Saturday, 01 October 2016 00:00

Mad Father Review

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Welcome back to Drevis Mansion.

In 2013, Mad Father, developed by sen, took RPG maker horror fans – as well as a few well known "Let’s Players" – by storm. Many praised it’s amazing storytelling, chilling endings, and unique cast of characters. It quickly joined a long coveted list of amazing RPG maker horror games which features classics such as The Witches House, Ib, and The Crooked Man. Now, three years later, Mad Father once again draws fans back by introducing updated graphics, improved playability, and additional content.

Mad Father is also not for the light of heart. There are scenes of extremely graphic gore and body horror, so if you’re sensitive to all of that it’s probably best for you just to stay away.

Without giving too much of the amazing story away, you play as Aya Drevis who, on the eve of the anniversary of her mother’s death, notices that her father has gone missing and that the mansion is filled with undead corpses – all of which were killed by her father in sadistic, cruel ways. Armed with only her fatherly love and accompanied by her trusty pet rabbit Snowball, Aya must confront the truth of dad’s atrocious acts as well as the mysterious circumstances of her mom’s untimely demise…

Of course, a plethora of horror, jump scares, and gore await her on her journey. At it’s very core, Mad Father is, to me, a horror game unlike any other. Every time you enter a room you never know what might happen. Even when you think you’ve seen everything you needed to see, something rapidly moves toward you just as you’re leaving.

It creates a palatable tension since nothing is ever truly certain, and that is what a horror game should truly be about.

The best part of the game is that the story doesn’t suffer for the sake of horror. In essence, it’s about a girl’s undying dedication to her murderous father and deceased mother. Her devotion to him is so great that, despite seeing firsthand all of the terrible things he has done, she simply… ignores it all.

The Steam release brings us many improvements, most notably the graphics. If you’ve played the freeware version, you’ll immediately notice that the map tiles are more detailed and absolutely beautiful. The blood stains – of which there are plenty of – actually look like stains instead of red spots. The carpets aren’t a single, solid color, instead sporting diverse and intricate patterns. The lighting also received a major improvement. In some parts of the mansion, the light acts as though it’s really coming through a window, lighting specific areas of the room and casting a shadow on all the others. Some of the artwork was redone as well, adding more details to some of the character portraits and CGs.

The controls, namely in quick-time-events, have also been tweaked. In the freeware version, all of Aya’s problems could easily be solved by mashing a button quickly. A zombie grabbed her ankle and is slowly dragging her away? Mash the spacebar. A ghost man is choking Aya? Mash the spacebar. That door won’t open as the final boss slowly creeps up behind you? You get the idea. It made for repetitive and simple gameplay. In this new version, most of these moments are replaced with command inputs. As that ghost man is strangling you, or that zombie is dragging you away, you have to input a series of commands as your health is very slowly draining before your eyes, adding to the tension and fear of it all.

I would have liked to see the difficulty lowered as well, but something about how hard it is to actually stay alive makes it more of a good thing than a negative. One particularly difficult part of the game is in the location of the gems, which are essential to getting the "true" ending. I was wandering around the map for some half an hour+, trying to find the remaining gems, which only caused me to walk into rooms that still had jump scares for me – something I greatly applaud the developer for doing.

Of course, while making such massive improvements to a wonderful game it’s impossible not to add new content. Along with new music and cutscenes, the game features a brand new ending – the “if” ending which details what happens to Dio after Aya faints in the Shrine and after the events of the true ending.


The Verdict

Mad Father has truly earned its spot in the RPG Maker horror hall of fame. An unforgettable classic that isn’t afraid to change to appease a more modern audience, the story of Aya and her father will forever stay with me. This game is also not for the light of heart. There are scenes of extremely graphic gore and body horror, so if you’re sensitive to all of that it’s probably best for you to just stay away.

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Susana Valdes

Susana came into the gaming world a bit late in her life, but it hasn't stopped her from completely immersing in it. A die hard fan of the Assassin's Creed series, she hopes to broaden her horizons and fall in love with different gaming genres. She enjoys otome games (Japanese dating sims directed towards girls) and visual novels; she constantly fights to have Japanese games localized in the US. When she isn't playing games, she's usually reading a book or working as a freelance writer. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she hates the nightlife as much as it hates her.


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