Home Entertainment The Critical Hit Days of Horror countdown – F.E.A.R.

The Critical Hit Days of Horror countdown – F.E.A.R.

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Horror games have always had a home in many a gamer’s rapidly-beating heart – franchises like Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Dead Space, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and so many more have provided gamers with plenty of fond memories over the years. But one particular moment has always stood out to me as the pinnacle of the gaming jump-scare – that damn ladder in F.E.A.R. – and if you’ve played the game you know exactly what I’m talking about.

For those of you who’ve never played the game, 2005’s F.E.A.R., or First Encounter Assault Recon (which to paraphrase Phil Coulson means someone really wanted an acronym that spelled fear), was a first person shooter with still some of the best enemy A.I. in the business. This resulted in many tense and memorable encounters within the game as enemies smartly flanked you and tried to flush you out of cover, all while avoiding your return fire. Combined with the distinct horror aesthetic which was quite unique for the time, made it one of the year’s best games.

It was a stark contrast to what promised to be a scary AAA FPS the previous year, Doom 3, but which instead became utterly predictable jaunt through rooms with locked doors. After an hour I knew the trick was to walk into every new room backwards to kill the monsters that inevitably spawned behind you, and then turn around to kill those ahead of you.

F.E.A.R. tasked the player with assuming the role of the Point Man, a soldier with superhuman reflexes, who was tasked with investigating a paranormal event that centered around Paxton Fettel and his telepathically-controlled clone soldiers which had attacked and killed all the occupants of an office building. He was the son of Alma, a powerful psychic who the player would frequently encounter in the form of another horror staple – the creepy little girl.

Anyway to cut a long story short while hot on the heels of Fettel you came to a ladder, one of many ladders in the game, but this one was unique…

It’s the perfect one-two punch of Alma and, then just as you relax, Paxton Fettel. I still remember not being all that scared by Alma’s sudden appearance because it had happened before and was more or less expected. Just like in the clip above when I climbed down the ladder I looked right first and then left, but a bit slower, so Fettel was right in my face. I’m not too proud to say I yelped “oh sh*t!” and jumped when that happened – what I am still proud of is that before I even finished uttering that phrase I’d already nailed him with a perfect headshot. Fright-enhanced reflexes for the win!

Movie jump-scares are a dime a dozen, gaming ones are much harder to pull off because it’s not a passive experience like watching a movie, and F.E.A.R. absolutely nailed this one. And writing this has reminded me of another experience that skaarj scarred me for life, which I’ll tell you about another day.

Last Updated: October 2, 2018

34 Comments

  1. RinceThis

    October 2, 2018 at 15:10

    Sweet. I still want to watch A Quiet Place with you!

    Reply

  2. Nikola

    October 2, 2018 at 15:17

    To this day that exact moment on the ladder is the biggest fright I have ever gotten from any game or a movie, loved that game so much!!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 17:18

      Me too dude, if I was on a real ladder I would have fallen my ass off

      Reply

      • Nikola

        October 2, 2018 at 17:19

        hahaha 100% would have been on the floor crying!

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          October 2, 2018 at 17:22

          Good shooter that game actually.

          Add the kak-in-your-pants sections, and you had a winner

          Reply

          • Nikola

            October 2, 2018 at 17:24

            Yeah game play was surprisingly good and the story was also fairly good! You don’t see a lot of FPS games now with a good story mode they all focus on MP I can’t remember last good FPS story game!

          • Admiral Chief

            October 2, 2018 at 17:26

            REALLY enjoyed that uber-nailgun

          • Nikola

            October 2, 2018 at 20:27

            YES!!!!!

          • Admiral Chief

            October 2, 2018 at 20:34

            I remember pinning them against the walls, and then when I saw them again shot at them again because I thought more had spawned

          • Captain JJ

            October 2, 2018 at 20:38

            Or getting a fright from those dangling corpses because you’re already so worked up from Alma.

          • Admiral Chief

            October 2, 2018 at 20:51

            ^This

            And wasting more precious uber-nail ammo

  3. Kromas

    October 2, 2018 at 15:17

    Now FEAR was a scary game …. well FEAR 1.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 15:18

      Yes, F1

      Reply

      • Kromas

        October 2, 2018 at 17:19

        ALT+F4 is funny though

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          October 2, 2018 at 17:22

          I prefer ye olde CTRL + SHIFT + Left Arrow

          Reply

  4. Original Heretic

    October 2, 2018 at 15:23

    I remember this part. But I don’t remember getting a fright.

    Reply

  5. Captain JJ

    October 2, 2018 at 15:23

    FEAR was a very good game. Not just scary, but also a solid shooter with some really crafty AI. Not Trevor level crafty, but crafty none the less.
    FEAR 2 and 3 fall under the list of “games that never happened”.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 15:24

      404 Fear 2&3 not found

      Reply

    • G8crasha

      October 2, 2018 at 15:25

      The question I would like to ask though is whether or not a remake would still hold up to shooters a decade younger. Its possible. The recent Doom remakes did a pretty damn good job of reminding us of how cool the original was, so maybe a F.E.A.R remake is long overdue! (as is Heretic, Blood, Hexen, etc.)!

      Reply

      • Captain JJ

        October 2, 2018 at 15:29

        Yea, I could see how that would work. The game mechanics are solid though….even by today’s standards. Sure things like gun handling and such can be improved.

        The AI was stellar though and even compared to many modern games, the shootouts in FEAR were absolutely chaotic with those particle effects and dust flying everywhere.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          October 2, 2018 at 15:31

          And something stupid like seeing your legs when you looked down (even games today don’t show that)

          Reply

          • Captain JJ

            October 2, 2018 at 15:32

            oh yea that was pretty awesome

          • Admiral Chief

            October 2, 2018 at 15:33

            Also the ragdoll + pinning enemy against the wall with the nailgun effects

          • Captain JJ

            October 2, 2018 at 15:34

            Man, that was a lot of fun to do

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 2, 2018 at 15:27

      Yeah, 2 & 3 diluted the horror aspect the 1st established & didn’t come off nearly as strongly.

      Reply

  6. HvR

    October 2, 2018 at 15:32

    That scene and the first Alma in your face flash when climbing unto a platform or duct or something.

    Why did you have to mention Doom “where-is-my-dang-flashlight” 3, biggest ID disappointment ever

    Reply

  7. Admiral Chief

    October 2, 2018 at 15:54

    Lets NOT forget the beast of a PC you needed back then to run this in full glory

    Reply

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