Extermination (video game)
North American PlayStation 2 cover art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.|
Extermination（エクスターミネーション）is a survival horror video game for PlayStation 2. Since the title was a first-party game and came out very early in the system's life cycle, it was used as a showcase for the system at trade shows before its release. The game was considered the first survival horror release on the PlayStation 2 and generated some hype amongst critics, but Extermination only received mostly average reviews. Former members of the development team joined Access Games.
Extermination takes place on December 24, 2005, at a top secret American research facility in Antarctica. The game focuses on U.S. Marine Corp's Force Recon member Sergeant Dennis Riley, as part of "Team Red Light". His squad receives a distress call from the aforementioned base named Fort Stewart. The distress call requests an immediate air strike on the base. Instead, Team Red Light is sent in via C-17 to investigate. En route, the plane malfunctions, scattering the team and crashing into the tundra. Their new objective is to regroup at Ground Facility Building B.
Dennis, along with teammate Roger Grigman, arrive outside the fort. The two enter the fort through the ventilation shaft. After discovering that "this place looks like a battlefield," they try to get the drawbridge lowered to continue on to Building B. Upon making their way to the other side, Roger comes under attack by Hydras. He becomes infected and rapidly mutates in front of Dennis. A mysterious woman in a contamination suit enters and fires at Roger, seemingly killing him. She throws Dennis an extra magazine for his rifle, and an MTS vaccine, shouting: "Use it if you don't want to end up like your friend!" Thereafter, she orders him to tell his team to escape the fort.
Dennis crosses the drawbridge and pursues the mysterious woman, who has initiated a lock-down protocol. Eventually, he gets the door open and finally meets the woman face-to-face without her mask. The woman is Cindy Chen, whom Dennis was concerned about when coming to Fort Stewart. She was the girlfriend of Dennis' fallen comrade, Andrew, whom he served with in Cambodia. She has not spoken to Dennis since she received word of the terrible news during that particular tour of duty.
Cindy tells Dennis that the Marines must leave the fort as soon as possible and to "tell your government that their dirty little secret has become a nightmare." Dennis heads toward Building B and is stopped by a journalist named Travis Miller, who reveals in conversation that he's been undercover for five years, then gives Dennis his card. He finds the Water Filtration Plant on his way to Building B and meets Carl Morris, an overseer of the project that started the entire thing. He tells Dennis that "there's something strange about the water, though you can't tell by looking at it." Before he can finish, Carl succumbs to his injuries. Dennis, confused, continues on to Building B.
Once there, Dennis encounters Major Mike Madigan, who briefs Dennis on the situation thus far. He says that the Pentagon's decision is to now destroy the facility. To that end, three detonators need to be activated. Unfortunately, the detonators can only be activated manually. Madigan remarks that he has already dispatched a few members of the team, but they had trouble. The remainder of the team goes to the helicopter outside, where a mutated human is drinking from a water tower. After taking it down, the water inside the tower moves around as though alive, but just when it attacks the team, it freezes in place. Madigan sends Dennis off, alone, to activate the detonators.
Inside Building B, a woman named Sonja Leone tells him that the area holding the detonators can be unlocked from Building B with metal tags. Upon arrival Cindy tells Dennis to leave her alone. Dennis, knowing full well why she is so dismissive, is irritated and tells Cindy: "On that day Andrew sacrificed his life to save mine. Now I've sworn to protect yours, no matter what happens."
Dennis receives a distress call from Taylor, another from his unit. Dennis picks up Taylor's trail, only to find him dead. He acquires the metal tag, and heads to the Level 2 detonator center, which Cindy mentions as having little power and no lighting whatsoever. He has another run-in with Miller, who says that he has all the evidence and information that he needs, and is on his way out. Travis is not seen or heard from for the remainder of the game. Although, in journals scattered throughout the game, it is revealed that others escaped with Travis from Antarctica.
Dennis comes across a wounded Marine, Gary. Giving Dennis a metal tag and later heading on to Building B, Dennis radios the number to Cindy, and he recollects the earlier battle with the humanoid mutant on the water tower and how the water had frozen as it reached out. Cindy foreshadows this as a clue. Dennis continues to the Level 1 detonator center and uncovers documents revealing that this plague is really caused by a bacterium dubbed HO213, and grows rapidly on contact with water. He reads on about how further testing revealed a pivotal weakness; all traces of the bacteria strain are wiped out when the master strain is destroyed. Once the detonator is activated, Dennis radios Cindy who immediately informs him of Sonja's recent disappearance, later found dead.
Dennis and Cindy deduce that the bacterium is susceptible to cold. The cold itself will not actually destroy it, rather preserve it in a state of cryogenic suspension. However, if the master strain (Origin) were to be destroyed, the strain would die out on its own. Cindy checks her computer and tells Dennis that the HO213 requires a certain temperature in order to be incubated. The infested water heading towards the coolant is where Major Madigan and his team is heading. Their goal was to sabotage the coolant reactor, letting H0213 freeze out to temporarily buy time. Dennis rushes to his team's aid.
On the way, Dennis comes across an injured Filel (The game had the character's name spelled and pronounced Filel at first, and then it was changed to Felil mid-game), who dies from a gunshot wound, but not before telling Dennis that Madigan had shot him. Dennis climbs a small mountain and meets up with Madigan, who orders Dennis to retrieve an explosive device made by Gary that's in the downed C-17. Dennis obtains the explosive and receives a communique from Madigan, instructing him to regroup. Seconds later, a scream is heard.
