1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg

I can think up plenty of reasons why trench warfare as a German soldier (or any other kind) might suck. Your world is a narrow strip of muddy land bordered by tall, impassable walls, the toxic stench of mustard gas pervades the hazy air, and those spiked helmets begin sounding like a really dumb idea after trying to edge past someone in a coffin-like passage.

Chalk up “eaten by metallic-looking dinosaurs” as the worst reason of them all.
 

 

In 1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg (translated as “the unknown war”), a free browser-based first-person game, a lone German mudfoot's only company within the trenches of World War I is the soft patter of raindrops — and the sheer terror of possibly encountering reptilian jaws of death around every blind turn. Goaded by a ragged scrap of paper to find a ladder, the player must traverse a maze of intersecting pathways to escape.

Yes, dinosaurs — namely, the "clever girl" raptor variety — prowl the ditches for your blood. Don't bother thinking up a reason for their presence; the game's drained color palette and claustrophobic structure instills a fear akin to Amnesia: The Dark Descent's less-is-more style of immersion. That's more than enough incentive to scurry in horror when some thing suddenly rounds the corner, dinosaur or not.

1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg

Just like in Amnesia, a lack of weaponry means avoidance and carefulness ensures survival. In a morbid twist to the brutality of war, players can harvest the limbs of fallen comrades as impromptu dino-snacks, affording a scant few seconds to edge past while the beast grotesquely feasts on a hand or foot that once belonged to your now-dead friends. Of course, a working rifle (along with a gas mask and flares) awaits your discovery somewhere in the gloom, but can you navigate the labyrinth without getting your face chomped off?

Ultimately, 1916 brings an interesting angle to the hell that is trench combat. It provides just enough displacement of a familiar setting for some palpably frightening moments. And, if anything, it answers the ever-important question, "What if dinosaurs showed up in WWI?" Consider that chapter of the mystery of life solved.

You can play 1916 on Kongregate, or, for a richer experience, download a full-screen version for free at the developer's official website