Content warning: gore, dismemberment, amputation
In the opening moments of Endoparasitic, the player character’s legs and one arm are violently ripped off by hideous monsters. Immediately, you are tasked with staunching your gushing wounds with a clothes iron, dragging your way with your remaining appendage. It’s an effective introduction to the game’s core mechanic, as the whole affair is controlled with just one hand and one button on the mouse. The survival-horror genre of video games, known for classic series’ like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, delight in making players feel weak. Endoparasitic takes this to an uncomfortable extreme. You struggle your way around a remote scientific outpost, fleeing from mutated horrors and scavenging for every last bullet and medical syringe you can find. Your vision is severely limited, and the claustrophobic corridors are maze-like, with monsters hiding around every corner. Movement is surprisingly fluid and it’s possible to quickly scramble around, outrunning – or perhaps out-crawling – the enemies who want nothing more than to violently maul you to death.
The central mechanic is cleverly implemented. Shooting involves using the mouse to grab your weapon of choice off your torso and then aiming, firing and reloading; all with one hand. The unique reload mechanic creates one of the most intense parts of the game as you have to manually discard spent casings and drag fresh ones to the weapon, a time-consuming and stressful routine when coupled with the hordes of enemies surrounding you. The game’s revolver deserves a particular shoutout for actually keeping track of which chambers are loaded and in which order, meaning an ostensibly-loaded gun could fail at an inopportune, but appropriately terrifying moment.
The game’s story is fairly straightforward, told through scattered computer logs and capable voice acting. The main character is portrayed as vain, arrogant and dismissive of his colleagues, traits that fit well with the narrative of scientific hubris. The game is quite short, however; my play-through clocked in at around three hours, but a cliffhanger ending may allude to future iterations.
Overall, Endoparasitic is a solid indie-horror effort for fans of works like John Carpenter’s The Thing. The game’s central mechanic is smart enough to carry it through its brief runtime, and it’s well-positioned to fill up an enjoyable afternoon during the post-Halloween season. The developer has also mentioned adding new content, including a harder story mode and an endless rogue-like mode, in the future, so it might be worth checking back in sometime down the line as well.
Thumbnail image courtesy of Miziziziz via Youtube.