If you’re a gamer living in the Las Vegas area, chances are you’ve come across this individual at one of the local “cons” in town. Of course, he’s hard to recognize beneath the mask that tops off his Mr. Death, aka HUNK, cosplay from the “Resident Evil” series, but you’ll undoubtedly know him the next time you see him.
To the PlayStation Network, he’s known as XxDark_MantisxX, but to the outside world, he’s known as a man with a penchant for realistic cosplay. At the LVL UP Expo that took place back in February of this year, I had the opportunity to snap off a few pictures of this photogenic gamer, and it was then that I realized that he would be perfect for a slot as a Gamer of Aprilween.
The Gamer’s Ghost: What is your favorite aspect when it comes to horror titles?
Dark Mantis: The lack of proper lighting which gives the feel that something is nearby, it’s unknown as to what exactly, but gets you when you least expect it.
TGG: What current generation horror titles rank amongst your favorites?
DM: The “Resident Evil (series)”, known as “Biohazard” in Japan.
TGG: How about of the past generation?
DM: “Silent Hill: (the previous titles, nothing after “Silent Hill: Homecoming”)
TGG: When partaking in horror gaming, what is your preference, playing alone or with someone?
DM: Playing alone… in the dark.
TGG: What was the first horror title you were into?
DM: “Resident Evil 3: Nemesis”, the first game that got me back into the franchise.
TGG: What is the scariest moment you’ve experienced in gaming?
DM: If there’s one that gets me every time, it’s the grizzly bear that chases you within the cabin in”Condemned 2: Bloodshot”. The size is massive.
TGG: We know that one of the biggest aspects of most horror games are the creatures. What would you consider to be the top 5 creature designs from the current generation? What makes them so effective?
DM: First, the Tyrant (big claw version) from “Resident Evil”. It is fast, the claw is what makes it overpowering. When at a distance, it can charge right into a victim thrusting the claws for massive damage. Then I’d have to say Nemesis from “Resident Evil 3”. He gains speed and tosses his victims around, leaving them injured to the point where they can’t get up and go for the kill. Third would be Cerberus, also from “Resident Evil”. The T-virus infected Doberman dogs that aren’t a hassle when it’s just one, but can be deadly when there’s more than one. Their speed and constant moving makes them difficult to take out. Forth is Boogeyman, aka Pyramid Head from “Silent Hill 2”. Powerful with the buster sword he drags, but lacks in speed, leaving the rest of his body wide open for an attack. Finally, the Reaper-Cockroach BOW from “Resident Evil 5”. I always had a hard time taking those things out unless they show their weak spots, they’re just juggernauts able to withstand any bullet, except for an RPG. When up close, they are likely to do an instant kill.
TGG: When playing a Survival Horror title, what do you find yourself more engrossed in – Gameplay, Atmosphere, or Story? Why does that stand out over the other 2?
DM: I’d have to side with story. When going further into a game, it helps to explain why things of that nature are happening and also getting to know the characters and what their intentions are.
TGG: With titles like “Resident Evil 6” and “Dead Space 3”, there’s no doubt that the Survival Horror genre is slowly morphing into Action Horror. What’s your take on this? Are you for or against the change?
DM: I have no issue with the changes; I just see it as a way of changing up our standards. Game companies strive to keep in touch with the veteran fans by continuing the franchises they’re known for, but add changes to not only appeal to veterans, but to reach out to newer audiences. Especially for someone like me who’s so used to the graphic nature of horror titles, it’s harder to get scared versus someone who is new to a horror franchise, it’s more likely for them to get scared more easily rather than someone who’s used to it. Plus, the companies are already struggling to reach out to fans when FPS shooters like COD and Battlefield dominating the gaming market with the trend of competing in online multi.
TGG: Between gaming and the cinema, which do you think is a more effective means of portraying horror? Why?
DM: I’d have to stick with Cinema portraying horror more than gaming. In a film, people are more likely to see a film (since not everyone plays games). The advantage films have over games is that the settings are darker and it makes their trick of whatever is lurking around the corner more likely to work. In a game, lighting is reduced, but not enough to the point where it makes you not want to go through b/c you can’t see well, but that’s the point of horror; getting scared when you least expect it.
TGG: Describe your perfect horror title. Where would it take place? Would the protagonist be a well-off mercenary or a defenseless everyman?
DM: As to setting, I’d say it would take place at a small community away from a city. As to city, I’d say Las Vegas mainly b/c I grew up here. It would start off with a viral infection that causes people to get sick and eventually go cannibalistic, from a small community, it would multiply and infection would spread out to a bigger area. I like having the hired gun as the protagonist as they have that battlefield advantage to them, being experienced on survival in the field, being the team leader type of person that can assist and rescue survivors.