“Condemned: Criminal Origins” by Mr Riddler

Riddle Me This A man was shot to death while in his car. There were no powder marks on his clothing, which indicated that the gunman was outside the car. However, all the windows were up and the doors closed and locked. After a close inspection was made, the only bullet-holes discovered were on the man’s body. How was he murdered?

The Man was in a convertible and he was shot with the top down and the murderer then put the top back up and left the body. Congratulations you’ve just passed your police investigation exam and now you can play Condemned.
What I Expected:
Condemned was one of the first game to come out for the Xbox 360. If you recall, it was one of those games that you either bought because you just bought and Xbox and had been buying up every game that came out, or because your parents misunderstood “Halo 2” for Condemned for some unknown reason that is probably related to loss of hearing and old age. Or, of course, if you read reviews on the game and saw that it was actually good from another review site. Like anyone does that! Right now you’re probably not even reading this. You’re skimming past it to look at the pictures and then you’ll jump down to the bottom to see what the rating it. I’ll test this theory: Peaches, Apples, Watermelons. When I break out of here the first place I’m going to is Pizza hut and Starbucks. I want to be the President of Mars and rule of a legion of Silenced Requiems that will cook clean and do my bidding. There let’s see what you comment about that!… where was I? Oh yes, Condemned looked like a crap in a hat to me when I first saw it but after being told from place to place that it can be good as a survival horror game I picked it up for 5 dollars at a gamestop on Christmas sale and decided to try it out.
What We Got
Condemned opens pretty well. You’re a police investigator that’s investigating a murder scene from a serial killer. Of course you use this amazing Batman level technology where you can snap a picture of a sample and email it to your friend at the lab to have it analyzed. It’s a really creepy, messed up setting of a woman’s that’s been strangled with porcelain children around the room and smashed out faces. This pretty much explains something that Condemned does very well. Atmosphere. Given it’s not very hard to create a scary atmosphere, but this game does a great job in the way that Doom3 did a great job. They leave you in almost solid dark with a small beam of light from a flash light. Well as the story goes on, you chase down your serial killer and he shoots your 2 partners in front of you with your gun. Then he throws you from a window which seems to be 8 stories up. Miraculously you survive but now you’re thrown into a torrent of crap because you were apparently the only detective that understood how to do your job and based solely on the fact that your gun was used, you’re being blamed for the death of your two partners. Due to a lack of distrust in the legal system you, of course, make a run for it and endeavor to prove your own innocence.
Also all the homeless people seem to have gone into a psychotic rage and tend to beat the shit out of anyone they can get their hands on.
First and foremost I need to commend this game on their development of the psychotic AI that they have developed for the homeless people. It’s ingenious in creating a jump effect. The enemies have a way of using the darkness for stealth, all the while making groaning and waling noises, hiding behind a corner just out of sight. When you follow the noise just far enough. they jump out screaming and beat you in the face with a crowbar. Then you crap yourself, and if you’re not quick enough to block or retaliate. they’ll follow it up with another blow, a tackle to the group to claw at your face, or run and hide in a new location. Brilliant! Unlike Dead pace where after playing it enough you can guess where the jump scares are going to come from, Condemned actually made a dynamic horror experience where you literally don’t know what will be round the next corner. Another great element to this game, which also seems to be something that modern FPS horrors are picking up on is that things get less scary when you have a gun. This is true. Survival horror games tend to have that fatal flaw. Resident Evil 1 for example was a great horror game. Kept you running and managing saves as well as weaponry, but lost all horrific elements after you get the grenade launcher, or Magnum piston. Then you just blow the head off everything you run into with 1 shot. Same with Dead Space, after you’ve leveled up your weapons enough, or if you’re a good enough shot in FPS games, you can just blow the limbs of whatever comes at your and be done with it. Not Scary. Condemned seems to have that in mind. It give you a gun in the beginning and at certain points in the game but with extremely limited ammo. We’re talking 3 – 4 bullets here. Majority of the game is done with A melee weapons. If you can go throughout the entire game without using a gun you even get an achievement, but it added to the game difficulty and element of horror. Now you can’t stay a room’s length away form enemies, you need to look them in the face as you kill them. Great.
I’m not saying this game is perfect though. Just that it has more good qualities than bad. For example, the gun thing I talked about? Well you also get a tazer to use, and once you’ve figured out just how easy it makes things. It pretty much does the same as giving me a gun. It’s too dark to see in most levels and what I do see of enemies is a shadow running past or at me, but 1 tazer shot and the room, or the enemy. Is lit up like a Christmas tree and now I can take a swing at just about anywhere on him while he seizures in place. Nice in a pinch but, it’s too accessible. I can use it just about anywhere and it only takes 3 – 5 seconds to recharge. Next is the, use this item to get through here. It’s a major trope to the “puzzle” elements of survival horror games that we’re supposed to looks for Key A to go into Slot A and even though Key B may look like Key A it can only be used for Key B because the writer said so. It’s a trope that’s over used and should be thrown out or at least done a bit better. If I have a crowbar in the game it tells me that I can’t use this to pry off a lock. instead I have to walk down 3 stories of stairs to find a sledgehammer and beat the lock off the wall. It’s just too unnecessary from a logic stand point. If this were Mario or some cutesy game where it didn’t need to make sense it would get a free pass but not this game. You’re supposed to be playing a police detective for Christ’s sake!
Condemned is not a classic game and it’s probably not going to make a reboot appearance for the Xbox 3 when it comes out in the next decade, but it’s something that’s defiantly worth your time to check out if you’re in a last minute bind on what to play for Halloween. Best of all, it’s cheap right now. At gamestop you can probably find it for 9 bucks!… or you can find it at the bottom link from Amazon if you can choose the instant telelportation shipping option to get it today. Also it has a sequel… I may play that one day.
And there you have it. End of The Month. The last of the Mohicans. The last Horror Review of the Month. Be sure the download this Month E-Zine and Happy Halloween from us at Riddler Reviews.
Overall Rating:

Yes buy this game in case you missed out on it before. It should be in the bargain bin by now since this flew under most peoples’ radars.

Feel Free to leave me a comment down below and let me know what you think, if you enjoyed the review or what you want me to review next. I’ll pay attention. After all, you are my only reader.


<- You may have noticed this gem pop up in posts recently. Well thanks to the miracle of technology, when we now mention things that are worth your money we’ll actually link you to a place where you can get it cheap. Hot Damn!

3 Responses to ““Condemned: Criminal Origins” by Mr Riddler”
  1. Seb says:

    i played condemned, wasn't impressed. wasn't the least bit scary

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