseatingly tense as the iconic film.
TCM is already my favorite of the asymmetrical horror multiplayer games that have been enjoying a golden age for several years. Each round in TCM may be played out like a genuine horror movie thanks to a special 4v3 configuration. I didn’t understand it until I played it for the review, but leveling the playing field isn’t always the ideal strategy for balancing this particular game. It typically comes down to just one Final Girl (or Guy) who might crawl off the property to salvation in each round, while each squad of “victims” has the odds purposefully set against them. It improves the high-stakes game of hide-and-seek.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Victims
The cast includes two freshly developed characters that seamlessly blend into the world, five victims, and five Slaughter family members. The victims are more similar in performance to each other than the villains, however those playing the family can choose between what are effectively class-based villains. This is because they all start out with the same beginning stats and one unique special skill. The objective is straightforward and thrilling in terms of horror movies: Get the hell out of there when the victims initially appear impaled on meat hooks in the basement. No matter which of the game’s three maps they are on, it entails first having to get off the hook, then having to unlock an escape passage, and then having to navigate a dangerous outside portion while being pursued. Naturally, surviving is never simple.
Every round of Leatherface starts in the basement with the victims, which causes chaos to break out quickly. When you hear the chainsaw revving, it’s unlike anything else in horror, regardless of the media. I’ve even played with folks who expressed the desire to simply die and “get it over with” because the dread is too much to handle. It’s enough to trigger someone’s fight-or-flight response.
Two more family members begin their respective jobs outside and upstairs in the meanwhile. Perhaps the hitchhiker has to lay traps, the cook needs to add extra padlocks to the escape doors, or Sissy, one of the new baddies, wants to poison consumables or important things. These abilities complement one another effectively. For instance, if the cook double-locks the gate leading to the generator while the hitchhiker places a trap in front of it, the victims will face a multi-layered obstacle course. Because removing these stoppages requires time and occasionally creates noise, they give the victims the impression that walls are closing in on them, like in a classic horror film.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Time
Time is always of the essence for the survivors because they bleed away gradually throughout every round. They must move quickly and quietly to avoid being detected by their adversaries. The longer a match lasts, the more likely it is that the sadistic family will win. That’s because the villains may regularly ping the whole area for survivors thanks to an immobile NPC villain named Grandpa who can be fed blood obtained from the map and from melee harm dealt to victims. Victims are given a brief warning that the talent is about to be employed, so they must stop in their tracks to avoid falling off his metaphorical radar, which turns this into an interesting minigame in and of itself. This component of the game generates more memorable moments where suddenly all three killers may swoop on a victim who was noticed by the old guy because it’s not always a smart idea to just stop moving when you’re caught in a horror story.
The game’s audio and visual components also contribute to its success. Gun Media’s “Apprehension Engine” is an instrument that was used to create the game’s original soundtrack, which enables the music to change to fit every circumstance. The soundtrack’s culmination is a heart-pounding song that plays whenever a player is the only victim remaining on the map. Every sound seems to have been specifically designed, from the distant generator that tells a player they must turn it off to pass a connected gate to the small drips in the basement that occasionally like a victim looking for an unlock tool or hiding in a shadow. I also adore the occasional communication between the teams, such as when the cook quietly chats with Sissy as the two players pass one another or when a murderer immediately insults a victim.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Visual
A visual indication also alerts players when a killer is around, although this often proves to be more frightful than useful because victims may not have been aware they were in such danger. The lush grass is one of the game’s best features. It’s so effective in TCM that murderers may unintentionally walk right by victims sheltering within. On the maps of the night, this is even more true. This is one little method to help the courageous children in their attempts to elude capture, given that it is not truly expected that the mini crossword will survive—at least, not all of them.