Hellbound: Hellraiser has emerged as a new favorite genre-bending video game for horror lovers (those who are not equally as terrified as I am of said genre-bending game). The premise of this game is almost equally disturbing: You play as Arthur, a 19-year-old whose parents have been murdered by demonic wraiths. You then set out on a harrowing quest to get revenge against those demonic wraiths.
At first, it seems as if the game is simply a supernatural shoot-em-up horror. From the game’s title you can tell that there is no normal here. The game is comprised of long, gory, self-contained levels that are punctuated by brief sequences of your fighting, evading, and stabbing your way out of certain doom. It’s a formula that most action games emulate with varying degrees of success and success.
But here’s where the game gets truly weird: When you get stuck with a difficult puzzle, your personal demon son will come forward to step in, even if it means you won’t get to kill the demon in the process. The game then morphs from something straightforward, you’re firing a gun to kill some monsters, to something literally personal, you are having to stop something from killing your son.
The game is already showing up as a best-selling option for the Steam game download service, a partner for which was apparently “done at a much later stage than desired” than the game’s publisher, Sega. So before anyone gets out their calculators, keep in mind that no one is making any money off this game.
Still, it’s no small achievement that an elaborate, disturbing video game gets bought by a major gaming store at this point.