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Free PC Games: Hot Garbage Edition

After reading through those free PC game lists Phil was posting up here a few weeks back, I was inspired to compile a list of my own, so I did. But whereas his list was about good games to have fun times with, I've decided to put together a list of terrible and bad games for you all to check out. This week I've got some real hot garbage to share with you all. The following is a list of five games you could be playing right now. I'm sure you are all eager to jump in. I can't wait. Let's get started.

1. Victory Road

It's not as though you aren't expecting to find trash like this when you're looking for free games; it's just that you never really expect them to come in the form of a racing game, let alone a 3d racing game for that matter. They're usually dinky little 2d platformers, usually. There's nothing particularly usual about this game though. The creator of Victory Road wasn't to be deterred by common sense or logic. My only guess as to why this game exists is that this is just what happens when Sega doesn't make a Daytona game in like forever; some dude with an XNA developer kit has a moment and creates what I can only accurately describe as a lucid nightmare, which is ironic considering how closely Daytona resembles a lucid nightmare itself. But this game is like some sort of horrible mixture of Daytona and like, Alderman or something. The soundtrack probably has a lot to do with that.

That combined weirdness of lo-fi game design and inspiration from an already insane series makes for a nirvana of weird game design that you won't soon forget. And good god those car crashes. I guess it would be pretty important to make the crashes a point of focus in an arcade style racing game, and he certainly did accomplish that much. It's like he played Burnout and forgot that people probably wouldn't be very pumped to watch their car do spinning cartwheels for ten to twelve minutes every time they hit a wall too hard. Anyway, if you're still revving to go, then speed on over to the official website to download it yourself for free.

2. Dark Ocean

Man that Resident Evil Revelations game looks pretty cool, but I don't have a 3ds. Where can I find a horror game on set a ship with a casino in it that won't cost me an arm and a leg to get it? Well that part's simple. Just sail on over to Dark Ocean instead. Sure, it doesn't have the ridiculous amount of Jill booty bouncing all up in your face in 3d, or all the extra game modes, or a decent camera or animations even for that matter. But what if you're a person who hates tank controls? There's no tank controls here, just good, old-fashion, god fearing wasd. And if you're a person who likes tank controls then, well, it's got Resident Evil style inventory management. So that's something I guess.

On to why you might actually want to play this. The game looks a lot like Vampire the Masquerade, in terms of general vibe and atmosphere. I think it was made in Unity, as opposed to the Source engine, but while the shared jankiness between the two is the most obvious touchstone, The dark moodiness shared between them stands out as well. If anything, I think they were going for a Bioshock look and feel, but that's a kind of look that you either have the budget to make happen or you don't. Given the visual influences and the gameplay mechanics, the whole thing feels like a bit of a mishmash of survival horror tropes, never really settling fully on one thing.

At any rate, the game is free and its foibles are cute enough to laugh at and that's what really matters at the end of the day. If you enjoy janky, old survival horror games, and let's face it who doesn't, then you could do a lot worse than Dark Ocean, like, say spending any amount of money for Hydrophobia, which is practically free itself by now, but thankfully still not quite. You can get a hold of Dark Ocean at it's wordpress blog here.

3. Lucid Nightmare

Now this game is just adorable. This little gem came from Digipen and has a host of awesome features you almost never see in video games including an adorable-as-hell little girl main character who looks kinda like Lydia from Beetlejuice, an Edward Gorey-esque visual style, socktopuses and even shadow hedgehogs. The game plays, unsurprisingly, like Limbo except with more of a vertical bent that reminds more of Pitfall 2 or something. So far so good, but the problem is the enemies, platforms and animation all look like a rushed together school project. Go figure right?

Nonetheless it still looks and plays like crap, which is a crying shame because of how rare it is to have a game that looks anything at all like this. When you've got a game like this, that trades so much on its basic gameplay mechanics, like climbing ladders and attacking enemies, it would be good to have them not only control well, but look good as well. Lucid Nightmare sadly does neither and only manages to undo the great first impression it makes.

I'm super curious to see what it would look like if these guys went back and took another crack at this game, reworking the environments and the animations entirely. As it stands though, the game just isn't quite good enough to warrant overlooking its many and glaring faults. At any rate, it's worth downloading just to fiddle around with for a bit, and the download can be found at Digipen's website here.

4. Heroic Dark

The running theme in this article is to come up with games that are at least remotely interesting to look at. I like to think I've done well enough by that rule so far, but of all the games on this list, Heroic dark has to be the least remotely interesting. It's about as bare-bones and tedious as a dungeon crawling RPG can get. About the most that can be said for it is that they obviously put a lot of work into the music, which sounds awful pretty, and the character model, which is really well animated, especially when compared to the enemy animations which are just horrid. They do a lot with what they've got, but the character model is still pretty low poly, also, her breasts seem to inexplicably be permanently seated on the dashboard of the jeep in Jurassic Park. What is the point of this you may be wondering, and your guess is as good as mine. You would think if they had time enough to make her titties jiggle in such an unnatural way, they would have the time to do something much more constructive, like make her hair or belt move when she runs. Thankfully for us though, they didn't do the sensible thing.

As with most doujin games, it's like pulling teeth to find a link to download the goddamn thing. As it turns out, you can get it straight from the developer's website, which is never a guarantee with these games. I'll leave it to your discretion to decide weather you can navigate the download page (It's half the fun!) Anyway, here's the link for those interested.

5. Homura Combat

This game is probably the closest thing resembling a recommendation on this list. It basically just plays like Earth Defense Force except without all the goofy voice acting, which is sad because that's like, the main reason to play EDF. The game is plenty crazy in its own right though. Part of that is surely due to the source material, but then you get scenes like this, which I don't even know how to describe. I guess if you always enjoyed shooting the squirrels in Oregon Trail, but you always wondered what it would be like if they put you up against enough of them to be a real challenge, then this is probably the game for you.

Since the music and character designs are all lifted from the show, the art design comes across pretty well. The lack of enemy variety and the blandness of the city are what really make this game hard to stomach though. I was getting some really bad Bullet Witch flashbacks playing through the opening mission. I mean, at least that game had some acrobatics thrown in between bouts of disinterested gun-play and dead boring enemy AI. Oh, and it also had the voice actor for Goku from DBZ voicing a character that can only be described as Chris from RE5 with his road warrior costume on. On second thought, just go buy a copy of Bullet Witch instead, unless you're just really super into the Madoka series, in which case you should probably just download Grief Syndrome instead, unless you just really want to shoot a room full of Kyubeys, in which case Homura Combat can be found to download on a number of sites, the easiest of which I found to be this blog called doujin style.

-Kristopher Osborn
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About stubblemanone of us since 8:53 PM on 05.04.2012

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