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  Mechanic #155 - Scary Movie
Posted: 10/05/12

Create Rube Goldberg-style traps to lure teenagers to their doom.

  Scary Movie



Fig 155.1 - Killin' Some Showering Girls.


This is a game in which you create Rube Goldberg machine-like sequences of events in order to scare, and eventually horribly mutilate teenagers (in classic slasher film style). You don't play the slasher exactly. You are more like a director, planning out where the cat jumps out to scare the girl before the slasher stabs her in the face.

The best way to think of this is a puzzle game, similar to The Incredible Machine. Each level involves setting up traps and other triggers that will manipulate one or more stupid teenagers into being alone, scared, and vulnerable. Then, you pull out your psycho-killer and perform some impromptu brain surgery with a chainsaw.

Each puzzle is broken into two basic stages. In the first stage, you build up the sequence of traps that will manipulate your teenagers into being scared enough for your killer to appear. After your killer is out, you control him directly as you hunt down and eventually kill your prey.


Teenagers have two basic stats that are constantly at war: FEAR and CURIOSITY. While you need to increase FEAR before you can pull out your killer, if you increase FEAR too suddenly, the teenager will get scared and run away back to the safety of his or her friends. Game Over. Try again.

Where this scared point resides on the FEAR meter is dependent on the teenager's CURIOSITY. In other words, if the teenager is more curious than he is afraid, he will keep going. If they ever get more afraid, they will flee. The trick is similar to boiling a lobster. Increase the fear slowly, maintaining a high curiosity while luring them out into the woods by themselves.

Once the FEAR has hit a certain level, the teenager hits Panic Mode. It is while they are in Panic Mode that you can pull out your psycho-killer. During this mode, the teenager runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, tripping over his own feet and generally screaming like an idiot. You can kill them quickly and end it, or you can increase your score by scaring them even more. Once in Panic Mode, you've got them unless they can fight back or get away. So use additional traps to increase their fear even more before murdering them!




Fig 155.2 - Surveying the Field.


During the trapping phase, you do not control your killer. Instead, you get a birds eye view of the game field and the various teenagers going about their business within it. When levels have more than one teenager on them, only one of them is designated as the Final Girl, which must be killed last after reaching Panic Mode. All the other teenagers are auxiliary, and may be killed with instant murder traps at much lower levels of FEAR.

Before you can move to the hunting phase, you must do two things. The first is that your teenager must be alone and away from the group. The second is that their FEAR level must be of a certain level. Once these two criteria have been met, you move to hunting.



Fig 155.3 - Hark! Is That Beer I See?

Traps come in various shapes and sizes, so the first type I'll talk about are lures. These traps basically move teenagers around. They come in various types. The simplest type is a "vice" trap. It is something like a dirty magazine, a pack of cigarettes, or a beer. This works best on males, obviously, so it can be used to split a male off and away from a group of girls. When they see a vice, they'll walk over to it and use it. Each vice has a side effect. Dirty magazines increases the lust level of the teenager (increasing the chance they will run off into the woods and have sex). Cigarettes slow teenagers down when they are running. And alcohol makes it more difficult for them to be afraid.



Fig 155.4 - Luring Away a Teenager.

Similar to a vice trap is a lure trap. It is a series of bread crumbs, so to speak, used to manipulate a teenager to follow are more specific trap. These are made up of a series of similar objects, like dirty playing cards or a path strewn with discarded female clothes. Lure traps will increase CURIOSITY without increasing FEAR.



Fig 155.5 - Did You Hear That?

Next up is the Bump Trap. It basically makes a bump in the night that increases both CURIOSITY and FEAR. There are different types of non-determinate noises to choose from, allowing you to decide how curious or how fearsome the noise is. A woman's scream, for example, will increase FEAR considerably, while a snapping twig would cause CURIOSITY to increase slightly with minimal FEAR increase.



Fig 155.6 - Aw, It's Just a Kitty...

Once you have the FEAR level up pretty high, it's time to go for a big finish. The False Alarm Trap is basically the cat that jumps out of the locker. It gives you a big scare and then you laugh about it - right before the axe comes down. In gameplay terms, a False Alarm trap will drop a teenager's FEAR to zero. However, if you can follow it up with another trap within 10 seconds, the FEAR increase will be doubled.



Fig 155.7 - Yup. You're Boned.

Finally, you know you are reaching the Panic Mode threshold, or have already surpassed it, and you just want to scare the crap out of a teenager. Throw down a horror trap or two and watch their fear skyrocket. You gain horror traps by killing auxiliary teenagers using instant murder traps.

Ultimately, the goal is to string these traps into a sequence of events that will scare the teenager into Panic Mode. You can lay traps down at any time, but you are best rewarded when you get a string of events to fire off within a short time period. Create the ultimate trap sequence.




Fig 155.8 - It's Murder Time.

Your teenager has hit Panic Mode, all that's left is to scare them some more and then kill them. During the trap-laying phase, you also had an opportunity to place spawn points for your psycho. Once in Panic Mode, you can spawn your psycho at any placed spawn point that is not within eye sight of the teenager (no obvious teleporting, only appearing suddenly from behind a tree). Spawning takes a few seconds.

Unfortunately for you, your psycho walks while the teenager is speeding around the board. If the teenager sees you, he will run off in the other direction (with increased FEAR to boot). In order to catch a teenager, you can place traps around the board to herd them to a specific location (nothing like a few dismembered bodies at the exit to keep them from leaving the house). Or you can despawn your psycho and have him appear somewhere else. Again, this takes a little bit of time, but the satisfaction of popping up around the corner where they were fleeing is what all psychopaths live for.

At the end of the level, you are rewarded based on the number of successful traps used and the ultimate fear level of the dead teenager. This will yield additional traps and weapons for your psycho to use in the sequel (level 2).



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.