The modern horror game is one that sticks pretty close to the blueprint laid out by Capcom's 1996 release Resident Evil. Slow pacing, methodical puzzles, and scares centered around things that jumped out of the darkness were the order of the day then, and since that time, games have roughly based themselves on this concept. Midway's new game, The Suffering, goes for the horror thing with creepy monster design and startling visual trickery, but it also ditches most of the ammo-conservation and slow pacing found in a majority of horror-themed games. The end result is a much more action-packed experience that might be a little too straightforward in spots, but it does make for a solid action game.
As Torque, you'll need to escape from a monster-infested high-security prison compound in The Suffering.
In The Suffering, you'll play as a thick-sideburned tough guy named Torque. The game opens with Torque being led to his new cell on death row at Abbott State Penitentiary, an island-based prison where the baddest of the bad go to die. Torque has been convicted of murdering his wife and two sons, but he doesn't actually remember anything concerning their murders. After a brief intro, a bunch of creepy monsters attack the prison, slaying many of the guards and inmates alike. This leaves Torque free to explore so that, hopefully, he can escape the prison island and reach safety.
Shortly after getting out, Torque picks up a large shiv that he can use to battle the monsters. Along the way, he'll also pick up other weapons, including a pistol, a tommy gun, a shotgun, flares, flashbangs, and so on. You'll also acquire bottles of pills, which act as healing items that can be used at any time. Additionally, you'll get a flashlight that you can clip to the front of your shirt, which comes in handy because much of The Suffering is superdark.
You'll also learn early on that Torque has the ability to transform himself into a big monster when you fill up his "insanity meter." The monster does pretty serious damage to most foes, but you'll have to watch the meter closely and change back manually before it empties. If you let it drain all the way, Torque won't survive. Torque's monster form is an interesting addition, but it's usually easier to just pick off enemies from a distance with one of your many firearms, thus making the monster form generally feel like more of an afterthought than a necessity.
The game is pretty focused on combat against various creatures. Each creature has its own moves and abilities. Some will hang back and try to pelt you with projectile attacks, while others will attempt to get up close and personal. The hangmen will simply descend from the ceiling and attempt to choke the life out of you, while the burrowers you'll encounter later on will pop up out of the ground and attempt to whip you with chains. The game is pretty good at giving you a lot of targets to shoot at, and as a result, you'll usually have more than enough ammo to deal with any situation, though the higher difficulty settings do toughen things up a bit.
Shooting up monsters is the order of the day. The Suffering is more about action than about snooping around in search of keys.
While the game is good at giving you plenty of monster-shooting action, it also really could have used either some more tactics for monsters or more varied types of monsters. Without this, the game's action does grow a little tedious over time, since you'll essentially face the same handful of creatures from start to finish, and you'll rarely have to change tactics to deal with them.