Obscure 2 UK, May 11, 2007 - Just think how awesome the world would be if everybody got fed up halfway through trying to invent something more exciting than we already had - it'd be a massive free-for-all, with bodice-wearing cavemen strapping horses to blimps and chucking powdered eggs at passers-by, frantically winding up their gramophones before the telegram man arrived. Just like the Survival Horror genre then. Aside from that one particular game which shall remain nameless, we've not seen much action on the innovation front since Infogrames let Edward Carnby lose in that dodgy old mansion 15 years ago. Sure, we've managed to ditch the wonky controls and modern day monsters tend to be, well, a lot less boxy, but it's still the same old stream-lined slog through spooky sewers and hospitals, complete with tenuous puzzles, ineffectual combat and depressing dead-time between set-pieces. "Good-looking guy" Kenny and "Genuine blond" Amy in action. Of course though, nothing can match the kind of scare a good Survival Horror can muster, and that's why we keep playing. The point of all this then is that Obscure II is, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same as pretty much every other Survival Horror game you've ever played. Which leaves us with two questions: what does it do differently and - more importantly - is it scary? Well, to answer that last question first - no. But, somehow, that's alright. You see, it's all part of Obscure II's cheesy charm. Much like the first game in the series, Obscure II ditches the psychological naval-gazing hokum of its genre comrades in favour of the videogame equivalent of the high school slasher movie. As before, you'll take charge of various dopey, muscle-bound boys and shrill, big-breasted girls as the game progresses. Character-wise, they're all as unconvincingly two-dimensional as their CGI models but that's part of the fun. Ludicrous dialogue, horrendous voice-acting and absurd plot-points actually work in Obscure II's favour, making for a horror game so ridiculously tongue-in-cheek you're just happy to be along for the ride. She DOES NOT LIKE THAT, Corey! The plot, for want of a better word, sees the attendees of Fallcreek University fall foul of a mysterious flower which - as it happens - makes a great hallucinogenic when crushed and stuck up your nose. Needless to say, before long, all the kids are doing it, impending disaster waiting in the wings. Sure, it's never clear where the appeal of a substance which makes you imagine mutilated corpses stomping around derelict warehouses lies but - hey - this isn't Tolstoy. Pretty soon though, those dream monsters slip into reality and a desperate struggle through abandoned hospitals and sewers ensues. Thankfully though, poisonous botanical effects can be warded off by energy drinks and health augmented by syringing the juice out of downed enemy organs, then jabbing it up your bum. It's all relentlessly - somewhat intentionally - silly and a ton of fun, plus you get to save your game by "touching a special flower". Or at least, that's the impression we've gotten so far, playing the initial few hours of Hydravision's sequel. If you've dabbled with the original at all you'll feel right at home here - with various characters, contrivances and gameplay mechanics all making a return. Significantly then, that means Obscure's nifty, fully co-operative design is back in full force. Undoubtedly, this addition - the ability to experience the whole daft ordeal with a friend in tow - was one of the highlights of the first game. With most story chapters following the tribulations of a pair of characters, a second player can pick up a controller and step into the fray at any point.