Konami are brave souls for picking up the publishing duties for this one. See, Silent Hill is considered to be the pinnacle of survival horror, so any dark and dank third-person adventure game in which the main character uses a flashlight usually gets compared to it. Why release something that is bound to be considered inferior to a product that already exists? Probably because the SAW series is absurdly popular.
The premise is pleasingly simple – Detective Tapp wakes up in an abandoned mental asylum with a key sewn into his chest. This key happens to be for the exit, and so everybody else that has been brought into the asylum to play Jigsawâ€™s twisted game is after Tapp. From start to finish Jigsaw sets various tasks and puzzles while the asylum itself is rigged with traps. Itâ€™s not a particularly scary game, just a bit grim at times. Like having to put your hand in a toilet bowl full of used syringes and grab a key before the pain becomes too much.
As soon as the second level Tapp has a shotgun collar put around his neck – come into contact with anybody else wearing one and itâ€™ll detonate. Enemies usually go down with three or four punches so theyâ€™re not exactly anything to fear. In some sections guns are available but fortunately they donâ€™t turn the game into a mindless shooter as ammo is limited to whatâ€™s inside the gun when you find it. You can also set up your own traps by using shotgun shells, paint thinner and other objects. A definite highpoint is the battle against Pig Head, who is too strong to take down with melee weapons, instead requiring some clever trap placement to kill.
A lot of the puzzles are repeated, but theyâ€™re quite satisfying to solve so it isnâ€™t a massive problem. Theyâ€™re things like arranging gears of different sizes so that they all spin, matching up symbols, pushing giant blocks (well, frozen pigs to be precise) to clear a path and placing fuses in electrical panels. At the end of each level thereâ€™s always an elaborate puzzle to finish in order to save somebodyâ€™s life. These are often against the clock which can make them surprisingly tense. I did have to mute the volume though a couple of times – having somebody yell â€œfucking hurry!â€ every ten seconds doesnâ€™t really help when youâ€™re trying to concentrate.
Funnily enough this sums up SAW to a tee – it frustrates and entertains in equal measures. I found myself playing it through to the end because I wanted to see if Tapp ever manages to catch Jigsaw, but it was mostly done through gritted teeth. Tapp is barefoot (why he never takes the shoes off the numerous dead bodies littering the asylum is a mystery) and some corridors are scattered with broken glass which will drain health. The problem is that itâ€™s really hard to see the glass, and even more so when low on health as the screen starts turning black and white. Accidentally walking through a tripwires and being killed instantly is similarity annoying.
Receiving this for Christmas wouldnâ€™t be the end of the world – it is at least possible to get all 1000 Gamerpoints on your first play through – although with only 7 hours play time and no replay value youâ€™d have to be a pretty big SAW fan to feel as if youâ€™ve got your monies worth out of it.
I might as well spoil the ending for those that don’t want to play though it:
On the last level you have a choice of two doors to go through – Truth or Freedom.
Take Freedom and you see a cut-scene of Tapp in his flat, looking at newspaper cuttings and still trying to find out who jigsaw is. He puts a gun to his head and then the credits roll.
Take Truth and you have to fight a couple more enemies and get through a maze, chasing jigsaw. When you catch up with him but it turns out to be a decoy – it’s a women that holds a grudge against Tapp who you freed earlier. She legs it and runs straight into a trap and dies, and then Jigsaw’s little puppet starts laughing.
You get 100 Gamerpoints for each ending. I just reloaded my save for the final level and got them both.
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