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Gregory Horror Show (PlayStation 2) artwork

Gregory Horror Show (PlayStation 2) review


"It's not easy, being Death. As if having the voice of a 1980s throwback gameshow host - or constantly wearing your nation's flag atop your head (Swedish, naturally) - wasn't bad enough, there's also the small matter of collecting lost souls to contend with. Rather than going out there and doing the dirty work himself, The Grim Reaper's only option is to employ the services of a single being, trapped amongst the peculiar cubic guests in the hotel from Hell. "



It's not easy, being Death. As if having the voice of a 1980s throwback gameshow host - or constantly wearing your nation's flag atop your head (Swedish, naturally) - wasn't bad enough, there's also the small matter of collecting lost souls to contend with. Rather than going out there and doing the dirty work himself, The Grim Reaper's only option is to employ the services of a single being, trapped amongst the peculiar cubic guests in the hotel from Hell.

Unfortunately, that hapless being is you. The alternative? Remain trapped in Hotel Insane forever.

Naturally, your task doesn't merely extend to an extra-morbid game of hide & seek. These "lost" souls turn out to be more than lost - they've been stolen by the occupants of the hotel, and are being guarded closely. Every resident has a weakness though, and it's up to you to discover each one, and take advantage of it, in order to steal the souls back. Each puzzle-esque scenario is developed to be pretty damn tricky. Although there are only twelve souls you'll need to steal in all, there's plenty of play time here from trying to discover these weaknesses alone. Once you do find them, and successfully exploit them, it's simply a case of run like hell until you reach the sanctity of your own hotel room. Beware though - once you've taken each soul back, if that guest should spot you again, you'll need to get away - fast.

You'll probably have gathered by now that nothing about Gregory Horror Show makes sense. It's not really meant to. From the cartoon animals who you'll be running away from, to the creepy-ass way you need to stalk each guest before they start stalking you, this entire game feels like a very conscious parody of itself. The melodramatic sound effects, freakishly bizarre animation style (think: Tom & Jerry on acid) and constant knowing criticism of its own plot all contribute to this. Just when you think you're starting to figure it out, BAM! You're thrust into yet another flight of whimsy. And what makes this game truly special is the extraordinary level of detail involved here.

These little touches are none more apparent than when you've been spotted by a guest who wants his or her soul back. When this happens, you'd better run at breakneck speed, or else you'll be "treated" to an extra special surprise. These are referred to as "horror shows" in-game, and they're not pretty. They'll also take away a huge chunk of your sanity meter (this title's equivalent of a health points system). It's almost comical to note that your sanity meter doesn't go down at all whilst being chased by, among others, a large pink lizard in a nurse uniform with a syringe the size of your head. Once she catches you though, you're history. If she fails to get hold of you, you're fine and dandy in no time.

Gregory Horror Show is one of those quirky, off-the-chart insane titles that no-one really understands. Every single aspect of the game works exactly as it's intended to, and the originality of the parody-horror concept is hilariously well-done. If only all games were like this - the world would be a much funnier place. Now, if I can just dream of Stockholm, everything will be OK again and I'll be back in the real world...


Rating: 9/10

lisanne's avatar
Community review by lisanne (August 15, 2007)

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zippdementia posted March 08, 2009:

Ah, dammit! A rare PAL only game that I actually want to play!
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threetimes posted March 08, 2009:

She made me buy it based on that review, but I didn't get very far with the game, though it's as weird as she says.

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