The psychological horror game Remothered: Tormented Fathers began as a fanmade attempt by developer Darril Arts to remake the classic game Clock Tower. With that in mind, what it became definitely takes players back to the survival horror style of gameplay found in games like Resident Evil. With a creepy setting, a nearly defenseless protagonist, and danger lurking around every corner, fans of class old-school survival horror games will definitely appreciate the challenge of Remothered: Tormented Fathers, but those who are not as enamored by the genre will probably lack the patience the game requires.
Obsessed with uncovering the disappearance of a young girl named Celeste, players are put into the shoes of Rosemary Reed. With a face and voice that resemble Jodie Foster from Silence of the Lambs, Rosemary sneaks her way back into the mansion of Celeste’s father, Dr. Richard Felton, after being thrown out when the mysteriously ill old man and his nurse Gloria discover her true intentions. The real nightmare begins once she tries to find her way to the bedroom of Dr. Felton’s wife and starts to unravel a web of terrible horrors and secrets. As Rosemary, you begin to fill in the blanks thanks to old notes, pictures, and other clues hidden around the mansion in a game structured much like a horror movie complete with jump scares.
The gameplay of Remothered: Tormented Fathers is definitely challenging, especially to those who are not used to being helpless in survival horror games. As Rosemary creeps around the mansion, she must hide from her deranged enemies that stalk about its halls. She can creep around and hide in closets and under sofas, where remaining calm is of the utmost importance, but she will be heard if she decides to run at all. The AI in the game is extremely sensitive to both sound and light, so even though Rosemary has a flashlight that can be used to search the house while making several trips between the multiple levels of the mansion to look for plungers, film reels, and clock keys, it’s probably best to leave it off. However, if you need to distract a stalker, then you can set off items like clocks around the house or throw one of the three breakable distraction items in your inventory, but you’d better have a place to hide.
Dr. Felton is one such stalker from my nightmares who stomps around in black rubber boots, holds a sickle, and is completely naked under a black apron. His footsteps and nonsensical muttering alert you to his presence, but it will sound as if he is right next to you even if he is a floor above, making it confusing sometimes where to place him. In addition, when hiding, Rosemary breathes very heavily from fear, which is fine and realistic, but she also mutters, “I can’t take this” and “I need to get out of here” about every five seconds making it very distracting and hard to hear where attackers may be, especially because you are literally in danger everywhere you go as there are hardly any “safe” areas in the game. Adding to the game’s difficulty is the fact that it will tell you what you need to do, like opening a grate in the basement, but it won’t tell you what objects you will need or where to find them.
In addition to the three breakable distraction items, you can only carry one defense item with you at a time. If you get caught by an attacker like Dr. Felton, or an equally unsettling sword-wielding Red Nun, you can try to escape by stabbing them with your defense item. It won’t kill them, and they won’t be stopped for long, so you will need to find shelter in another room and pick up another defense item.
If Rosemary gets injured too many times, she will become covered in blood and begin limping very slowly until she is killed or healed. The only way to revive her is to find one of the few mirrors with metronomes placed in front of them. Frustratingly, these are the also the only places to save in the game as there is no other way to manually save, and there are no checkpoints either. You will start over from your previous save even after an important cutscene has taken place.
Speaking of cutscenes, the game’s graphics leave a bit to be desired. The mansion itself is very eerie and perfectly designed for the tone of the game, and its use of darkness is done very well, but the movements of the characters are incredibly stiff and awkward. Rosemary’s running looks incredibly silly, and it’s uncomfortably slow when one of the stalkers gets their hands on her. It’s especially awkward looking when she is stabbed in the face.
The dialogue in the game can also be very stilted, even though it has a couple of talented voice actors, but its music is one of its strengths. As the game runs like a film, the music is very cinematic. Composed by Nobuko Toda, responsible for Metal Gear Solid and Halo, it definitely enhances the moments when caught and ramps up the tension during the cinematic cutscenes and when trying to escape from attackers.
The game overall may take between five and seven hours, but Remothered: Tormented Fathers is intended to be the start of a trilogy, and I hope that the next few games answer some lingering question. The ending is a bit rushed and leaves some loose ends, and for its sequel, I would like to get to know more as to why Rosemary became so obsessed with Celeste and her family. Her reasons are hinted at towards the end of the game, but I do understand why they were left out for this first part of the trilogy.
While some of its bugs and awkward graphics take away from the game as a whole, Remothered: Tormented Fathers is an homage to classic old-school survival horror games that fans of the genre will definitely appreciate.