You know what you need? Vomiting zombies and space moths. At least, we're going to assume that's what you need, because here is The Breach from Berzerk Studio, and it has quite a bit of both. It's a horror/action/platformer that puts you into the bulky space boots of a lone security officer, Sergei, exploring a prototype starship, the Hermes, that is suddenly not responding to communication. By the time Sergei discovers how bad things are, escape has gotten more complicated, forcing him to descend into the belly of the ship looking for the escape pods. And of course there are the visions that get increasingly more disturbing as he progresses, and the strange force that whispers everything would be so much simpler if he would just let it in...
The game plays fairly simply, using the [arrow] or [WASD] keys for movement, and the [spacebar] to fire or interact with certain objects. Your health is displayed as an orange bar in the upper-left corner, and your shields are the blue bar that overlaps it; shields regenerate, but health does not, so keep an eye out for rare medical drops from enemies. Of course, dying only respawns you back at the last door you went through, so it's mostly a temporary setback. Killing enemies nets you experience, which in turn eventually gains you levels, which in turn automatically applies upgrades to your abilities. Not that you'll notice much of a difference except where rate of fire is concerned. But that's okay, because scattered throughout the game are various weapons, armors, and other upgrades that are much more useful in monster busting.
Analysis: If you've ever wondered what would happen if someone tried to combine Super Metroid with themes vaguely reminiscent of Event Horizon, well, here you go. It's got Metroid's runn-y/jump-y/shoot-y gameplay, and a story that manages to unnerve, even if it does get predictable towards the end. Everybody loves unexplained malevolent space entities, and The Breach has such a creepy one I wish it had put a bit more emphasis on the story than it does.
The Breach has the bones of a good scifi horror title, but the problem is that it has problems with pacing, and with a tendency to go for the gross-out factor rather than anything frightening. You fall into a rhythm; run down some corridors, shoot some monsters, Sergei has a vision, keycard, boss fight. You'll go a while before the game starts throwing new types of enemies at you; when it does, it starts introducing a lot, but too many of them seem like the developer was hoping you found bodily fluids icky. Man, a little less barfing on my shoes, and a little more fleshy phase beasts with an unsettling number of limbs, please. The game also isn't particularly challenging; most enemies behave like wind-up toys (admittedly somewhat appropriate in the story), and typically bosses can be dealt with just by finding a spot where they can't reach you and holding down the trigger.
The end result is something that feels a bit like it would have been served with more time in development so the creators could have spent a while fleshing out the gameplay to make it as creepy and interesting as the story. Everything is perfectly serviceable, just not as exceptional as you might hope for. The Breach has a tremendous amount of potential, and while it doesn't quite live up to all of it, what's there is still worth experiencing if you're a fan of the genre. The presentation is fantastic, with clean visuals, an eerie soundtrack, and more vomit, blood, pus, and ick than you can shake your grossly mutated and malformed fist at. Yaaaaaaaay!