Condemned Criminal Origins is a first-person shooter, developed by Monolith Productions and published by Sega in 2005.
If there’s one thing Condemned shouldn’t be blamed for, it’s the usual whining about how this is another typical first-person action in which one has to walk forward and kill everything. Okay, the objective is still to drop everything that finds itself on your path on the floor. But it's important how you do it.
You play an FBI agent whose weapons consist mostly of cold weapons. While guns are present, you won’t find a lot of ammo for them. That’s why, during the pursuit of a serial killer who likes to kill girls and put them in painful poses along with store dolls, you have to rely on everyday items for good old smash-on-head type of gameplay. Like a pipe you just pulled from a wall, plank with nails, firefighter axes, sledgehammers, shovels, or my favorite, iron sticks with parts of concrete stuck on the end. You mostly use them to get rid of enemies, but they can also be used to interact with the environment; break down a door with an axe, bust open a lock with a sledgehammer…
Enemies only occasionally use firearms (in this case, you wait for them to reload, then jump on them). They are far more likely to have in their hands the same type of weapon you carry. You defeat them with the combination of block, strike and karate kick.
Every contact of metal with flesh is physically painful, because the responses of the attackers range from an immediate bloody death to spitting teeth. If you are clever and do not kill them immediately, but put them on their knees, you can execute them by breaking their neck or smashing their face into concrete. Not something an FBI agent would do, is it? But circumstances are different.
He’s losing it. On one side you have a mentally disturbed killer who seems to be in some kind of relationship with his current mentor, on the other, the police who do not want to believe that his colleagues were killed by someone else. It is even understandable that he’s losing his mind because he’s in a psychotic environment. He must constantly sneak through claustrophobic, destroyed corridors of the decaying buildings and the underground urban world where his only companions are his flashlight and annoying music. During this weird trip, ghostly visions of the killer's work show up whenever he enters into a key place (it has something to do with agent’s clairvoyance). Sometime you have to check this room for clues with your CSI kit. You have an entire forensics equipment with you, but the game offers you just the right tool you need because this isn’t an adventure game.
The whole game plays like this: an unexpected scripted sequence occurs, often with a pair of bad guys that you need to eliminate, then you need to find a specific weapon or something completely obvious (when there’s an action possible, a hint appears on the screen), and then you again have to walk through long, 'realistically' slow corridors while listening to your own heavy breathing.
The game uses the same engine as F.E.A.R. That’s why it has the same dead environment and that creepy feeling that follows you everywhere. But while F.E.A.R. had action between walking through corridors, this one has just the boring parts.