It used to be that if you found yourself in a horror scenario there were only a few simple few rules to follow in order to become a victim.

Don’t say “I’ll be right back”, don’t go anywhere alone, don’t leave the kitchen before arming yourself with a rather large carving knife, you know, common sense things.

But now, thanks to the ongoing surfeit of horror games, it’s entirely possible you could find yourself in a survival horror situation. Worse still, few of the old rules are still effective. So it falls to me to deliver a whole new set of commandments that, if obeyed, will significantly boost your chances of survival. You can thank me later, assuming you live that long.

1. Avoid any location with a pleasant or disturbing name

Are you planning a holiday, or maybe just going on a short trip? Then choose your destination carefully. Research has shown that any location with an pleasant name is bound to be a home to unnameable horrors; Raccoon City, Bright Falls, Leafmore High and so forth. Conversely, you should also avoid anywhere with an unsettling monicker such as Darkwater Island, or The Splatterhouse. Instead, pick somewhere with a middle-of-the-road name. Squirrel Cove? Nope. Gravewood? Steer well clear. Whilverton? Now that’s more like it.

Silent Hill Sign

2. Bring your own torch

In the unfortunate event that you do end up in some disturbing backwoods location, you’ll need a torch. The problem is that the torches featured in nearly every survival game defy the laws of physics. It doesn’t matter how often you change the batteries, the torches you’ll stumble across will only ever illuminate a small area five feet in front of you. So make sure you bring several torches with you, leaving at least one in the car. Ideally, these should be as large and as powerful as possible, making it impossible for any shadow-dwelling fiend to get the drop on you.

3. Don’t touch anything

Seriously. Don’t touch a single thing. Noticed a strange artefact glinting on a picnic table? Leave it well alone. Have you, against your best instincts, wandered into an abandoned house and spotted an old tome on the floor? Don’t even think of picking it up as it won’t end well. And use your common sense; if an object is covered in dust or cobwebs, it shows that other people have had the wisdom not to put their sticky paws all over it. Don’t be the idiot who makes a grab for it and ends up summoning some demonic abomination.

4. Invest in a pair of garden clippers

One of the reasons that so many people stumble into spooky locations appears is that they’re fenced in by bushes or other vegetative barriers. Solve this problem by always carrying a pair of garden clippers and, if your budget stretches to it, keep a hedge trimmer in the boot of your car. Instead of just idiotically wandering through the front door of the spooky house that you’re apparently being funnelled towards, simply take out your clippers and snip your way through the offending shrubbery. Problem solved.

5. Check that you have a pulse

If you find yourself in a survival horror situation, be sure to check that you’ve got a pulse. There’s every possibility that you’ve Been Dead The Whole Time ™ and finding you’re not breathing or that your heart isn’t beating is a dead give away. If you discover that you’re deceased then yelling “It’s a fair cop!” or similar might at least put paid to the supernatural trials you’re undergoing.

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