Chronos: Before the Ashes

The Pan of Chronos: Before the Ashes house a dark, foreboding secret.

After the sterile stone halls of the Krell castle in the first world of Chronos: Before the Ashes, filled with clockwork and medieval industry, the verdant tree houses and overgrown temples of the Pan world were a breath of fresh air. In a game that was already pleasingly colorful, even when portraying a location as banal as a feudal fortress, the striking greens, blues, and reds of the Pan forest were a sight to behold.

It wasn’t until about halfway through the world, though, during a seemingly innocuous encounter with a spell-slinging foe and his blade-throwing accomplice, that I unveiled the true horror of those otherwise idyll woods.

I’m talking about the Pan statues.

Straight out of the Weeping Angel textbook, these are statues of Pan warriors that seem like unexceptional background scenery, at first glance. The first of them is actually hidden out of the way when you enter the aforementioned encounter – your foes are to your right when you enter the room, while the statue stands off to the left, near an elevator you can’t yet use and have no reason to investigate before dealing with the immediate and obvious threat. It was only after I’d dealt with the lightning bolts of the sorcerer and his dual-bladed companion that I noticed the statue in the center of the room.

Had it always been there? How had I not collided with it mid-combat?

Both questions were answered when I turned to leave, the camera swung so that the statue was out of frame, and I heard a brief rustling. I spun around and saw that the statue was following me.

Oh. So they only move when the camera isn’t on them, hm?

I approached and found that I could lock onto it, like an enemy. I swung at it, chipping its health off by a small sliver, which immediately healed. It also swung back, demolishing me in a single strike.

A year older (and, hopefully, wiser), I respawned nearby and made my way back, slaying the two foes that shared a room with the statue once more and carefully keeping it in frame this time. I proceeded on to the next room, but I could still hear it shuffling around once it was again out of sight. It was here that I discovered it could follow me through open doorways, so long as its pathing wasn’t tripped up by level geometry.

Later rooms would have more of them, with multiple statues maneuvering out of frame, forcing me to rush as I battled the enemies I could actually kill, and one in particular had a statue placed immediately by the entrance, to kill unsuspecting adventurers who tried to enter the room cautiously instead of bolting in (that was a dirty trick, Gunfire Games). At my peak, I think I had five Pan statues trailing me at once, following me from room to room as I tried to focus on navigating the labyrinthine underground, defeating my more mortal foes, and solving puzzles while staying a step ahead of them.

Nothing in Chronos: Before the Ashes — even the final boss — is as stressful as this sequence. My nerves were taut the entire time, and I want to applaud the developers for working a very enjoyable horror element into what is, otherwise, an almost whimsical section of the game. Well played.

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Luís Filipe da Costa Caldeira
Luís Filipe da Costa Caldeira
2 years ago

you can kill the statue… just have to be determined in the use of the super strike with the hammer at full level

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