Adventures in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Adventures in the CEZ

Hi there old friends! To all the Stalkers of Clear Skies and the Quiet Zone. I really love the post apocalypse. And if this is about the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where an accident happened 35 years ago, as a result of which an exclusion zone with an area of two and a half thousand kilometers was formed around it, then I treat this topic with special reverence and attention. It’s a pity that people don’t take an interest in this tragedy very often. The most successful example in the gaming industry is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Not so long ago, thundered the announcement of the new numbered part of this cult series, but the release of the second part of the game is still to wait. And as in this case, quench your thirst? Well, there are two options: either play mods to the main series of games S.T.A.L.K.E.R.; or check out not quite new, but not so long ago received a full premiere.

Before getting to know the game I did not know about the Polish team The Farm 51. After I completed the game, I went to the Internet and found out something interesting. It turns out the world knows this team from two interesting projects, namely the ambitious horror Get Even and the Chernobyl VR Project. For the latter, they even visited the Exclusion Zone, to take pictures of the surroundings 3d – scanner. Apparently in the process of filming in Chernobyl, the team felt they could release a full-fledged game in this theme. And already in 2019, their new brainchild with the strange name Chernobylite was available in early access, for a modest sum on Steam. At the time, the game was a poorly playable product, I tried it, it didn’t work for me. On July 28, 2021 held a full-fledged release. During this time, the developers have promised a lot, and jumping ahead to say that if not all, then a lot of promises they have fulfilled.

From the very first shots the game greets with photorealistic landscapes of the CEZ and various industrial complexes, which are not so much in the game, but they are there. Well-designed lighting tries to hide the lack of detail in the environment. There is nothing wrong with the scattered shadows and light sources. Another thing that the overall gamma in the game is shown mainly in dark tones, which sometimes made me swear that I physically can not see the enemies. Otherwise, and overall, visually the game looks good. Seen certainly better, but for a project with such a modest price tag, everything looks more than decent.

Our protagonist is professor of nuclear physics Igor Khiminyuk. Thirty years ago he worked at Chernobyl, and now he suddenly returns to the disaster site to find his missing bride Tatyana Amalieva. How did he break up with her? And why did he decide that 30 years later, he could still find her at the Ilyich power plant? It remains a mystery to the player, until about the final part of the game. We are briefly told about these events in the introduction. Where we first see the dream with Tatiana on the train, and then with the support of two stalkers, trying to get into the station, where everything naturally does not go according to plan. We are overtaken by a Black Stalker, killing one of our comrades-in-arms, and we manage to escape with one of the stalkers we hired, using a portable portal assembled from Grandpa’s drill and Grandma’s hair dryer. The portal leads us to an abandoned base, which we have to set up and inhabit, so that we can continue our search for the bride.

On the assurances of the authors, the game gets the subtitle sci-fi horror RPG with survival elements. And I more than agree with everything except one, from a science fiction game away so much that you can not see the top blocks of Chernobyl. That is why we have here and portals to the third dimension, and travel through space and time, and mutants, and inexplicable devilry, which I personally with science fiction in my head does not fit. We’ll talk about the rest later.

An important part of the gameplay is setting up the base and crafting supplies. To be able to invent something at our base, we need the appropriate tools and workbenches, and we have to monitor the balance of comfort, energy consumption and clean air with radioactivity. All necessary indicators are shown as indicators, in the construction menu. Each object we build will affect some indicators positively, others negatively. The system is not complicated. You will understand it in no time. The construction process itself resembles the construction in Fallout 4. I am sure that there will be both lovers and haters of this part of the gameplay. Is it a necessary element? Yes it is. But in defense, I want to say that you don’t have to spend hours thinking through the interior design of your home, just put a minimum set of necessary tools and sleeping places for your comrades, and you will be happy. And at the same time, if you have such a desire, please, though Chernobyl toilets erect themselves.

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Put a workshop to create first-aid kits, cartridges, tools for entering hard-to-reach places (clinkers and blasting Chernobylite), a workbench for armor, as well as workbenches to create weapon modifications, and all, you can conquer the zone with confidence. By the way, there are not many weapons in the game, I personally only used a revolver, a shotgun, and a Kalashnikov. But they are all modifiable. All done to a high level. Modifications affect both the characteristics of your weapon and its appearance. Still, I didn’t count on any revelation in this regard, and predominantly installed modifications that increase the damage of my weapon.

