There’s no doubting this game is a classic. Based on the SCP website, a user-created community wherein people contribute files on fictional paranormal/supernatural entities being contained by the SCP foundation in a secret facility, SCP Containment Breach puts you inside that facility and lets a whole bunch of those things loose to kill you.
Like a lot of horror media, what makes the game so effective is that it’s simple. Monsters are on the loose and it’s your job to escape. There’s a slightly round-about way of doing it, but it’s not overly complicated. To escape you’ll first need to find a control room to disable remote door control so that the SCP who started the breach – SCP-079 – won’t lock you out of its cell. Then you must talk to 079, a sentient AI computer, and it will agree to unlock exit gate B for you. Then, provided you have the clearance to do so, you can exit through there and either get nuked or shot by a helicopter.
Or you can skip 079 and try to escape through gate A, which has a different ending depending on if you contained SCP-106. I think this area has the accepted ending where you get taken away by Foundation personnel, and it is implied you are now considered an SCP for surviving all of that.
It doesn’t sound too hard on paper; There’s even a friendly SCP that upgrades all your items for you that effectively gives you free roam of the map if you get a high level keycard. But, erm, the thing is that the game is procedurally generated and also a bit janky.
To start, I do like the procedural generation for the same reason I like it in any other simplistic game; It spices up the formula just enough to keep the game replayable. Albeit, an obvious downside is a possibility of you getting really unlucky spawn seeds.
And then there’s the jank; The jank mostly being in the form of the game’s save system. If you play on the easiest difficulty you can save at any time by pressing F5, but it’s extremely easy to unintentionally trap yourself or get soft locked by doing so. Higher difficulties require you to save at terminals you find around the base which is better in that you can’t so easily get soft-locked, but is very tedious in a procedurally generated game where many environments look the same and can be easy to get lost in. Retracing your steps from your respawn point at a terminal will prove difficult at times, and not in a good way.
But the main highlight of this game is obviously the SCP’s. The main antagonist is 173 who only moves when you blink, which means you cannot break line of sight with it or you’ll instantly die. It’s a creative and fun SCP to be set up against. His backup is 106 who is an interdimensional old dude who will send you to another realm when he touches you. While in this realm you… might die. But you also might be able to escape. It’s quite randomised, so it’s a good idea to save when you see him coming.
One of the most intense SCP’s for me was 049 who is a plague-doctor that kills you with his touch. He is very fast, can open doors and will not give up on you. Initially, he will only spawn in his containment zone, which you can bypass with a specific item, but will eventually roam around like 173 and 106 if you go into the surveillance room to look at the cameras. There is an SCP in the game – a ring, if I recall – that makes you immune to his death touch and also lessens the effect of other hostile SCP’s.
Yes, inanimate objects are also SCP’s. There’s this skull that sends you to a concentration camp, a gas mask that sends you to yet another shadow dimension, a doorway into a forest that brings you out on the other side of the door, a weird insect that hugs the outside of your vision and a rubber duck that the staff keep around for morale purposes. They’re all fun to interact with, but on repeat playthroughs, there really isn’t a reason to visit most of them. The game is quite dated and thus a lot of the nuance behind these SCP’s, that can be read about on the website, merely boils down to “if you touch it you die”, and it’s just not fun to do more than once.
Out of all of them, 106 is probably my favourite in the game because, despite how annoying he is, you can actually recontain him so he isn’t an issue anymore. It’s a bit tedious, but the game feels so much different without having to worry about him phasing through a dimensional door to murder you.
And yet, despite there being all these weird SCP’s to interact with the sandbox and the procedural generation, the game does get repetitive quite quickly; Going down into the maintenance tunnels or into the basement where you have these sneaky moments are always good the first and second time around, but just so boring to do over and over again. I often found myself rushing to get through them and playing worse as a result. I think that has to do with the limitations of the game.
Overall, however, the game is pretty good. If you have the drive to escape and know what to do you can overcome the many obstacles. It’s definitely a game you have to learn, as it encourages you to manage all the SCP’s differently. So despite being dated quite poorly in some areas, I did have fun with it and would recommend this game to anyone who likes horror games. This has to be one of the most classic horror games ever released, after all, as I recall a time where I could not scroll through YouTube without a video of this game popping up.
BONUS REVIEW: SCP Containment Breach: Multiplayer
Yes, there is a multiplayer version of this game and, above all else, it highlights just how little this game was intended to be played in such a way. Instead of saving the game, F5 now sets your spawn point so it is easy to cheese encounters with SCP’s. A respawn mechanic intended to get around unintentional soft-locks also trivialises the game, as using it at any point removes all adverse effects from you and allows you to maintain your inventory if that option was enabled by the host. The challenge of the game evaporates and thusly the whole thing becomes about running around looking for high-level keycards to escape with.
Then there’s the PvP servers that give everyone different roles:
SCP players have to kill everyone in the facility.
MFT players have to kill all SCP’s and Class D personnel, and evacuate scientists.
Class D have to escape, respawn as soldiers and aid other survivors in escaping.
Scientists have to compete with Class D to escape, often pitting MFT and the soldiers against one and other.
If you have the right size lobby it is genuinely fun. But my biggest complaint is that I couldn’t find an option to mute other players, and I was often forced to listen to less than savoury things. Also, SCP’s are ludicrously overpowered which is both a compliment to the game and a problem that should (probably) be fixed.
Overall, I think playing with a small group of friends to escape, as in the single-player version, is better even though it does trivialise the difficulty. Fun for a little bit, but not something I enjoyed as much as playing solo. But if you did like playing solo, you might get a laugh or two out of this.