Thursday, July 12, 2012

Top video game facilities (part two)

Most great games include a facility of some sort - somewhere the antagonist and all this cronies do their dastardly deeds, or some laboratory to infiltrate.

Here's the second part of our ten favourite video game facilities. Missed Part One... then click here.

5) Spencer Mansion (Resident Evil)
What initially seemed like a safe haven in a creepy forest full of mutated, man-eating dobermans turning into something of a nightmare for the STARS Alpha team. See, this isn’t just a creepy, expansive mansion – oh no, it’s a top-secret corporate research base where the ever-evil Umbrella Corporation has been  working on bioweapons. So, what starts out as a creepy hideout quickly becomes a nightmare of zombies and panic. Great...

4) Shadow Moses Island (Metal Gear series)
Cold, dangerous, inhospitable? Yes, Solid Snake is a bit of a chump – but send him to take on the nuclear disarmament facility on Shadow Moses Island and you’ve got one of the best games of all time on your hands. Shadow Moses offers environmental dangers, epic boss battles, constant threats of being spotted as you crawl through its unusually huge air vents and – of course – a secret underground lab where a certain bipedal tank is being constructed... Just don’t shoot any weapons in the nuclear storage facil...BOOM!

3) Black Mesa (Half Life)
From the comfortable seat on the tram in from his dormitory to the Sector C test labs, Gordon Freeman gets a good look at the Black Mesa Research Facility. Something of a scientist’s playground, anything goes in Black Mesa’s sterilized halls, from weapons which reduce your target to gloop to genetic experimentation, teleportation and – my personal favourite – portals which unleash a tide of alien monsters upon the Earth. And the G Man. Of course.

2) Halo ‘Installation 04’ (HALO: Combat Evolved)
The first of seven ‘Halo’ ringworlds discovered by the alien Covenant, HALO: Combat Evolved saw the now-famous Master Chief taking on grunts, elites and jackals, parasites and crazed religious nutters in a variety of disparate locations, from beaches to mountains to underground laboratories, all shot in glorious bright colours – as you flew by... upside down... in an indestructable Warthog... The fact that the ringworld is also a weapon capable of destroying part of the galaxy as part of a doomsday plan goes by the wayside...

1) Aperture Science Enrichment Centre (Portal)
Sterile, clean and tidy, the Aperture Science Enrichment Facility would be the ideal place for scientific testing – were it not run by a crazed, cake-obsessed AI, designed by a former shower curtain salesman and the site for some truly diabolical, mind-bending puzzles. Portal introduced us to the Centre, but Portal 2 revealed the true depth of the facility, replacing the white-walled test chambers with filthy, toxic underground areas studded with danger and pitfalls – and gamers rightfully loved it.

Honourable mentions:
Orbital Transfer Station (Killzone)
US Outpost 31 (The Thing)
Junk (Total Annihilation)
Black Sun (Supreme Commander)
Facility (GoldenEye)
The Bank (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)