Cursed Mountain

October 2, 2009

Cursed Mountain is a game that interested some horror fans since its initial announcement. And while it’s a bit hard to say whether or not they will get a satisfying experience with this game, I think that there is a lot to love here. With the survival horror genre going through so many radical changes over the years, it is a bit difficult to tell if Cursed Mountain can stand out on its own. But it can be an enjoyable experience.

The story follows mountain climber Eric Simmons, who is searching for his missing brother, Frank Simmons. Eric journeys up the last mountain Frank was seen climbing, finding himself in some pretty strange territory. The story is intriguing, and although the basic plot is a bit familiar, it’s all wrapped in Buddhist mythology, which helps it stand out among the other horror stories in the industry. Eric is a believable character, and there are quite a few interesting twists along the way. Given the right amount of time, the story definitely becomes quite engaging. 

The game is visually impressive, and it gives off a very eerie and haunting style that you may come to expect from this kind of game. It can be incredibly realistic looking at times, and other times it is something completely different. During certain moments, it presents you with a creepy, truly atmospheric environment that reminds me of some of the best horror worlds, such as Silent Hill. The game has some odd graphical hiccups every now and again, but those slight problems are barely noticeable when you are truly taken aback by the amazing visual effects that are created.

Eric’s voice acting is fine, but aside from him, the voice acting is pretty bad. During the beautiful cutscenes, the atrocious acting can really take you out of the experience during many key points of the story. The music, on the other hand, is good. While it isn’t a large part of the experience, it plays a small but very subtle role in bringing you into the game.

The gameplay itself is the most important part, though. First, the game’s pacing is very slow, which isn’t a point against it. It’s able to slowly ease you into the experience, and there are some very intense and action packed moments. You have a basic weapon, which is a pickaxe, and is used for your melee attacks. Early on in the game, you pick up an artifact that, combined with your pickaxe, can be used as a deadly weapon to take down the evil spirits in the game. You will also find other artifacts throughout the game to increase your weapon’s power, among other things, and they will definitely help out as you face stronger enemies later on in your adventure.

Not too far into the game, you will gain the ability to see with your “third eye.” A quick push of the C button on the Nunchuck lets you see the world with this vision and allows you to use your artifact and pickaxe to shoot and destroy the enemies in the game (it sounds odd, but it somehow works). Eventually, after hitting the enemy enough times, you can finish them off with a gesture of the Wii remote. You have a certain amount of time to perform a set number of actions using the motion controls of the Wii remote and the Nunchuck as quickly as possible. The big problem is a lot of the time the game won’t recognize when you are actually making these motions, causing you to have to retry these parts several times before you get lucky enough for it to work. It can lead to much frustration. 

There are other problems with the controls as well, and they also tend to lead to a lot of frustration, especially during combat situations. For example, there is no quick turn, so it makes trying to turn around to run the other way a hassle. It just feels clumsy and with an added quick turn button or some way to perform it would have made things a lot easier. Also, if you try to change the aiming and camera controls to inverted, it will work for you when you are moving the camera, but for whatever reason it will not be inverted when aiming with your weapon. Just a few little problems that can make your experience with the game a bit more frustrating than it needs to be. 

But, when the controls do work to your advantage, the combat can be a lot of fun. Eventually, you do get used to these problems and are able to manage them as you take on the increasingly difficult enemies. There are also a few boss fights scattered throughout the game, and they are all very fun and pretty original for a horror game, with the exception of the disappointing and incredibly easy final boss. 

Despite Cursed Mountain’s flaws, Deep Silver has succeeded at bringing an original horror game to the Wii. It does have a lot of problems, but most horror fans can overlook these and will definitely appreciate the game as a whole. It may not be for everyone, but Cursed Mountain can be a fun experience, especially for fans of the genre. 

ESRB: M for Mature; rated for lots of blood, violence, and plenty of scares to be had

Pros: The art style is beautiful and the atmosphere is haunting; intriguing story; the combat can be fun (when the controls work); some original and fun boss battles; horror fans will appreciate it

Cons: Some control issues, which includes Wii motion controls that don’t always work; voice acting is generally terrible; very underwhelming final boss

Score: 3/5

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