Old horror games are great storytellers. Stretched out and pixelated skins glued to the many polygons that form a retro world, not only to make us question "What the hell is that suspicious object in the distance?" but also to emphasize what is important. A knife is too big, a car too small; everything is dispoportionate and covered in blood. We are often confronted by the most terrifying engine in gaming history -- our brains. Like reading through a book, our imaginations fill in the blanks and no two minds experience fear the same.
DUSK (written in all capital letters) is an early access game that delivers old-fashioned, headache-inducing, shoot'm up slaughter and twirls. As of now, there are two episodes with a third in the oven.
Players might talk about gnarly kills and wicked jumps, but I want know more about the story behind the hooded hicks and satanic goats. There be witchcraft in them hills!
If only DUSK was more direct in what it was trying to tell us. Maybe actual words written somewhere to describe what this is all about.
Unfortunately, this game isn't about handouts, unless we're talking about handing out bullets or tears. So we'll have to look at further evidence. Hope you like screenshots, because all I have are screenshots!
Lets talk about red. There's blood on the walls, meat on the floors, but one of the things that stands out the most are enemies with piercing red eyes. All the creatures you are shooting are afflicted with some "demonic" magic. They're not physically forced to be cattle with chains or ropes, but their minds are poisioned to make them willing slaves. I think it's safe to assume that is the case with enemies that lack visible peepers, such as those with covers, goggles or helmets on their heads.
Resembling Resident Evil 4 with its chainsaw maniacs, cult-like symbolism and progression from country farms to military establishments, DUSK also shares a common idea that a greater evil is using humans as a means to an end. In this case, people are used as tools to kill and harvest for awesome power. Just take a look at some of this Event Horizon machinery that runs on flesh fuel.
Worst of all, the cultist that aren't used as kindling have found careers as malevolent interior decorators. Behold the horror!
Speaking of decorations, I don't have any evidence to support this, but I'm pretty sure this guy has something to do with all the malarkey going on. Captured on two different levels. Remember the red eyes? Look at the red eyes!
There are farms, forest, mines and skyscrapers in DUSK. The people that live there are growers, scientist, military personnel and probably plumbers. They have flushible toilets in-game, so I assume plumbing is a big deal.
These are simple folk, and I was pretty sure I had this game figured out. It was a game about satanic backwood bumpkins and the dangers of hive mind mentality. That is, until I saw what they were keeping in storage. Thanks to those old time graphics, it's hard to say what these objects are. But they look a lot like Lovecraftian parts to me; tentacles and such.
Which might explain why portals, dimensions and warped reality are all part of this story. But I guess even Warlocks can create portals, not something that is exclusive to the sci-fi world. I'll let you decide where the needle lands on this gauge.
There is also something odd going on with the character you play. He isn't given a name (yet), but I like to call him Infidel Ian. You can also call him Sacrifice Sam or Heretic Hank. I couldn't help but notice that it felt like he was being guided through the game, not just by the Devil's voice but also by the blood graffiti on the wall. Here are a few examples.
And then there's this oddity. Computer screens in the game with the player's perspective. A wink to the player with some meta? Or are we in The Matrix?!
So what does it all mean? Heck if I know. With what I've played in the first two episodes, I think Ian is being used by a greater force to become some vicious weapon. It's hard to say what that force is. Beezlebub? Cthulhu? Government supercomputer? Let me know in the comments what you think. We got one more episode to clear the fog, but I'm pretty sure I know the REAL meaning behind all this. I want to believe!