Rivalling N++ for the crown of worst video game title of all time comes Injection π23 ‘No Name, No Number’, a survival-horror game that pulls no punches with its painstakingly difficult puzzles and terrifying soundtrack in an homage to the Silent Hills and Resident Evils of old.
Set in Malaga, the unnamed protagonist has his dog stolen from him, tipping him over the edge and forcing him to leave the relative comfort of his home – into a zombie apocalypse. Unfortunate, I’m sure you’ll agree.
In typical survival-horror fashion, you’ll need to find items, unlock doors and solve puzzles to find your way through to your goal. Simple enough, you’d think, if it wasn’t for the fact that these required items can’t be clearly seen in the environment, meaning that you find yourself running along the walls of the room hitting ‘X’ in attempt to find something – anything – to get you into that locked room. Not exactly my idea of fun.
Some conventions have changed for the better in video games over the years, like a game’s ability to save automatically for one, but Injection shuns that for save points with a twist – a puzzle that needs solving. Puzzling by modern standards, this counterproductive ‘feature’ is incredibly frustrating, especially considering the challenge the game’s puzzles already provide. It’s almost like you’re being nostalgically trolled.
Perhaps the game’s biggest flaw is its failing to provide anything of substance to entice the player to continue beyond the first chapter of the game, making me wonder how many people gave up on it within the first few hours. Injection’s slow start does improve as you begin to pick up your weapons, but even then you are restricted to just a few enemy types and very few bosses to speak of throughout the entire game.
If that wasn’t reason enough to get you to dig out and dust off your PS1 and play the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill, the graphics and animation of Injection’s enemies are PS2 standard, which makes it hard to feel afraid of them as they hover about rather than provide any jumpy movement or suspense by appearing out of nowhere. They can attack you through walls and doors and disappear for no good reason though, which is impressive I guess.
So little excitement does this game inspire that it’s quite difficult to know where to begin when describing areas in need of improvement, but its generic cutscene-driven story is exempt, getting a free pass for it’s genre-standard plot, until its cutscenes revoke it, looking like a VHS cassette tape has been put through a blender. Notes littered around the levels that might have added to the story are mostly in English, but are occasionally in Spanish, without any English subtitles, which also doesn’t help the conveyance of the story. Above all though, it’s the lack of any real communication between characters, or even with yourself, that makes the game feel one-dimensional – you don’t even get to see your dog until the end! Who’d have guessed the zombie game would be lacking life.
Attempting to offer respite from the mediocrity surrounding it, the game’s decent features exist through its puzzles, which vary from lock picking, code-breaking to item crafting; the detailed, but relatively empty environments, and the effective soundtrack which mostly consists of monsters moaning. Wroooaahhh.
Despite all its failings, it’s clear that a lot of love and care has been put into this project by its one-man developer, with plenty of collectables and extra features available, but with it not being cheesy enough to pull off ‘so bad, it’s good’, Injection exists only as a hardcore fan’s guilty pleasure, with its below-average production values and lack of variety creating a functional but dull game.