HYSTERIA PROJECT / Bulkypix / PSP

Hysteria Project is a strange trip back to the FMV craze of the early 1990s, when CD-ROM games were first coming out. The whole game is a sequence of video clips, which you interact with solely by choosing from a menu once in a while, or doing a simple QTE while the video plays using only the X and O buttons. The game was originally designed for phones and ported to the PSP, so I assume some of the simplicity and restriction in the gameplay style comes from that.

It's meant to be a horror game, but it's pretty unintimidating horror. You wake up in some shack with your arms and legs duct-taped and no explanation of how you got there. After freeing yourself you flee into the woods, only to be pursued by a relative of the Fisherman Ninja from I Know What You Did Last Summer, armed with a small hatchet. Maybe that's selling it a little short - probably its greatest strength is in generating a paranoid atmosphere, but whenever the underwhelming killer pops up it kind of undercuts things a bit.

Since you have no clear destination or plan other than to flee around randomly whenever Fisher Ninja pops up, a lot of this game boils down to random guessing when faced with a menu choice (usually about which direction to go.) There's a couple sequences where you're hiding from the killer where basic reasoning or a visual cue leads you to the right choice, and there's a protracted sequence of running through the woods where a faint "H" symbol indicates where you're supposed to go, but a lot of it is just flat guesswork, and if you get it wrong you simply rewind back a couple of video clips and have to watch the whole shebang again.

It's really not that bad of a concept, but unfortunately it only lasts for about half an hour of playtime, and that includes mistakes and re-dos. After it's completed, it's wholly linear, so you've seen everything and there's little point in playing it again. It also ends on a massive cliffhanger with an advertisement for Hysteria Project 2, so really it's more like a long demo than an actual game. Ultimately it's just too insubstantial to be worth the money.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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