In general, all this management is quite simple. For all these manipulations we spend resources, which are always more than enough in the game locations. During the entire walkthrough, I only once purposefully went to the area to find the resources I needed. So just a straight emergency shortage you should not feel, unless of course you are going to build here a royal mansion. Searches for them as well is not difficult, because we have a scanner terrain, which will highlight everything that is not nailed to the floor in a fairly large radius around us.

The entire gameplay is divided into periods, the size of a game day. During the day we make forays into the zone, and in the evening we set up a base, distribute rations and talk with comrades. There are many dialogues here, each comrade in arms, each time will be in stock story or two, which he certainly wants to share with you, and may even issue an additional task, or even necessary. Speaking of companions, there aren’t too many of them in the game. Literally everyone, except the very first one we came into the zone, we will find in the expanses of the zone, and each time we will be given the choice to call him into the squad or not. These characters are not only chew rations, as they can perform tasks for you, or teach you the wisdom of survival in the zone. With their help you can raise the passive characteristics, such as increasing the amount of health, or get a very useful perks in the form of increased collected loot. Each time you want to spend the accumulated experience points, you turn to the right companion, and he will teach you a lesson. Each such lesson is shown in the form of not a big scene or execution of a mini-task, which from my point of view has a positive effect on the atmosphere of the game. Experience in the game give for everything, for completing tasks, for killing enemies, for collecting, in general, for everything, so that and with this should not have any problems.

Every morning you start by choosing where you’re going and where to send your friends. Their chances of completing a mission are affected by their condition, so if you want them to do missions for you, you’ll have to pay attention to your companions. Having chosen one of the missions, or errands received from comrades or even by radio (yes there is a radio that will contact you from the locals) we move to the map. Maps by the way the game is not much, just five, not counting Chernobyl, where you will get only at the beginning of the game, and at the end. And their size is not that impressive. This is probably my main complaint about the game. The locations almost never change, and we just go to the same places over and over again. Very quickly they get bored, although the tasks to be performed in them will be different. But despite their small number, they are very atmospheric. On the maps we will find not only enemies, but intelligently scripted scenes, or full scenes, which will activate as soon as the player gets close to their locations. Once, I even flinched in surprise. A wild thing with puppets, a cringe-worthy ambient suddenly plays, and you’ll see flashbacks from the past. This adds a touch of horror to the game. Such places look and sound very atmospheric. But what spoils the atmosphere is the cartoon voices of the characters in the story. In some places they overplay, in places on the contrary understretched. They say that in the English version of the game, the voices do not sound better. The Russian version, however, is saved by the familiar voices. Grigory Herman’s voice was recognized instantly.

In addition to enemies on the map you can meet different personalities who can offer the hero barter for rations or resources. If you encounter enemies, their intelligence is unlikely to surprise you. But you are always free to choose how to complete the mission. Will you take the path of pacifism, avoiding combat with them, or on the contrary you are ready to take up arms and smash your enemies? The enemies here are not only mutants of three kinds, but also a paramilitary group of people, some kind of NAR. At the beginning of the game you can not count on long battles, a few hits will be enough, both for you and your enemies. It’s later you’ll get used to the armor, and your enemies will be fatter. True, killing people is fraught with loss of both physical and mental health. It is not worth getting upset about this, because you can always have a glass of vodka and eat the local salad, and the longing for any occasion will pass. Such things can be prepared in advance at the base, as well as during a sortie to arrange a fire and prepare supplies from available materials. Shooting it should be noted made not bad, the weapons felt recoil, you aim strictly from the fly, and the animation looks good overload. Animations of the use of all consumables are also provided.

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At key points in the quests will often offer a choice of how to proceed, and these decisions sometimes go a long way. Should you kill a vagrant who was acting suspiciously or let him live and let him go? Then he turns out to be someone close to another character, and he might turn out to be your potential teammate, and you can’t call him into the group. And there are a lot of moments like that here, literally at every turn. Decisions you make, some members of your team will judge, along the way offering other options, in which case you may not please someone else. Yes the role component, of course, is not the level of full-fledged role-playing games, and often you choose one of two possible options. But there are a lot of choices here, and each of them will have consequences, you can be sure. At one point I was even frankly surprised.

