First Look At SCP Containment Breach, A Powerful Indie Horror Experience
SCP Containment Breach is a free indie survival horror game currently in development by Finnish game developer, Regalis. The game is based on the horror stories of the SCP Foundation website. If you’re not familiar with SCP, I’ll brief you on it now. The acronym stands for Secure, Contain and Protect, and it’s basically a website filled with fiction from writers on the internet, regarding paranormal entities, anomalies or strange findings. The SCP Foundation is an organisation designed to protect humanity from these dangers, and study them in secret. Subjects are given code names, usually written in the form SCP-XXX, where the latter part of the name consists of numbers. They are also classified in three different ways, namely Safe, if the subject or object can be reliably contained, Euclid, if the subject or object’s behaviour cannot be predicted due to a lack of knowledge about it, and lastly Keter, which are subjects that pose a great threat to humanity or the environment and are capable of causing significant destruction if set free. All of this should give you enough background to work with.
The game SCP Containment Breach is based on the lore of the SCP Foundation, similarly to the way that Slender is based on the internet phenomenon and creepypasta, Slender Man. The game is currently in active development, which of course means that it’s not yet completed. However, the developers have made it playable to the public, delivering updates whenever they can. The game is on version 0.6.5 at the moment, and you can download it from the official website if you’re interested in playing it, which I enthusiastically recommend if you’re a horror fan. If you need more convincing than my simple encouragement, then let me introduce you to SCP Containment Breach and give you an overview of the game and my experience with it in this preview. It’s truly like no horror game I’ve played.
In the game you play as D-9341, an unwilling test subject for The SCP Foundation. You’re able to give your character a name, and from there you’re let out of your cell by security guards and guided to the game’s primary antagonist, SCP-173, also known as The Sculpture, for experimentation. This is an extremely hostile statue that is able to kill anyone by strangulation, or by snapping their neck, in an instant. The creature is able to move at incredibly high speeds, too fast to be seen, but it can’t move while under a direct line of sight by any human. Of course, as you may have expected, during the testing with SCP-173, something goes horribly wrong and a containment breach occurs, as the compound’s security is compromised and the SCPs are released. Left alone to face the horrors of the SCP Foundation, your objective becomes to survive and escape the facility. But this is far easier said than done. It’s actually really difficult, and currently there are three exits to the facility. You’ll need to explore it thoroughly and collect any potentially useful items, like gas masks, for your inventory.
The game’s primary mechanic is the Blink meter, which shows you how long you have before you need to blink. You’re able to manually blink at any time using the space bar, and you can keep your eyes closed by holding it down. There’s also a sprint meter, which shows the amount of time you can run for. These two mechanics are central to the two main antagonists in the game, namely SCP-173, the Sculpture, and SCP-106, The Old Man. The latter is an incorporeal being, and it can pass through solid matter. You can from it, but it will walk clean through any doors you try to close in its face. It attacks by sending you to its “pocket dimension”, where it will try to kill you. I’m sure you’re beginning to get the picture. Seriously, you’ll come to know what real panic is when SCP-173 appears out of nowhere and suddenly you find yourself having to stare at it while your blink meter declines, knowing that if you so much as look away or blink you’ll get your neck snapped. You’ll have to keep it locked in your sights, back away slowly and close a door at it. When it comes to SCP-106, however, you’ll just need to run like hell. These two SCPs are already more than enough to deal with, but they’re not the only threats.
Other SCPs are still being added to the game, so there is plenty to look forward to, but one of the more recent additions is SCP-096, a docile humanoid that only becomes a threat if you make eye contact with its face. Once you do, it will stop at nothing to kill you, and will chase you until it can incapacitate you. There are also SCPs that are less lethal, but there to cause you a large amount of pain anyway. An example of this would be SCP-372, also known as the Peripheral Jumper, and while it cannot kill you, it can cause visual distortion if you look at it. There are even some immobile anomalies to worry about, like SCP-895, which is harmless to look at, but it can cause electronic video feeds to display disturbing imagery, which can cause you to commit suicide from severe mental trauma. There’s definitely an awesome variety in enemy types, and it’s great that more will be added as the game heads towards its full release. It really makes the experience so unique in that you’ll need to equip yourself with the necessary information regarding your enemies so that you can learn how to deal with them. While SCP-173′s abilities are explained at the beginning of the game, the rest you can either read up about online or adapt when you encounter them. Either way you do it, it’s really all part of the fun.
The game just presents such a unique and powerful horror experience. Trudging through the dark and eerie SCP Foundation facility trying to find your way and avoid SCPs is intimidating on its own, especially when you feel a tiny bit of anxiety creep in each time you need to blink, and this provides a frightening sense of immersion to the game. This game almost constantly makes you feel uneasy and on your nerves, because you know that SCP-173 is out there, and you also don’t know what else is as well. If that isn’t enough, there are also Mobile Task Forces, effectively the SCP Foundation’s military, who view you as a threat and will shoot you on sight. You’ll need a bullet proof vest if you want protection against their guns, or at least a med-kit to slow bleeding in case you’re shot. With all of these elements combined, this is by far one of the most unique and interesting horror games I’ve played, and I can’t wait to see it when it’s fully released. When it gets you, it gets you good. Somehow, the game manages to make things that sound ridiculous, or even look ridiculous as is the case with SCP-173, really terrifying. And the joy here is that you fear the known just as much as you fear the unknown.
As of right now, there’s only one thing holding SCP Containment Breach back from being at its best, and that’s the fairly weak model and texture engine that the game uses. It’s built on the Blitz3D engine rather than something more prestigious like Unity, and that’s because the developer is most comfortable with it. While the game does look decent enough, and it certainly does more than enough to be scary and highly entertaining, I did get the feeling that with improved visuals it could really be so much better. But it’s already an awesome game, so the potential for something spectacular is definitely here. Fortunately, the game is planned to improve graphically when it’s fully released, so hopefully it will get a significant upgrade. One thing I liked about the game is that you’re able to save your game at any time and on any spot, although doing so requires you to quit. If your character dies, you can either reload or start again, with the option to skip the intro section. Just note that when you first start up the game the loading is fairly lengthy, but each time you reload your save after that it’s extremely quick.
SCP Containment Breach is coming along excellently, and it’s definitely one of the most unique and intriguing horror experiences I’ve had. It’s exciting to see how it will turn out once it’s fully released, but fortunately you can start playing it right away. The potential here is fantastic, and if the graphics are upgraded when it’s fully released, it could truly turn out to be a phenomenal game. And that’s exciting considering that it’s already damn good. Look out for the full review when the game is completed.