GTFO is one hell of a creepy co-op experience, featuring enemies with enough teeth to make Naughty Dog proud. But the actual scariest thing in the game isn’t one of the mini-bosses.
For the uninitiated, it’s best to think of GTFO like co-op Aliens. Four prisoners are dropped — and I mean dropped in the theme park, 100-foot drop style — into an abandoned location, often tasked with retrieving a piece of intel, restarting a beacon or flipping some other type of switch.
Everything’s overrun with infected enemies, and I mean infected in the Last of Us style:
The basic teeth dudes are creepy enough. Rather than actually biting you — which, fuck that — they get into melee range and launch a massive tongue for serious whiplash.
That’s obviously not great. But there’s also the Scout, which my group is just calling Tentacle Dude. It sprays out little feelers all across the room, including one from its head after it dies. And if any of those tendrils get touched, the enemy screams and connects with other enemies in the room, triggering a massive horde.
That’s all kinds of fucked. And those are just some of the early bosses. One of the later beasts you can encounter is the Mother, which is viscerally unpleasant and spawns a ton of infuriatingly tiny creatures that blend in with the nearby fog.
But is that the worst? I’d argue not. You expect major bosses to have a special degree of creepiness to them. You mentally prepare for whatever fresh hell their designs emerged from. But you deal with them maybe once in a blue moon.
What’s worse is the ranged freaks on the floor. They’re called shooters, and they basically come in two forms. One form is when they’re standing. It just looks like a body that’s completely fungated with pustules everywhere. Definitely not great, but also par for the course for any horror game.
But what sucks is when they’re crouched. Normally, when you’re sneaking around, this is actually helpful. Most of GTFO is slowly and methodically clearing out rooms, creeping up to enemies and whacking them with a sledgehammer so they don’t wake up. It’s not difficult to get a headshot if the enemy’s standing and gyrating a bit — as all the GTFO creepers do when they’re ‘asleep’ — but it’s a little bit easier when they’re crouched.
However, enemies that are crouched when they wake up? Well, uh, they tend to stay that way. What do the ranged enemies do?
They run along the floor. While crouched. Legs spread. Facing you.
It’s like watching a dog scratch their butt against a floor. But only if your loveable pet was actually a Clicker, spitting infectious homing gobs right at your face.
The animation is what sells it. The scouts, the strikers, big melee attackers that’d fit just fine in Left 4 Dead: they’re just infected. They’re not people. They move and attack like lots of other infected creatures, so there’s a degree of familiarity that counterbalances their bulbous design.
But someone scooching along the ground, shoving their butt at your face like a cat on heat, spitting while their character model skips forward in the most unhuman manner? It’s decidedly creepy. And you don’t get much time to focus on it either, because you’re often dealing with massive swarms at the same time. You have little health, little ammo, and little time to focus.
You can see a shot of the butt scratcher below at about 16 seconds. As I’m fleeing from everything else, a small white projectile lights up through the darkness and the red hue of the sentry turret, nailing me square in the face.
So when you’ve gotten to the point where you feel like you’re dealing with a wave: BAM. Projectile flies right at your face, through the fog. You’ve spent so much time dealing with the bigger enemies, the ones that make their presence immediately known. You’re not always paying attention to what’s at the back. And GTFO has a ton of fog, so it’s easy — and very common — for enemies to hide amongst it all.
That means the zombie cat on heat always, always surprises you. And that shock factor, the distractions of everything else, and just the entire environment, is what has led my group to a unanimous decision.
We love GTFO. It’s frightening, frantic, and I’m still astonished the whole thing is built in Unity. And all the creepy, infected hordes the prisoners have to deal with — they’re not that bad when you get used to it.
But the infected zombie cat on heat shooting shit out of its head? Nope. That can fuck right off.
(Mind you, the invisible enemies are pretty fucked too.)