I am a huge fan of the Evil Dead series. The perfect blend of movie style with a steady dose of horror and more than plentiful slapstick humor. The main character; Ash voiced by Bruce Campbell has to be one of the top ten heroes of all time as the witty boomstick shooting, chainsaw waving good guy. I had not played any of the previous Evil Dead games for Playstation or other systems, but however I was automatically sold when I saw this title in the Circuit City c…earance bin. What a time I had with the game.
Horror games tend to suffer from too much dark, not enough light. They often think it adds to the ambience of the game, however in fact it takes away from it. When you can’t make out where the heck the door is; it leads to frustrating moments not innovative gameplay. Thankfully, Evil Dead Regeneration is different. Yes the game is murky, yes it can even be dark. However, I never found it too dark or unable to make things out. Everything was plain view and nicely detailed. Ash is easy to pick out and so are enemies. Nothing feels hidden here unless it needs to be (unlocks or what not). The detail is also very nice as the Deadites all give you the vision of the creepy crawlies that one might expect.
Sound is perhaps the only arena where Evil Dead takes a bit of a mis-step. The background music you hardly notice as it seems to be a few simple tones. It of course picks up at right times and such but it never seems overpowering or uplifting. However, where the audio really shines is the outrageous banter between Ash and his half-deadite chum: Sam. Both are hilarious, and how they constantly bicker between each other is something another film should be made over. It really is that good and not very repetitive. The only little minor quip is that Ash seems to get in less lines than Sam. However, this is a great joy to listen to and rescues the Audio portion of the score.
In Evil Dead Regeneration, the story is essentially placed after the end of Evil Dead 2 where instead of being transported to medevial times for Army of Darkness, he instead is found in the cabin with all of these bloodied corpses. He is then of course shipped off to the local aslyum to continue the plot. From here, a strange turns of events leads to him escaping and hence the game. Your attacks as Ash are varied and constantly expanding. Ash only starts out with little stubby (not Sam, his arm) and then quickly obtains a little pea shooter (again not Sam). From here he gets more instruments of destruction, such as his trusty chainsaw and shotgun to more elaborate weapons like a bomb lance, harpoon gun, and a flame thrower. Sam, your little half dead-ite friend has attacks of his own, including the ability for you and him to act together in combos. The great thing about Sam is he’s not defenseless and can defeat monsters for you. And if he dies, then so what…just wait and he comes back to life in several seconds.
The only time when using Sam becomes a bit annoying is when you have to control him to preform certain functions as find switches to open, clear passageways or my favorite – ride on top of huge dead-ites and destroy things. He tends to get himself killed a lot and you will replay these parts sometimes even more than the boss fights. Ash’s control for the most part is well done as combos are easily figured out and attacking is a breeze. The only difficult part has to do with the targeting when using any of the guns. There is an automatic and a manual targeting feature. However, when the enemies are vast; targeting will focus on one creature and its sometimes hard to shake it off that creature (especially when its a ground dead-ite and flying ones are all over you).
Be warned all those who play this game, this game is on the short side. For the first time in a while, I finished a game that was not sports related in a mere weekend. About 10-15 hours worth. That could be because this game has one of the things I always preach about…frequent or well placed save points or it just isn’t that hard. The puzzles that are placed around the various levels are often more tasking than any boss you will find. The game tends to be so well layed out that it actually comes off a lot easier than it seems to be. But if it were any harder, it might not be as fun.
As mentioned this game is relatively short. There is a little unlocking as in all games these days . There is increasing your life and rage meters to make the bosses easier to deal with. Also, there is pages of the Necronomicon to find which unlocks extra content such as talking with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and concept art and things of the like. After playing the game the first time around, I found 14 of the 20 pages. I’m not so sure I will be playing it again to find the other six pages. More than likely I’ll be playing it again because of the action, the sheer fun of the game, and the ability to kick dead-ite butt!
Evil Dead Regeneration proves that a game doesn’t have to be overally hard or complex to be a rich and rewarding experience. It draws from a great background, and delivers with action, humor, and more satsifying chainsaw combos than you can wave a boomstick at. Its only flaws seem to be manual targeting and Sam’s frequent dying once you take control of him. Take that out of the equation, toss in a few more levels and you would have possibly the perfect adventure game. Tag that on to the fact that you can find this game at below budget level prices and it becomes a must own. So hail to the king and give this some game some much needed sugar.