Way back in 2005, a horror mod called Afraid of Monsters was released and was received very well, winning various awards from the mod community. This mod was developed by a Swedish man named Andreas Ronnberg , and while he was very proud of the work he had done, he was not done making mods. Andreas went on to not only make a Director's Cut of Afraid of Monsters, but he also started work on a new horror mod, this time with some help. He formed a team of less than 10 people and got started on a new project, an indie horror mod called Cry of Fear.
Development started in 2008 and the game was released in March 2012. I heard about it shortly after it's release, and decided to check it out. What I thought was going to be a short, humble little mod turned out to be one of the scariest games I've ever played, and also one of my personal favorites. Cry of Fear tells the story of Simon, a young man who has been alone most of his life and never really had anyone to comfort him. This has stared to "eat away at him", and his emotional state is the basis of the story. Now, before I go on, I should make it clear that in order to even play Cry of Fear, you need to have Half Life 1 installed on Steam, since it uses the GoldSource engine. This doesn't mean the game looks bad, but more on that later.
The story starts with Simon walking down a sidewalk when he sees a man crawling around the corner, begging for help. Simon checks to see if he is alright, and while distracted, someone crashes their car into him. Simon wakes up from the accident in an alley, with nothing but a Cell phone and a switchblade to defend himself. From there it's a journey to find his way home, and for Simon it's one hell of a journey. While it may sound basic at first, the further you get in the game more is revealed and explained until the climactic final battle, where everything makes perfect sense to you. Not much else to say about the story, so I'll move on to the gameplay.
This is very much a true survival horror game, as you have very limited health, scarce health/ammo supplies and only 6 slots in your inventory to store items. You also have a stamina bar that decreases as you jump, sprint or use certain melee attacks. Combat feels very good and challenging without being unfair or too hard. Your Cell Phone acts as your flashlight, and must be equipped in order to illuminate dark areas. Luckily, you can duel wield items such as a pistol and a phone, or a knife and a machine pistol. As for the enemies, well this is where GoldSource becomes very important to the game's scariness. Since Goldsource is a very old engine, the animations of NPC's are jagged and unnatural. This is normally a bad thing, but when applied to a horror game, it can make enemies seem much more intimidating than they would be if they were better rendered. To give you an idea of what I mean, compare the zombies of Half Life 1 and Half Life 2. Sure, in Half Life 2 they made creepy noises and walked with a limp, but in HL1 the zombies moved very awkwardly and attacked in sharp, quick movements. It might sound worse, but it truly does make you panic when a monster is running at you in these unusual movements. Also, the dev team (known as Team Psykskallar) have made major improvements to the engine such as lighting effects and textures, which are all custom. Sure, it's no Crysis, but it gets the job done and does a fine job of setting the mood.
Despite being a mod, Cry of Fear took me around 13 hours to complete on Easy (I got stuck on a part with very low health after saving. Don't judge me.) and every hour was superb. But the game didn't end there. There is a surprising amount of replay value in this mod, such as multiple endings, multiple difficulties, unlockable costumes and secrets, a short campaign from the perspective of one of the main characters and a full Co Op campaign coupled with a survival mode. I'm honestly surprised this isn't a retail game. Anyways, that's really all there is to say about the game without spoiling anything. Like I said, you do need Half Life 1 installed on Steam to play it, but other than that it's 100% free and I can't give it anything but my highest recommendation. The game's one and only shortcoming is that there are some bugs here and there, but the game is actively patched so most of the big ones are already gone. From start to finish, the game is a terrifying adventure, and not one you'll soon forget. 10/10. Download this game.
PS This is my first time writing anything on Screwattack, so I'm sure it's pretty bad. I'm just trying to introduce you guys to games you might not have played, so let me know how I can improve. Thanks!