Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick review

I bought Evil Dead: AFOB used a few months ago and never got around to playing it. Instead I got myself all into SSX 3 again. But with some time on my hands this past week I thought I crack out Ash, and a hoard of deadites for some gory dismembering fun. Unfortunately this game falls more than a little flat. I love the Evil Dead films, but this game does not live up to the legacy. Don't get me wrong, there are moments here that are fun, but on the whole it just wasn't that great an experience.

The game is too short. With 6 levels I beat the game in 3 short sittings. The level design isn't varied enough, nor does it have the detail that would make this more visually interesting. Of the 6 levels total, 4 of them are the exact same environment only with different "skins". The character design is fairly decent, and the mechanics are surprisingly good, despite a few small camera issues. I liked the variety of weapons and their different implementations too. In fact the entire combat system was decent, not amazing, but pretty solid. My biggest gripe with the game though comes in the enemy layout (if you can call it that). See, enemies either come from one of two places, spiraling vortexes leading to some neither dimension or out of specific spots in the ground. The point is that they are only from, and only hang out, in specific areas. Also they are continually regenerating. So what this means is that you can never actually clear a level. The spaces are large, and you can make you way through vast open already finished areas only to all of a sudden be sprung upon by 10 deadites at once. While sometimes being surrounded in a crowd of zombies is great fun, it's not a fantastic experience when it's almost every encounter and you can't predict where it will come from. 3rd person action games with preset enemy positions are much more satisfying. I like the feeling of clearing a level and knowing I don't have to be worries about backtracking if I want to. This game involved much back and forth, but I just didn't feel like I was really getting anywhere. Ultimately the best strategy was to just run through the game and try to accomplish the objectives are quickly as possible lest you run out of ammo. Couple that with the patheticly bad boss battles and it leads to a somewhat unsatisfying experience.

Still, that all said, it is a good amount of fun to shred limbs off your opponents with a chainsaw. This is the middle of three Evil Dead games from THQ. I'd like to try the new one Evil Dead Regeneration to see if they managed to improve the gameplay. At least it's something to tide us fans over until Rami stops making Spider-man films and gets back to his roots. Fistful of Boomstick might be worth a rental but don't buy it. The game is too short, has too many annoying enemy situations, and if it weren't for the good license and the sometimes funny dialogue, with Bruce Campbell reprising his role, this wouldn't be worth a second glance. I'd say really only bother if you're already into this Evil Dead story. Otherwise there are much better games out there.


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