Inspired by classic 70’s zombie films, Night at the Gates of Hell is a thrilling first person horror game with an immersive story. From the same creator as Bloodwash and published by Puppet Combo’s Torture Star Video comes a new style of zombie horror. Taking place over multiple chapters, we witness the gates of hell opening to release the zombie hordes. Each level feels like it’s own sort of horror game. Starting off by being the first victim, then playing the character who must escape and undo it all.
We make our way through infested buildings, taking a boat through a murky green contaminated lake, and then end up in a final stand. There’s shooting up zombies, ammo scavenging, and many gruesome scenes.
Meeting the Survivors
You meet many interesting characters along the way, complete with quality voice acting! All of the character and zombie models are made in a grotesque, sloppy, but intended, terrifying design. You might have someone with a normal looking face, then something that was truly made for a horror film inspired game. Seeing all of the different faces was it’s own experience. The main characters have a lot of unique personality and fulfilling backstory.
The Captain turns out to be just a cabin boy who lied to everyone, he had his reasons though. I can sympathize with him and understand, since he just wanted to give people hope. Charles is a weird, savage little child who’s very protective of his mother Belinda. The most hilarious one of them all too. He does so many unexpected things, especially at the end… You’ll see what I mean. Then there’s Stan and Skeeter, two reliable allies who would follow you into hell for your efforts in helping everyone. You might recognize Stan from Bloodwash, the man who sadly led Sara to her doom.
Haunted PS1, VHS, and 70’s Style Horror Game Aesthetics
You also have the option to choose between which graphics you want. You can turn off the VHS filter, and can pick between PSX and several other styles like the 70’s filter. All of them look pretty good to me, I always enjoy retro style horror games that use graphics like this. You can also play the game plainly with minimal filters. Weirdly, after playing for over an hour it turned my own vision into a sort of CRT filter! Make sure to take a few breaks.
The creator Jordan King was inspired by Italian zombie flicks from Lucio Fulci and Bruno Mattei. He was also inspired by Resident Evil, and wanted to make the games feel like an earlier styled RE.
The zombies where meant to be slow and menacing, with deliberate combat situations. While not in third person, much of this style is perfectly shown. Especially in the apartment where you get your first feel of the game. Even the inventory screen has some Resident Evil vibes!
Night at the Gates of Hell Closing Thoughts
If you’re looking for a zombie horror game with a good story, characters, and simple FPS elements, then this is it. While the game has a perfect aesthetic and great humor, there are a few flaws that prevent me from giving it a 10.
The weapons are a bit clunky, though they were sort of meant to be that way. They’re just a bit too slow to aim and fire. That would be okay, but on top of that it’s also inaccurate. After firing, the revolver is all over the place and my bullet doesn’t seem to hit where I aimed. It feels sort of like I’m playing Fallout 3 or New Vegas at those times. Again the accuracy would be understandable, but the yanking and jittering of the gun made me think something was flawed or glitched in the design.
Besides that, I do think there were a bit too many jump scares. Not every zombie encounter has to be one. Plus on the first level, it sounds like there’s constant jump scare sounds for zombies right up to your ear, but there’s actually none nearby. They don’t sound like ambient zombie noises, those would be welcome of course. If it was a bit more distant and quieter then that would fit in perfectly. Instead it comes off as yet another jump scare.
The extra’s were a great addition! After beating the game you unlock two side games. The Booty Creek Cheek Freak, where an urban legend monster hunts for your cheeks. It’s a straight up non-sensible, extra, humorous story. You might recognize the voice of YouTuber Jay from the Kubz Scouts who has a voice over role in it too! Then there’s Evil in the House of Dr. Fleshenstein, another game where you fight zombie horde’s in waves. Most players will think of Nazi zombies when they start this one! You pay to open doors, buy ammo, and the shotgun.
Should I Buy?
My review is sort of mixed, but Night at the Gates of Hell also has a 9/10 rating on Steam. It’s one of the best retro style zombie horror games available. At the time of this review, the game is 10% off for the early buyer promo coming in at a $10.79 total. The game is around 2.5-3 hours long, so that’s a bit expensive for a short horror game. The full price is actually $12.00 too. Considering the development and effort though, I can see the reasoning for the price. Plus there’s the extra’s that were included. Check out some more reviews and gameplay videos and see for yourself. Final rating is an 8/10.
Night at the Gates of Hell gameplay video