Release Date: 13th March 2015
Hektor is the new psychological horror game from the five-man team Rubycone. Set in an underground military black site, the player must escape from the facility while also battling psychosis and a gang of creepy monsters. Throughout the game there are notes to collect, which tell the story of the facility and its occupants.
The psychosis aspect of the game is an interesting twist on the horror genre; if the player goes for a long period without taking any medicine, the environment starts to contort and change colour, making it more difficult to focus on the task in hand.
You start off with only a small lighter to guide you through the dark hallways and corridors, but eventually you come across a torch, which makes life a lot easier. Intermittent screams and shouting can be heard as you progress through the darkness, looking for a way out. Areas within the game swap around depending on how you’re doing, helping to guide you, but also causing some pretty creepy moments of confusion.
Sections between the main levels take place in a strange and dream-like realm, reminiscent of the Red Room in Twin Peaks. A fatherly voice can be heard guiding you on, beckoning you towards the exit. These sections contrast well with the grim and dark areas, and help to bring some variety to the game.
Towards the end of the game, the monster known as the Predator comes looking for you. It’s a giant blobby mass with humanoid features, but two great big spikes instead of hands. The game tracks your progress, and will send out the predator when you’re going too quickly, or when you’re lagging behind. Getting chased by the Predator never gets old, and while the first few occasions had me screaming and swearing at my computer, after a while it got quite exciting, even thrilling.
There are also a few other monsters moving around, that alert the Predator as to your whereabouts. These monsters do no damage to the player, but hover a few feet off the ground, screaming when you get near. You’ll often only see a silhouette at the end of a badly lit corridor, but it’s enough to make me hide behind my desk chair every time.
The sound is also worth discussing – composed by Shaun Chasin, the soundtrack was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. The music works well, changing depending on what’s actually going on in the game. For example, when the Predator was about to sneak up on me, the music would build in a crescendo, until I started running away full pelt. It’s quite impressive to see a small indie developer recruiting a well established orchestra to record a soundtrack for them.
While my experience with Hektor was good, the game’s length is just far too short. It is similar to Into Blue Valley in that sense. Both used found objects to tell a story, but both were incredibly short. I managed to complete Hektor in under four hours, and the ending itself was dissatisfying.