After years of obscurity on the PC, The Suffering (2004) and its sequel The Suffering: Ties That Bind (2005) are finally available courtesy of GOG.com, and without any restrictive digital rights management nonsense to boot.
The games were originally developed by the now-defunct Surreal Software and published by the also now-defunct Midway Games (among others for different versions); the rights now belong to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
As stated in GOG’s post about the release: “All but impossible to find in recent years, the elusive psychological horror games return as gory as you remember them, DRM-free and fully compatible with modern operating systems”
Describing the game and its sequel, the post goes on to say, “The Suffering puts you in the shoes of death row convict Torque as he fights monstrous enemies to escapes his hellish prison and find the truth behind the heinous crime that put him there….[in] the sequel Ties That Bind, Torque is a free man in body if not in mind, as he returns to his hometown seeking redemption and revenge from the criminal kingpin he holds responsible for this nightmare”.
Fun fact: the PC version of The Suffering was at one point released for free by the U.S. Air Force. This version, which included Air Force ads, was once available on FileFront (now known as GameFront). I guess that’s one creative (and weird, considering the game’s content) way for the Armed Forces to use American tax dollars.
Needless to say, this version of The Suffering has been long removed from the website, pushing the PC version of the game down into obscurity hell.
In recent years, GOG.com (owned by parent company CD Projekt) has been an amazing force in bringing good ol’ PC games back to life, defeating the need for piracy, if the games could even be made to run on modern systems. And The Suffering games are no exception.
I consider the original game to be way ahead of its time; the mix of violent action and mental horror in this game is still as effective as it was in the mid-2000s. The sound design, particularly, stands out, as a lot of work was done to make it as atmospheric as possible.
Check out the trailer for the original PS2/Xbox versions of the first game:
Bonus: Making Of The Suffering documentary. (Might contain minor spoilers).