1st of all, i've played every STALKER game of the series, now let me share with you why i Shadow of Chernobyl strikes me as the best and one of the greatest of all time.
Shadow Of Chernobyl -
When i 1st saw this game it wasnt on a shelf or on gamespot or on a friends computer, it was in fact on the cover art of my new ASUS video card that i had just bought that included it free inside, a rip open the box put the video card in, and begin playing Rome:Total War for the billionth time not even looking at the free game that came with my video card,
Then one month later i had the flu and had played most of my games completely and i was bored of them when i found STALKER just sitting there, so i pop it in, install it and launch the Main Menu, bare in mind my only knoledge of what this game was about was of chernobyl itself and the russian on the gamedisk with a kalashinkov, The main menu screen is extremely dark and depressing, like something out of a holacaust film.
I press new game and watch the intro, i wasnt that impressed straight away, Then i get into the game, i fight some bandits at the warehouse and i was completely blown away by the 7 times i had to try taking the warehouse again, the shooting mechanics were just brilliant as i leaned out from behind walls to pop a few shots at a bandits head to see most shots miss then the bandit fry me with his sawn -off.
2 days later i was completely immersersed in the atmosphere of this game and the main thing that hit me was just how Dark and Depressing it was as i watched STALKERS struggle for survival and as i frantically tried to hold the garbage warehouse against bandits while trying to protect the 2 stalkers that are there and as they get hit i have to leg it out of there as bullets rickochet everywherre, i remember a shootout with some bandits while i was helping some stalkers and having to run from dead body to dead body as i looked for bandages because i was bleeding out and didnt want to waste one of my 3 only army med-kits.
Now up until i got to the Agroprom the one thing i kept thinking was how i had heard about all these mutants, these bloodsuckers these controllers these poltergeist, and i was like where the hell are they all i have run into is some flat faced pigs and blind dogs.
Then i enter the Agroprom underground and this to date remains the scariest moment of any gaming adventure i can recall, there i am sitting at my computer desk in a dark room with a blanket across my lap and the headphones on as rain is pouring outside and i blow my nose every 10 minutes because of my flu.
So i'm there in the underground, i've killed some bandits in the dark no biggy right, then i see a flashing revolving light ahead, i turn off my flashlight and creep forward into an extremely dimly lit room with another revolving light on the other side of the room and a radiactive barrel on my side giving me just abit of vision without total darkness, this room is about 50mx50m and i'm in the very corner of the far right side, when i hear footsteps and i freeze.
I dont turn my light on incase of being discovered and the footsteps seem to pass me by but i cant see any1 which is extremely strange, i remain still ait longer and then i manage to spot a headlamp at the other end of the room and make out what looks like a soldier, i inch forward behind some crates and watch him patrol his side of the room when he stops, Suddenely something near me hits a barrel and the soldier screams in russian as he just fires bursts from his AK into what i see as nothing then he gets slashed from his side by some dark creature thing and then silent as it disapears into darkness.
Now at this moment i'm scared out of my day lights and almost hyperventialting when i hear those footsteps again and from extreme gripping of the mouse let off a few bullets from my gun that i shouldnt have, i hear a growl and turn around to see 2 eyes moving towards me in darkness then suddenely i'm dead by the same monster that killed the soldier.
Now this one moment made me turn off my computer and lay down to bed and watch some seinfeld to cheer me up, i didnt go back to the game a for a few weeks because of that event but when i did my fears were worth the rest of the game.
From the controller attacking me in the tunnels as i thought i was just into safety as i legged it like never before and climbed that ladder and kept legging it unwittingly into an army outpost, i can tell you it never felt SOOOOOOOOOOOO good to have a HUMAN shooting at me.
To when i finally reached "The Bar" and the feeling of sudden safety as i'm into some sort of civilisation and where i can walk around at night without watching for bloodsuckers.
STALKER SOC and the rest of the series has greatly deserved the spot of my 2nd favourite game series ever. (1st being Total War)