I'm what you call a "gamer". I love video games, I always have. Ever since I played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the PlayStation as a little kid, I've spent most of my free time playing video games of all kinds.
I bought an old looking copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops at my local Gamestop. Frankly, I hated the new Call of Duty games (I think they're just re-hashed versions of the old classics), but while looking through the bargain bin, I found a copy of Black Ops with a strange cover I've never seen on any Call of Duty covers. Instead of Mason holding two M1911 pistols, it showed a soldier in what appeared to be the "Last Stand" position. He was firing an M1911 and surrounded by dense shrubbery. His chest armor was leaking blood from all sides. There was blood coming out of his mouth and covered his teeth. He looked like a Marine from Vietnam. He had two bandoliers on his chest and a bandanna around his forehead. I couldn't identify him. I played through the story before, why couldn't I tell who he was? I asked the cashier about all this. He said his friend was on the development team, and had obtained an early alpha with one mission they cut out of the game. Only five bucks though. My curiosity got the better of me. I pulled out five bucks and handed it over to the cashier. "Alright," he said, "but if you want a refund you're entitled. Anyone that bought that brought it back in disgust. Must be pretty graphic." I told him I have a stomach for gory stuff and took the copy.
Later at home I opened up the copy of Black Ops and put the disk in. I watched the Treyarch logo pop up as normal, and I was in the main menu. Instead of being Mason in a torture chair, I was a Russian soldier on a computer, inside a soviet bunker. The only things I could select were "Campaign" and "Options". Multiplayer and Zombies were greyed out. I checked the options. I could adjust the master volume, turn on subtitles, and..."Enable fearlessness?" I filpped it on. A message popped up. "You can no longer pause during single player play!" I shrugged. It was late at night and no one was home. I wasn't going to be stopping anytime soon. Or so I thought.
I backed out to the main menu and selected campaign. The only option was "Select Mission". I clicked on it. The only mission was "Darkness". I clicked on it. Playing some old Black Ops alpha was really weird. The CIA logo popped up, with text under it saying: "CIA: Agent Ferris" the screen turned to an overhead map and zoomed in and scanned a grass clearing. A man's voice became audible. "Agents; this is serious. Several operatives were caught by the Russians in the presented area." The map zoomed in more, and a POW camp became visible. "We need to get in there, before the Russians..." The map zoomed in even further, until it became the player's PoV. You sat in a corner, while a Russian entered the cell. He began to yell at the only other guy in your cell, threatening him. The prisoner was a CIA agent as well. He spit in the Russian's face. I moved my crosshairs over him. It said: "Operative Pyle". I chuckled. A good World at War reference. The Russian took out a machete. "Aww..." I said. I knew what was coming. The Russian slashed the machete across his throat. Pyle's death was far more graphic, however. Blood gushed from his throat, and he started gasping for breath while the Russian jumped on him and began hacking him to pieces.
This went on for a good five minutes. It was the nastiest thing I've ever seen in a video game. By the time the Russian got up, "Pyle" was nothing more than a gooey, red, pile of muck. The Russian began walking over to me. My character began to back away, with the famous low health sound, the fast heartbeat and labored breathing. Suddenly, I grabbed the machete! The characters begin wrestling over it. The "Square" and "Circle" buttons popped up on the screen and began flashing. I began mashing Square and Circle like crazy. It brought me back to Call of Duty 3. Good times... After some struggling, my character grabbed the machete and sliced the Russian's head clean off. The headless body fell to the ground. This was disgusting! However, I continued playing out of morbid curiosity. The agent grabbed the keys from the body and unlocked his cell. He ran around, unlocking all the cells and freeing all the CIA agents. I followed them outside. I turned around. We emerged from an old barn. The freed agents rushed the Russians. I ran up and stabbed several with the machete until I finally found a Russian with a pistol. I picked up the Makarov.
After a few minutes of fighting, we had defeated the Russians. All the surviving agents were now armed. "What now?" An agent asked. "Now we get the Hell out of here!" My character yelled back. I relaxed and sat back. THIS was more like the Call of Duty I remember. But what the HELL was with the opening? What were they smoking? I shook my head and returned to the game. I scavenged a shotgun from the battlefield. After some running, we arrived at a small compound. We rushed in and began firing away. After some more action, an agent pushed open a gate.
"Come on, we have to get out of here!" A new objective appeared in the corner; "Follow the operative". I turned around and fired a few more rounds before turning back and following the operative. As I exited the post, I was thrown to the floor by an enormous Russian. He roared and held up the head of the operative I was following. He stuffed the head into his bag and threw himself at me. Another quicktime event. I mashed the Square and Circle buttons as it told me. My character threw the Russian off of him and threw a punch. It made contact with the Russian's face.
"Ferris" got up and adopted a fighting pose. after some cinimatic fistfighting the Russian grabbed him the throat and began choking him. "L1" and "R1" appeared on the screen. I pressed the L1 and R1 like crazy. After getting him off my neck, my character took out his machete and ran in for the kill. After another quicktime event (this time with the L2 and R2 triggers), I stuck the machete into his chest. He gasped, and fell backwards, dead. My character sat down, exhausted. He caught his breath. Just as he got up, however, the clicking of guns were heard from behind him. He slowly turned around. At least a hundred Russians were lined up, their rifles aimed at me! I heard some yelling in Russian, but I didn't care. I was panicking! What do I do...I decided to pause for a second to get my thoughts together. I pressed start. Nothing. What the Hell? That's when I realized: I left fearlessness on! I began hearing a countdown.
Things did not look good. My character was standing forty yards away from that huge army of Russians, his gun holstered. I pressed Triangle. He took out his pistol. I fired about three shots. The Russians opened fire. I was assaulted with a hail of bullets. My character coughed and gurgled, covered in blood and bullet holes. The camera was now in third person, circling my character. He fell to his knees, then on his back. The view became first person again. A Russian officer slowly began walking towards me. I could only sit and watch as he got closer and closer. I noticed some creepy music in the background. It reminded me of the Lavender Town theme from Pokémon, which only furthered my terror. It sounded way to similar to be a mistake. I shook my head. This game was playing tricks on me! It was just some creepy rift. I shouldn't of kept reading about that damn Lavender Town Syndrome. I watched as he reached me, picked up my machete, and swung it down on me.
The camera spun out of control, stopping when it viewed my headless corpse. I had been decapitated! The officer turned and walked away. After a few seconds, the screen faded to black. After some more time had passed, the text: "There is no escape: Only darkness." appeared on the screen. Soon that faded away as well, just leaving the black screen. All music and sounds were gone. It was deathly quiet. A full minute passed. Nothing. I pressed X. Nothing. I pressed start. Nothing. I began mashing all the buttons on the controller. Nothing. This was far too much for me. I ran over, hit eject, and threw the disk out of the console. The PS3 home menu replaced the lingering blackness. I sighed in relief. Thank GOD.
I went over to Gamestop first thing in the morning with the game, demanding a refund. The cashier took the game and gave me my five dollars back. I just couldn't keep that game. It was...dark. It felt...evil. All I cared about was getting rid of that game and forgetting about it ASAP. To this day, I still don't know where that game is. I fished around the bargin bin a few weeks later, and I didn't find it anywhere. Who knows...take a look at the used games isle at you local gaming store. Maybe YOU can be the next to experience..."Darkness"....