Penumbra: Overture & Black Plague

I've just finished these two games: Penumbra: Overture and Penumbra: Black Plague. Now I'm feeling that I must say something about them.

They're the two parts of a first person horror adventure game. Horror, I really mean it. It's not only ugly alien creatures, dark rooms or blood. The horrorest (and most interesting) things are the story, the puzzles you need to solve in order to make progress, the environment you're in, and the helpless you feel.

In the game, you'll often find some notes about what happened or what you need to do; there're many many puzzles you need to solve, in order to open one door, stop leaking gas, kill an alien creature or something like that, most puzzle are based on physics; besides, you have hardly any weapons (you can still kill a dog or a spider in Overture, but you won't do this by hand in Black Plague) when you see an enemy. Imagine when you're facing a door behind which there must be an alien creature which you cannot beat at all! Or when you see an alien creature is searching and walking towards you, but you have no place to hide! Oh~~

The physics system in this game is really good, which I've never seen in other games. It's real and interesing, when you push, pull, hold, lift, crack, whaterever do somehing on an object, you have to imitate that action with your mouse pointer, instead of just point and click. Besides, this make the environment more real and increase the horror.

The latter (Black Plague) is somewhat better than the first one, for it ran more smoothly on my computer. I think the programmer must have done a lot with this. Mostly I don't care about graphics effects -- enough is enough -- but in Overture, I can't pass the game twice just because the graphics effects (I can't see some important thing just because I turned some option off which would lead the game stuck if turned on). In Black Plague, this hasn't happened again, I use the default options, and it works pretty well.

The two games tell a long (not too long) story, ur, Philip enter a lab according to some clue left by his father, and at last he know many things about a kind of alien creature (or virus?) Something liek that, but not only like that. It also brings many thinkings about mankinds.

It's pity that I used trainers and search for walkthroughs for the two games (I always do this and regret for this later), such that although it make the game a little (sometimes much) easier than normal, it spoiled the game a lot. I didn't enjoy the game a lot, and I didn't understand the whole story very clearly. However, I have to say, that saved me a lot of time (otherwise I'll spell much more time in solving puzzles and fighting against or hide from alien creatures) and made me more like a 'god' (I wouldn't die at all) such that make me feel good. But I decide to replay this game some time -- without trainers and walkthroughs (ok, I knew the walkthrough already) -- to enjoy more.

To conclude this article, these are the first horror games I've ever played, and they're really good and worth playing. But WARNING: you must ensure beforehand that you are brave enought and that you can really afford this, I won't be reponsible for anything if you have something like heartattack !



Sheena Etranzi from Contra 4

Sheena Etranzi is the first female Contra character. And this picture is a bonus image of Contra 4.

This was done by my new tablet and Corel Painter X. Actually I'm just trying to get familar with the hardware and the software. And I found both rather good. There are too many tools in Painter X, after read some tutorials, I found 3 most common used: cover pencil, detailed airbrush and blender, with which did I complete this drawing.

This time I didn't just copy that image, as I promised, I do the sketch and coloring all by myself. Actually there're differences between the color scheme I used and that in the original picture, but it's ok for this picture I think. I'm really happy that I learnt a lot from drawing this one, not only some bascic tools of Painter, but some techinical skill of drawing, the most important one among those, the coloring. I learnt some from my father that how to mix the color of human skin, and I succeed in coloring highlighted part of the picture.

That's real fun, and that's real drawing! (or maybe not, maybe drawing without an "original picture" is so called real drawing, whatever) I'd like to try more and learn more.