You know a game's doing something right when it makes you scared of your own footsteps.
Creeping through the perennial inky gloom, armed with only a rusty pipe, a failing torch and some palpitating hallucinations, you know only one thing: they're out there somewhere.
Where and when they come is moot. With that seed of certain uncertainty firmly planted in your head, Condemned keeps you on tenterhooks for hours on end as you inch your way closer to the source of all this unpleasant madness. With its perpetual grip on suspense giving way to increasingly frantic close encounters, it's an ebb and flow that drags you through - probably by a rusty, disease-ridden hook.
To begin with, you're just another undervalued FBI agent scouting around a dark, dank and low-down building on the trail of a serial killer. But quickly the tables are turned, your gun is stolen and suddenly you find yourself blamed for the murder of two fellow officers. Realising that no-one will believe what really happened, you take the law into your own hands and follow the trail of evidence to the source of this thickening plot.
Right from the opening minutes, the template for the game's design is firmly established. Your first priority is to track down any evidence that's lying around, and thanks to Thomas' hi-tech equipment, you're able to gather all manner of important trace elements that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.
Available automatically (with no bothersome inventory selection procedure to wade through), you'll get to wave a UV Light (to detect blood traces), a Laser Light (for finger prints, fluids, etc), a Gas Spectrometer (to find the source of an odor), as well as Collection Tools comprised of a Sampler (to determine the chemical make up), 3D Scanner (for fingerprints, wounds, etc) and the all-important Digital Camera. Presumably Thomas has a sizeable backpack for all this gear - he's part Sherlock Holmes, part Inspector Gadget with all this lot to lug around.