You don’t have to stress over every choice. The game provides a system whereby we can change the past, but to do so we have to die! Yes, death in the game is not the end: dying at the hands of scoundrels you find yourself in captivity, from which of course you can escape without losing your equipment, or you can not, in which case you will lose some of your equipment, and find yourself in the very third dimension. Dying from mutants, you immediately find yourself in the same dimension. In which you can go through the corridor of events in the game, and change the key points you need. True, this will cost a certain amount of the very Chernobylite. Get that is not so easy. Towards the end of the game, you can build a machine at your base, to make a similar maneuver painlessly. However, I found it too cheating, and did not use such an offer.

And so time after time, day after day, you will make forays into the zone. The main plot is smeared on a canvas of secondary tasks. For a general routine it is easy to lose touch with the central narrative and forget that you are actually here, looking for your missing bride 30 years ago. As it turns out, you need to find clues and clues related to the bride and her disappearance in order to progress through the plot. Once you’ve amassed enough of these clues, you can run the Ariadne Simulation, which is Himinyuk’s life’s work, through which he can go back in time as a virtual space, where projections of the past will shed light on events. After going through all the investigations, you will get closer to the denouement – the raid on the nuclear power plant, going back to the origins where it all began. The last mission is very reminiscent of the final mission of Mass Effect 2, where you need to properly plan the roles of team members, and trust your luck that they will not let you down. The climax of the story reveals all the important aspects of the story and puts a period. In the final splash screen, we are told, in Fallout style, the future fate of all the characters in the game. After completing the game, I had no questions about the plot of the game, and that was great. I enjoyed the story, as well as the game as a whole. And if you decide to linger in the zone, you can stay “survive” in the zone in free mode.

It took me about twenty hours of real time to get through the game, so why stay in the game? I didn’t bother to find out. It is interesting that games with elements of survival, often make an extremely simple story, or do not make at all, but make a very well-developed system of survival. In our case, on the contrary, Chernobylite focuses on the story and, in my opinion, did not miss the mark. The story and the events in the game are very interesting, with variations and consequences. The survival elements themselves are not developed enough to make the process that much fun. Since the first third of the game, this is just the same survival, until you get used to all the necessary tools and equipment, it may seem boring to most average gamers. Once this stage is passed, and you can concentrate on the story, the game will smell with other colors.

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Naturally this game will not replace Stalker, but it is definitely worth a look. The game is one hundred percent worth the money it costs. Considering its ridiculous, by today’s standards, price tag, I recommend it to all fans of all things related to Stalkerism and the CEZ. To other players, on the other hand, it may seem boring, especially in the first few hours of the game when the intro is over and you are left in a godforsaken place trying to survive and conquer your fears and prejudices about losing your fiancée.

TOP 15 Chernobyl-related movies and TV series: scary horror flicks, cult series and great classics

Exactly 35 years, the whole world was struck by a terrible event: the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant occurred on April 26, 1986. The tragic events left a deep wound in the history of mankind, and artists over the years have created many works that immerse in the atmosphere of that nightmare. Once we have already told you about the best games about Chernobyl, but in this selection we share the top of feature films and TV series!

Chernobyl (Chernobyl), 2019. The series that instantly became a cult

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

In 2019, HBO released the series “Chernobyl.” Of course, many viewers were waiting for the picture, which was produced by director Johan Renck, known from Breaking Bad, and Craig Mazin, who at the time was considered only a good screenwriter, but hardly anyone thought that the work would turn out so outstanding.

The multi-episode film is striking in its dramaturgy and suspense, it shocks by its tragic setting and delights by its brilliant acting – no wonder the project instantly gained a cult status. Also, Chernobyl became the most highly rated series in history.

We have already written about the brainchild of HBO in detail, although today there is no need in arguments and reviews – probably everyone has already watched the work himself and convinced of its greatness. And if not, then immediately put off all business and go to catch up.

“Chernobyl, 2021. Come on, guys, it’s Kozlowski.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

No sooner had the HBO series gone viral than Danila Kozlovsky announced the movie of the same name. Few people understood why there was a need for another picture, which is unlikely to look advantageous against the competition – as it turned out, production began even before the premiere of the American tape.

Chernobyl” came out April 15 – we watched it and shared our impressions. Alas, the director’s work Kozlovsky is full of problems: the sagging dynamics, unconvincing acting, immortality main character (played by Danila too) – although some scenes are still filmed for five points and justify a visit to the theater. The film found its viewer and made him shed a few tears while watching it. Try it, maybe you will like it too.

“Chernobyl. Exclusion Zone,” 2014. Going Back in Time.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

From the Russian series released in 2014, few expected revelations – but in fact, the project tenaciously grabbed the attention of the audience, got a second season and even the final film of the story. The problems of “Alienation Zone” are many, but it is still interesting to watch.

