While most people immediately think of Resident Evil when they hear the words "Survival Horror", the old school fans out there knew it from the games that time has apparently forgotten. We had Haunted House, Alone in the Dark, maybe Mansion of the Hidden Souls (if you're afraid of butterflies, I guess) and, hopefully, some of you still remember D.
The story is pretty twisted, even by today's unscrupulous standards. A young woman named Laura Harris is called from college to come and talk to her father, Dr. Richter Harris. Dr. Harris has snapped and started killing everyone in the hospital in which he works. I don't know that sending his only daughter in to talk to him is going to quell his sudden bloodlust; maybe they wanted to wipe his seed from the Earth. Who knows? Anyway, once entering the hospital, Laura is taken to a bizarre alternate reality devised by the mind of her now psychotic daddy. This new layout is that of a spooky gothic castle, complete with spike walls and rotting corpses. Laura realizes she will either have to find her father to reason with him, or kill him, but she only has two hours to do so. So begins D.
The time constraint was a very well executed device here. Very few games in this modern era are designed to be completed in one sitting, but here it adds to the sense of urgency. Now, as far as the actual game play is concerned, the majority of the game is seen from a first person perspective, changing only for cut scenes and various puzzles. The first time I played this game I was in awe of the astounding visual presentation. These days, while it still looks and feels as solid as ever, it hasn't aged quite as well as I had hoped.
For the duration of the two hours, you must work your way through the various rooms of the castle to find your father. The puzzles you encounter are pretty simplistic, which should allow you to complete the game with ample time to spare. The greatest feature of meticulously combing the rooms for clues has to do with the golden scarabs scattered throughout the game. Whenever you find one the game throws in some trippy colors and Laura has a strange flashback of sorts. Finding all the scarabs will reveal a sordid back story of the sadistic urge Laura and her father share. Far be it for me to spoil the horrifying surprise, but suffice it to say it is worth the extra effort to find all the scarabs.
This is a great addition to anyone's survival horror library. There is a sufficient amount of blood and gore, particularly when you first enter the hospital, with bodies bullet-riddled and lying in the corridors. Perhaps you even remember the ill-fated M2 system that was never released, which they planned on releasing a much more promising sequel than the derivative finished product we eventually received. Still, as a stand alone product, D certainly delivers.