Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween audio

Halloween is coming up fast. By now most of us have our costumes and decorations up. What I've often felt was being neglected in Halloween decorations is audio. Not those lame tapes of "Spooky Sounds" I used to get as a kid those were lame. I mean really disturbing audio.

The "Thief" series of games are the creepiest I've ever played. Sure "Doom" has monsters coming out of you at the shadows but you're playing on a set path and can predict where they'll come from to an extent. "Thief" has multiple routes and you don't always know when something is gonna come up on you. These are the only games that Gandolf, my parrot, really pays much attention to. She makes comments, gives warnings, and gets scared. But there was one area in the second game that just scared the bejeezus out of both of us.

You can see that room of that game here.

Now, picture me in a dark room with a parrot on my shoulder. The game was set much darker than the video. I came up the hidden wall corridor and approached the door. There were those same awful sounds playing at us. I looked around to see what else I could do. I saved and went in anyway. Like you saw in the video not much was happening. I creeped in along the carpet to muffle my footsteps (yes, that matters in this game). I'm looking at those shelves since they're likely to hide anything. Then that ghost girl materialized about a foot from my nose. Gandolf screams. I scream. There's bird and gamer limbs flying all over the place. When I looked at the screen again the girl was gone.

I called up my girlfriend at the time because I knew she'd be at work. I got her answering machine and held the phone to the speaker for about a minute before hanging up. That bit alone gave her nightmares.

Three years ago on Halloween I hooked up an older computer and played "Thief 2" until I found myself in the haunted library. I'd park my character in a corner, toss the speakers out the window, and let it play.

The reactions were great. One 5 year old little boy got half way between the gate and my door and froze. A giggling group of teenage girls bickered about who would be the first to enter the yard. A guy just walking down the street slowed when he heard it and then scurried away. All I had going was the audio in that room and some candles above my door.

But that computer was old and flaky even then. I don't think I could rely on it for long now. So I started looking to see if anyone had recorded it. Turns out there are soundtracks to all three "Thief" games and some fan remixes.

You can listen to them at http://www.thief-thecircle.com/media/music/ and build your own creepy playlist.

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