Forgotten Hill: Surgery
BOO! Did I scare you? No? Well not to worry, FMStudio is here with a new chapter of their Forgotten Hill saga that will fill you with proper terror. But before we go further, you might want to get in the mood by playing the first two games in this haunting series: Forgotten Hill: Fall where you had the brilliant idea to invite yourself into a house with the lights turned off and its continuation, Forgotten Hill: Puppeteer.
Have you gone and played the prequels now? Are you shaking in your boots or other footgear? Good, because this is where the real fun begins! Maybe you had a bad experience with a nurse in a hospital once? Was she a monster with tentacles under that dress, hellbent on having your chest and your brain cut out and operated on for some nefarious purpose? The trouble begins with you locked in your own decrepit cell, I mean hospital room, and an intimidating list of rules posted to the yellowing wall. These include obeying the nurse and not leaving your room, but when the door creaks open and a creepy, childlike laugh echoes off the wall, you realize conformity is probably not your best option.
Forgotten Hill: Surgery tests players with puzzle after puzzle linked up in complicated ways. Plenty of backtracking will be required to unlock and explore new areas, and discover the keys to resolving puzzles. Don't succumb to the temptation to inspect things willy-nilly, though. One wrong move and you might find yourself consumed alive by flies, devoured by an angry leech, or one of assorted other unpleasant ways to meet your demise. Fortunately, you are thrown back to the menu screen and your game can be resumed from immediately before your fatal decision. This leaves you none the worse off (save maybe some soiled clothes and hair on the back of your neck standing straight up) aside from the trauma of the jump scare.
Thoughts of surgery don't typically conjure up warm fuzzy images, and as you must be getting the idea by now, this game is no exception. It is going to require all your perseverance and will to be spooked. The game is played entirely using the mouse to point and click, as well as dragging objects to complete puzzles. If I may, I offer a small piece of advice to those brave souls who manage to escape the medical compound: run, and don't look back. For though it might be brave to enter the world of Forgotten Hill: Surgery and the nightmarish complex it houses, you would have to be utterly foolish to remain there.
While there is certainly a massive improvement from the developer in the atmospheric elements and the sound, a few things are left to be desired. The walls demonstrate an apparent odd compulsion of the author to smear unrealistically precise and ubiquitous bloody handprints, sometimes several in each scene, shattering the immersion and genuine feeling of the setting. Mumbling accompanies the few lines of spoken dialogue in the game rather than voice acting. Despite these sometimes over the top details, other effects like the echoing laughter in the distance and flickering of lights at the oddest of times successfully redeem the experience. The compelling hints of lore and underlying story scattered throughout the scenes serve to put the captive in captivated, keeping you alert and focused, not letting you put it down just like a good book.
Please bear in mind that the thematic references and scare atmosphere of this game do not make it ideal for everyone. If you're not the kind of person who enjoys few good scares tossed in with your puzzles, consider this your fair warning!