Very recently I decided to revisit Human Head’s Prey, which isn’t that uncommon of an occurrence for me, though this time I decided to play through the Xbox 360 version of the game.
For the most part it’s a fine port and Venom Games seem to have done a pretty nice job. My only gripe with it is that the menus look butt ugly and the loading screens are a disaster when compared to the original release, but beyond that it’s fine.
That being said - if you can, I would definitely recommend playing the Linux/Windows release of the game. I think there’s a macOS port as well but I have no idea what state that’s in.
Anyway, I digress, let me move onto the point of this article.
Every time I play this game I always notice new little details or just generally find myself admiring how detailed it is in it’s entirety. Something that particularly stood out to me was the sound design, as throughout the game, while for most of the time there isn’t any music, there’s a ton of ambient sounds in the background that together form interesting soundscapes.
In some cases there are even little rhythms employed subtly into the mix. I’m not too sure what the correct term is for this but I usually refer to it as an environmental soundtrack.
This extensive use of ambient sounds is something that both Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 used, though I would say Prey had gone considerably further with it, and the _beautiful _level design, while far from perfect, is highly complimented by the use of sound, which is always present.
Below is a montage of a few areas in Prey - no gameplay whatsoever, just merely taking in the sights and sounds.
Keep in mind that the depth of field effect in the video was achieved by using Sikkmod.
While there’s certainly many games that have been coming out recently with great sound design, I can’t think of many that make use of sound in such a way as Prey does, it’s all very eerie and alien - I feel it works perfectly towards making you feel unsettled as you make my way through the dark and disturbing environments.
It’s a huge shame we’ll never be able to see how Human Head was expanding on this for Prey 2.