Dennis takes the elevator to Madigan's position, and he is shocked to find Roger, now hideously mutated into a superior fighting machine. Dennis engages Roger in a knockdown drag-out fight and emerges victorious. He comes across a gravely injured Madigan, who tells him that Felil was a CIA agent and the only person who was supposed to come back alive. Madigan reveals that he knew about the bacteria the entire time, and was given a secret objective by the government to destroy it. Other factions in the government, such as the CIA, ordered Felil to preserve the bacteria. Madigan takes on the suicidal task of delivering the explosive to the coolant reactor, but not before leaving Dennis the new leader of Team Red Light.
Meanwhile, back in Building B, Gary tells Cindy that he was there when Andrew had died. "The fighting was so fierce that Dennis couldn't even bring back his body." Cindy confesses that when Dennis had informed her, she said things to Dennis she later came to regret. However, each time she had seen Dennis, she could not bring herself to apologize. Cindy and Gary agree that they are relying on Dennis to help them come out of this alive, and resolve to support him.
Dennis arrives in Building B and hands Cindy the disk given to him by Madigan. Cindy deciphers it where upon she learns that project "Extermination" is a test of H0213's potential. This entails that everybody in the facility, including the Marines, are "guinea pigs" to the experiment, both to test infection against civilians and fighting capabilities when engaging the Marines. Dennis heads towards the last detonator, and is stopped at gunpoint by Dr. Yan Falken, the scientist who is obsessed with the bacteria, calling it his son. In a masterstroke of mercy, the room quakes and debris falls down, fatally striking Falken. Dennis activates the last detonator and hurries back to Cindy & Gary.
The facility explodes, and the master DNA strain named Origin takes the form of a gigantic aquatic creature and chases the LCAC holding the trio. Dennis mans the machine guns on the vessel and takes down Origin's fish form. It changes form into a gigantic beast and another battle commences on the LCAC, with Dennis inevitably becoming the victor. The Origin then takes one last stand and creates a doppelganger of the Marine who caused the strain so much trouble. Dennis triumphs over the odds, ensuring the destruction of the master DNA strand and silencing the threat of the HO213 once and for all.
After a brief conversation over the victory, Cindy apologizes to Dennis about the things she said to him. Dennis assures her that it's alright, as he also hated himself for never being able to help her. He continues to say: "So from now on if you ever need anything from me, you let me know and I'll be there. This time, I promise..."
Extermination is a survival horror game, and as such players are encouraged to run whenever they can. This idea is reinforced by the fact that ammunition is limited for the main character's weapons (unlimited ammo refills are located in very few places), and enemies typically take a lot of damage before being defeated. Another element of survival horror that holds true is that special ammo for special weapons (such as the shotgun, flamethrower, grenade launcher, and the rocket launcher) is limited from the get-go. The game only has so much ammo. Once the player finds them all and uses them all up, there's no more to be found.
The game also features an Infection System. Along with a conventional health bar, there is also an "Infection Rate". Enemies in the game have the potential to both deal damage to Dennis' health and raise his Infection Rate. When the rate reaches 100%, Dennis becomes completely infected by the virus, and his maximum health is not only reduced to 60%, but also constantly depletes. Additionally, things that would usually not harm Dennis (i.e. infected puddles) or would only infect him now take damage. This can be fought back using a special machine called the MTS Bed located in certain areas of the game which cures the infection and restores his health to full, but this also requires an MTS vaccine, a limited item. If Dennis' health reaches zero when infected, he will mutate into a creature and die, the results of which are game over.
In the beginning, Dennis is equipped with a Special Purpose Rifle, or "SPR-4" assault rifle, a weapon traditionally given to the armed forces in the game's setting. This weapon is highly customizable and can be fitted with gadgets such as a zoom scope, flashlight grip, radar, and parts which convert it to different types of weapons such as a flame thrower, shotgun, or rocket launcher. Dennis also has a Combat Knife and can do either a single strong slash or multiple weak slashes. Another unique factor in Extermination's gameplay is the "Battery Pack". Found near the beginning of the game, Dennis uses this rechargeable battery to activate various machinery, and execute functions common to most video games such as saving the game. The battery pack can be upgraded to hold more power by collecting cells found in various locations around the Fort.
Extermination received a generally average to positive reception from critics. Reviewers from both GameSpot and IGN praised the game for offering some originality to the genre, making some minor improvements over similar gameplay found in Resident Evil, the soundtrack and suitable graphics. However, they criticized the sometimes awkward, straightforward gameplay and voice acting, and how the game did not really offer anything that could top other survival horror releases. These publications rated the game 7.1 and 6.9 out of 10 respectively. In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the game a 31 out of 40.
Influences and design
Reviewers noted that the storyline and setting were reminiscent of John Carpenter's 1982 science fiction horror film The Thing, while some noted resemblances between Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for the film and the music present in Extermination. Other comparisons included Carrier, Resident Evil, and the water effects similar to those from the film The Abyss.
- IGN Extermination Review
- http://ps2.ign.com/articles/164/164249p1.html IGN: Extermination Review. Created July 27, 2001. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
- http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/adventure/extermination/review.html GameSpot: Extermination Review. Created July 26, 2001. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
- プレイステーション2 - EXTERMINATION (エクスターミネーション). Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.87. 30 June 2006.
- http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages4/197258.asp Game Rankings: Extermination - Average Ratio. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
- http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-2/extermination Metacritic: Extermination. Retrieved December 21, 2007.