In the story, a group of young people fall prey to an unscrupulous Internet wizard who came to visit to fix network outages, but quickly retreated, stealing from the safe a solid sum of money. The boys rush after him and find themselves… in the Pripyat of the past. The guys have to deal with what is happening, to save the city from the tragedy and survive a lot of unbelievable situations.

The series, of course, can be criticized for formulaic characters, questionable motivation and awkward borrowings from Silent Hill and “Lost”, but it’s better to just relax, turn off your brain and enjoy a rather entertaining story.

“Forbidden Zone (Chernobyl Diaries), 2012. Excursion to the wrong place

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

Here comes the first Chernobyl horror film in our selection. In 2012, the creators of the popular “Paranormal Phenomenon” made their film about Pripyat – despite the fact that many years have passed since the accident, in their vision of the exclusion zone is still better not to visit. In the story American tourists decide to diversify the leisure and go on an excursion closer to the nuclear power plant. But the area only looks deserted – in fact everywhere horrible creatures, which is better not to meet …

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You can pick on “The Forbidden Zone” endlessly: it’s full of clichés, the characters behave unimaginably stupid, and the intrigue melts before your eyes – but fans of mockumentaries and Pripyat fans will probably enjoy it. It is especially noteworthy that the male characters are voiced by the same dubbing actors as in the legendary S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

It had a lot of negative reviews, but many still liked it – on a budget of $1 million it grossed over $38 million.

“The Forbidden Zone, 2020. Our answer to Hollywood.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

Perhaps the success of the American painting of the same name so inspired the producers that they decided to shoot their own response to the adventures of the Yankees in Pripyat in Belarus. A couple of years before its premiere, the film won a state competition, received support and made its way to distribution a year ago. But was it worth it? In principle, yes.

In the story a group of young people goes on a hike and wanders into the exclusion zone. Alas, the first thing the guys witnessed someone else’s death, but at the same time and pocket a pretty penny. But after that, a nightmare begins to happen: someone clearly declared on the guys hunting. Who is it: a creepy monster, a maniac or one of the company? You will find out for yourself. You should not expect a fairy tale from the picture, but on the whole the viewing leaves positive impressions.

“After Chernobyl (Left Behind), 2021. Another mockumentary.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

On April 1, another mockumentary called “After Chernobyl” was released. In the story, ten years ago, a group of Americans went to Pripyat and… evaporated. One day, emergency workers found the camera, which told of the terrible plight of the tourists – of course, it’s all nightmares.

“After Chernobyl” does not pretend to much and instantly wears out of your head, but connoisseurs will probably be to their liking: there is the signature shaky camera, an amusing beginning, a brain-exploding finale, mysterious monsters and a good atmosphere – as an evening entertainment the picture will do.

“Brama,” 2017. Surrealistic Chernobyl.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

“Brama” is one of the most unusual pictures in our list: the drama here neighbors with absurdity, and ridiculous graphics with a good atmosphere and acting. At times the film almost drives you crazy with its surrealism, but the viewer, hungry for something atypical, will even like this style.

The story is about a woman named Prisya who lives in the exclusion zone, loves to chat with mermaids and eat hallucinogenic mushrooms, and who butchered 12 Nazis during the war. She also has magical powers, which one day predict disaster – Pripyat will face a new catastrophe. The story will make you both cringe at the ridiculousness and fall in love with the characters. The main thing is that the film has soul, which is why it has gathered a lot of fans.

“Moths,” 2013. Live to shine

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

“Moths” is a mini-series that may not be as expensive and spectacularly shot as HBO’s “Chernobyl,” but it evokes just as much emotion. The drama tells the story of a couple who fall in love at first sight and long for each other-they would be happy if they weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. Behind the rustic plot is a truly sensual story that reminds us that we are all just moths against the backdrop of a terrible catastrophe.

Many viewers refer to “The Moths” as our Titanic, and the comparison is indeed apt. To feel at least echoes of the Chernobyl tragedy and even cry, the mini-series fits perfectly.

“Land of Oblivion,” 2011. Poetry against the backdrop of death

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

This Franco-Ukrainian film starring Olga Kurylenko focuses not on the events of that fateful day, but on how much the residents of Pripyat lost: their lives, friends and loved ones and their hope for happiness. At the same time, the picture is sensually and poetically filmed and gives a good creep – not by monsters, but by a monstrous reality.

