noiseredux vs.

Posted on Oct 16th 2012 at 07:34:36 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Saturn, Sega

So here's the thing. I knew very little about D. I knew it was a survival horror game with a cool cover, and not a whole lot more. Yesterday I received it in a trade from fellow RFGenner Barracuda and figured I'd throw it in to make sure it worked. I fired up the Saturn, and opened the manual to see how it worked. "Due to its story, this game has a two hour time limit," I read. "In keeping with the time limit, this game does not contain a pause feature." ...Interesting.

And what began with me testing the game out, turned into me being totally sucked in. Two hours (or a little less really) later, the game had reached its conclusion. I suppose that if I had bought this game when it was first released, then I may have been upset. I mean, two hours? A game that has a linear story, and puzzles I had solved the first time. Surely there'd be little re-playability. I would have maybe felt that I had spent $50 on a game that had run its course in one sitting. Right?

But who knows how I would have really felt then? All I can tell you is how I feel now. I feel thrilled to have played this game. I feel thrilled that I've discovered this series. There are some games out there that go so far beyond being just a fun game -- they are experiences to be had. Special games that you hold close to you forever and are willing to play again and again because of how they affected you. Games like Shadow of the Colossus or Heavy Rain come to mind. These are games not so far removed from an engrossing cinematic experience. Like a favorite movie that you can watch over and over again finding new tiny nuances to latch onto with each new viewing.

D starts off with an amazing cinematic cut scene that puts you in a deserted hospital -- the scene of gruesome murders committed by your father, a doctor. Suddenly the hospital turns into a big abandoned castle-esque mansion. It soon becomes clear that reality isn't part of this story. Instead, it is a story mostly told through mood somewhat akin to a David Lynch film.

The controls may take a few moments to get used to. The point-of-view is first person most of the time, though interactions with the environment take place in the third person. Much of the game consists of solving various puzzles in order to access new areas, somewhat reminiscent of Myst. However the gruesome flashbacks and other bits of disturbing imagery are all far removed from the somewhat relaxing tone of a game like Myst. Indeed this is a creepy game. One where although very little happens you can't help but feel a certain sense of dread (and perhaps urgency from the imposed two hour limit).

Though actual bits of story are told through some rather laughable voice acting, it is nonetheless an incredible experience. One that I won't spoil for you. None of the puzzles are brutally hard. In fact your biggest downfall may well be over-thinking some of them. But at just two hours there's really no excuse for you to not experience this game. After beating it myself I started doing some research and it turns out I got the "bad" ending. Luckily enough D was so compelling to me that I have no problem with the idea of playing through it again just to see the "good" ending. If you are a fan of the macabre, or just fascinatingly unique games in general, I highly urge you to seek out D.

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Nice writeup. I remember playing through this with a buddy of mine back when it came out. I still remember the picture of the little girl that completely creeped me out with the laugh... I'm still getting shivers about it.
I remember trying to play this game when I got a copy and it ran so slow I found it unplayable. I know there's no way to know but did you feel the game had performance issues in general or did it run smooth? I've always wanted to go back and check it out but I'm wondering if there's something wrong with my copy.
@GrayGhost81: movement is very slow in the game because it's actually all FMV. It doesn't look like it... you assume it's rendered, but it's not. It's all FMV. So "walking" is actually cueing up a video segment. It's strange, I know. But that's kind of party of the strange charm of the game. In a sense I feel like that adds to the bizarre nightmare feeling, like even your movement is odd. And it also adds to the anxiety of the game, as you know you're on a time limit.

tl;dr: yeah. It runs kinda slow.
I've seen this title in game stores and have always wondered what it was about.  Nice review.
I remember playing through this a few years back and finding that the graininess of the graphics actually added a bit to the creepiness of the whole thing. It really does have an odd and unique charm to's definitely worth trying out. Great write-up.
The D series was always creepy in kind of a niche way, if you catch my meaning.  It wasn't as dark as SH 2, not as queasy as Condemned 2, not as frightening as Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and not as strange as Deadly Premonition.  Rather is oozes it's own brand of...  creepiness.  Best way I can describe it.  Wonder if it looks any different on the PSX or PC.

As always, capitol write up, dude.  Look forward to more of the same.
Just wait 'till you get your grubby mitts on D2 guy. You're gonna flip.
D's developer, WARP, was instrumental in sealing my appreciation for games as interactive experiences.  I played through D when it was first released on Saturn, and despite paying full price, never really felt that a 'one shot' (although there are at least two endings) two hour experience diminished its worth. 

(This appreciation continues to this day, the latest example for me was Limbo:

As good as D is, it feels like a stepping stone to Real Sound and Enemy Zero.  The attention to audio is to be expected, considering Japanese musician Kenji Eno founded WARP.

Also worth noting that among WARP's original five person staff was Fumito Ueda, the man behind the Ico trilogy.  The design influences and transitions are quite evident over the years.
yes, thank you Slackur -- I had meant to mention Ueda in this post. Realy, Ueda's wiki page is what initially made me aware of Eno (and WARP). Since you brought up Real Sound, I assume you have played it? I'm curious how import friendly it is? I had assumed that the audio was Japanese dialouge.
I really enjoyed these types of games back then. When I got my Mega-CD it came with three games. Sonic CD, Road Avenger and Yumemi Mystery Mansion. As my only games for some time on the system I played the heck out of them and really enjoyed Yumemi Mystery Mansion and then later D & Torico (Lunacy) on the Saturn.

While it may seem pretty easy now, the slow pace and puzzles really kept me playing D for a while. I remember being stuck on one puzzle in particular for some time. If you haven't played Torico (Lunacy) yet I'd say you may want to give that one a try next. Sadly I never played Enemy Zero back then. I was really looking forward to it but by the end of the Saturn's life the games began to become very rare and too hard to find.
I bought this game recently out of a huge Sega Saturn lot. I'd heard good things about it. I should probably try it out at some point. Yeah, I really wanted Enemy Zero too, but that game was too expensive for me at the time. Still looking for D2 on Dreamcast.

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