By Parabole 2 Comments
A cramped crawl through a dark tunnel is not the intriguing highlight of a great game. Taking over a character in a videogame unleashes the players ability to traverse jungles and navigate the tight corridors of First Person Shooters. It's never a sign of relief when on occasion, the player has to crouch down and slowly make their way through a constricted vent instead of what could have easily been another door. In these segments the player deals with restricted movements, poor visibility and lack of tension because the action takes place outside of the sardine can. The games on this list are a few exceptions to this rule and can make vents an exciting part of the game play and story.
Silent Hill 4: The Room
Silent Hill can be interpreted as a hell where people with checkered past deal with their sins by physically confronting them or a town where cultish rituals took place and a demonic presence has taken over, luring in certain individuals for its evil intentions. Either way had these decisions be based on real life, the cast of Silent Hill have made some of the dumbest decisions ever. No matter how important the item might be sticking your hand into a dirty toilet deserves rethinking.
The character of Henry is confused. He's trapped in his apartment with no way out and no one can hear him when he calls out to them as they pass his peephole. When a hole appears in his bathroom it seems like a weird but useful way out. It seems like a bad decision when he enters the mysterious hole, but it only gets worse when it looks like you're crawling out of a well from Ju-on.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
One of the allure's of Batman is that he can vanish no matter where he is. Who would imagine that the burly caped crusader would shrink himself down to fit into a tiny ventilation shaft? For some reason the ventilation system in Arkham Asylum are big enough for batman to crouch in. They are also big enough to lose a small child or a really big dog. But seriously who brings pets and kids to a criminal mental institution.
As exciting as it is to see Batman sneak through vents, pop out and knock out a inmate - it is way more fun to see Batman grapple with a grate. When he's being sneaky, his exiting and entering animation really show his care not to make a noise and set the grate aside. But when there's no one around, Batman's true feelings for grates come out. He RIPS them off the hinges with his bare hands and kicks them right the fuck out.
Among Spider-Man's abilities of super strength, Spider Sense, and web swinging - I forgot that he is really good at being sneaky. Besides looking cool when sticking to walls, he uses his power of sticking to climb buildings and enter from unexpected places. And he also does his iconic hanging upside down when trying to survey a room.
The first level of this game, Spiderman is crawling through the ventilation system and exits out of the banks ceiling. Nobody sees him and he's pouncing on foes with ease. It may not be much of a detail but it does show how good at stealth he is. The real excitement comes from the end of the game where Dr. Octopus is fused with a symbiote, becoming Monster Ock and chases Spiderman. The last level takes place in a giant exhaust vent and Spiderman has to swing, zip line and run because the space is so small.
Aliens vs. Predator (The Alien)
As the scariest creature in the Aliens movies, its lack of presence on-board the Nostromo creates the most scary and tense atmosphere in the movie. The scariest moment in Alien is when the crew is watching a blip close in on their friend as he crawls through a vent. He is in a tight, dark vent and starts panicking until his flamethrower cast a light on an attacking Alien. In this game you play the Alien.
The vents become another avenue for the Alien as he slides along the walls and has perfect vision without the need of a flashlight. The power and stealth that come with being a Xenomorph are at your disposal and that means crawling on walls and slithering through vents onto unsuspecting victims. Vent starts at 2:35.
I didn't want to add First Person Shooters because there's almost no need to crouch. Crouching equates to "There's only one way through and that is to trudge under that gate or through that vent." Going through vents is slow and boring. That is why Mirror's Edge vent's are unique because Mirror's Edge is unlike most FPS.
Not only can Faith go throughout the whole game without shooting, every action is so immersive, you actually have to look away if you miss a jump. Her experiences are dependent on her arm and leg placements. If you jump to a ledge and you're feet aren't in front of you, you're either going to grab ledge or air.
As the protagonist, Faith, runs and jumps over beams and scaffolds, the vents are no less fun. With a continuous sprint Faith is able to slide into or jump like a cat into a vent if its above her. Considering these vents are in a skyscraper, its fortunate Faith is energetic to jump up to a section of vent or fall onto a lower path without breaking her legs. Vent starts at 5:25
Metal Gear Solid: Tactical Stealth Espionage
The infiltration of Shadow Moses can best be summed up as the most cinematic vents in gaming. As Solid Snake emerges at the front of the Helipad and Liquid flies away, Snake and Colonel Cambell discuss the best way to enter the compound is through the vents! Before Snake even reaches the DARPA Chief and does a cool drop, he comes across so many things. On the bottom vent snake see's rats with little Exclamation marks on their heads. He has to hold his breath as he submerges into a part of the vent that’s under water. On the Top vent Snake is hasn't even been halfway through when someone calls him. He's in a tight area in enemy territory and talks with "McDonald Miller" where his conversation probably echoed for anybody to hear.
Right after you talk with Liqui…I mean, Miller, there is a cutscene of soldiers filling in Snake on where the DARPA Chief is and other base events. And this isn't the only cutscene you get while lying in a vent. When Snake is in the detention level and climbs into a vent, if he takes the first left and looks down the grate, he'll see Diarrhea Johnny on the toilet talking about the new girl. Right before the DARPA room, Snake encounters a female soldier doing exercises. If you enter the vent each time, she'll be doing a new exercise and the next three times she'll be in…her…underwear!
The crawling sections are interesting to see with the sound of Snake shuffling his knees and elbows along the metal tube. Being able to see far ahead of you to see rises and falls in the shaft and seeing the rooms your passing through the grates.
There are a lot of exciting moments that happen in the Playstation debut of Metal Gear Solid (ex: Fighting a gigantic robot!), but the opening section really showcased being a soldier hiding from guards and taking the slowest inconspicuous route. The fact that it's chock full of memorable moments makes a boring game segment into an exciting one.
Special Consideration - Dead Space: Extraction
Extraction is a FPS and considering I wanted to avoid games like these, there is a long level set in a vent. And this is a Dead Space title, so there is tons of slow crawls with aliens popping out of nowhere.