On April 26, 1986, the heroine of the film had her wedding, and right in the middle of the celebration, her newly married husband is drafted into the service. The viewer already knows how it ends, but the characters do not, which makes it all the more frightening. “Land of Oblivion” tells the story of several time periods in Anna’s life and makes it clear: no matter how many years pass, the wounds on the heart of the unfortunate will never heal.

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“Saturday,” 2011. A feast during the plague.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

“Saturday” is a drama that reminds us of the terrible mistakes made by the ruling elite. The main character of the film is a party worker who witnesses an accident at a nuclear power plant and learns the heartbreaking truth. His superiors tell him not to speak and not to sow panic, but his heart demands to save as many lives as possible…

Instead of running away or rescuing others, the hero hesitates, realizing that he is most likely already dead. Then he goes to the wedding and begins a tragic dance with death. Sure, the film has its problems – the characters’ decisions aren’t always logical, the feast during the plague looks awkward in places, and the Russians stereotypically fight radiation with vodka and horseradish – but it can’t take away its charm.

“Universal Soldier 3: Regeneration (2009). Van Damme hits the radiation with his foot

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

The Chernobyl tragedy is fertile ground for dramas, documentaries and horror films, but what about other genres? Well, in 2009 Jean-Claude Van Damme himself went to Pripyat and gave us quite a good action movie.

In the plot insidious terrorist kidnaps the children of the Prime Minister of Ukraine and seizes the nuclear power plant, threatening to cause more radioactive trouble. Who knows what the intrigues of the villains would have led to, if the old Jean-Claude was not on the side of good. “Universal Soldier 3” is traditionally full of nonsense, but the action helps to turn a blind eye to them: the shootouts and fights look very good.

“Aurora”, 2006. Is There Happiness in Life?

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

“Aurora” tells the story of a talented girl who loves dancing and dreams of becoming a ballerina – except that her fantasy is unlikely to come true: during an accident at a nuclear power plant she received a large dose of radiation. The only things that can save her are a lot of money, luck and kindness… Fortunately, Aurora one day meets a star of the ballet who is in despair – together they try to help each other.

It is worth noting that the film was directed for the Oscars and tried to please the jury as much as possible. Chernobyl is quickly forgotten, and the focus is on the fairy tale story of a girl. However, maybe this is exactly what many people need: after all, survivors need hope, and “Aurora” just gives it.

“Atomic Zone Ranger,” 1999. The Belarusian Rambo.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

In “Ranger from the Nuclear Zone” there is no trademark creepy atmosphere, drama, stalkers and monsters – the picture tells us that life goes on and even abandoned places one day become someone’s home. Except that this time the exclusion zone is inhabited by real thugs who do not give peace to the locals and do not leave the hope for a happy life. Luckily, a ranger rushes to the rescue.

Sure, the movie tells a clichéd story and the action leaves a lot to be desired, but if you miss old action movies like “Cool Walker” (Walker, Texas Ranger), look no further than “Atomic Zone Ranger.”

“Chernobyl: Final Warning,” 1991. Unremarkable Heroes.

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

The film is 30 years old, but it is still considered one of the best adaptations of the nuclear accident. Despite the outdated picture, it succeeds in telling the story of the heroism of the people who saved mankind. “Last Warning” concentrates on the exploits of doctors from all over the world, who eliminate the consequences of the tragedy.

The film is creepy and atmospheric and is suitable only for thoughtful viewing. At the same time, it captures what is happening instantly – and doesn’t let go until the finale.

“Stalker”, 1979. Seven years before the disaster

TOP-15 feature films and TV series about Chernobyl: scary horror films, cult series and great classics

In the story, a certain Stalker, in order to make some extra money, takes excursions to the Zone, a mysterious place where every now and then anomalies occur and people disappear – and also according to rumor, somewhere there is a room where any wishes come true… It’s even surprising that this synopsis refers to a film that was released seven years before the disaster.

There’s no point in talking about Andrei Tarkovsky’s film, because it’s a film you absolutely must see without reading any reviews or spoilers. The philosophical parable is deservedly considered one of the best creations in cinematic history – no wonder it has had such a significant impact on popular culture.

As you can see there are a lot of feature films and TV series about the Chernobyl accident and its consequences. We hope that you have found something interesting to watch and once again remember the events that took place exactly 35 years ago – still, it is better not to forget about some misfortunes. And you can also find out what would you have become in the Exclusion Zone?

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