Review by ShinKungFuMan

"Not the Best Game, But Still Very Good"

"Evil Dead" and video games are two things that have had a hard time working in the past. They're kinda like a movie with your favorite actor that ends up flopping horribly: you want to love the film, you want to ride it to the conclusion, but you just can't bring yourself to do it. Regeneration at the very least, seems to break this little curse, and prove that third time is definitely a charm.

Gameplay

Gameplay is actually very straightforward, but at the same time a little bit on a fixed track: additional weapons and weapon improvements (even Evil Ash mode, a sort of 'bullet time'/'berserker' mode with a twist) tend to actually be force-fed to you to progress the story, not something you go explore and find. But it's not that bad actually: you're giving some freedom with them, and can actually have fun utilizing weapons such as the hookshot on enemies to create some tactical advantage between you and them.

Also to note that the two weapon system is still very present (one weapon being short range a la the chainsaw, the other long range like the shotgun). The targeting system too lends an overall good hand to the mix (though glitched at times) lets you lock on and fire away, while sidestepping out of the path of anything coming at you. Might I also mention that infinite ammo on both weapons actually works out very well in the overall gameplay? And the finishing moves + combos definitely improve things along.

Lastly, there's your little pal Sam. Useful mainly for puzzles, Sam can be useful to just help clear out some lesser foes by kicking him onto their heads, in which case he'll attempt to decapitate them. Plus, he doesn't stay dead if he dies, which is useful given his AI can be screwy at times during the 'escort' bits...

...which brings us to one major complaint: the game's glitchy as hell. Sam will sometimes get his AI screwed up and start running in a circle (and during escort bits, you can't kick or kill him to get him to act normally...). Enemy AI can be muddled up too: monsters at times get stuck in the walls, making them difficult to kill even though they're obvious trying to kill *you*. Floors have a nasty habit of disappearing at odd times too for some bits if too much is in the system's ram, notably at the harbor, so save often, lest you get caught in one of these fun little bits.

The game is both short and on the verge of repetitive by the time you get to the last 'peepers' and have to go find some souls to get through it's gateway. Again. But thankfully, it stops this practice just before it gets too typical for the game, not stomping too much on the fun. The extras are a whole different story: while you have the useful health and rage bar increases, there's also some very useless necronomicon pages available for you to find. What does finding these do, you ask? Unlock video extras featuring Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi.

While I love these two actors as much as the next guy, I don't love them enough to go hunting down every single page, as most of these clips are rather pointless overall. Why couldn't they have included a minigame or two instead? Just please sir, we want some more (than this). 7.5/10

Story

Well, not much one can say here without spoiling too much, but the story is definitely worthwhile without being too cliche, and makes for a good afternote to Evil Dead II. The game holds your hand through a lot of it though, pressing the problem that you're basically stuck clearing out all monsters until you can finally get to the next part at times, but hey, that's the backbone for many games. 8.5/10

Video

The game *really* works on giving a deep sense of mood here via the backgrounds and atmospherics. Fog's used as it should be in the destroyed town stage: for effect, not to hide so much. Enemy models tend to be varied enough that you get a sense you really are fighting a whole horde of the undead, not just the same bland enemies. This is one of the game's shining points for sure. 9/10

Sound

Everything sounds extremely vibrant too, which does nothing but help the effect the graphics wish to impart on the player. Ash's enemy taunts, while toned down, tend to do very well and be varied enough that you don't get too much repetition before you ultimately beat the game. Same goes for the banter between him and Sam, some of which involving funny little stories regarding Sam's past before becoming a half deadite.

There is one flaw here though: when you possess Sam, at times Ash and him will still be talking to each other, but Sam's voice will get quieter and quieter as you get farther away from Ash...this is definitely a glaring programming error. 8.5/10

Replay Value

There isn't a whole lot: the game's so linear when you've beaten it, you've beaten it. You do at least get the option to replay certain levels with your current life/rage bar if you wish to, though the rage bar is unavailable until after the second level, same for related weapons. That'll annoy some folks for sure. And as I mentioned, the necronomicon pages...not really worth tracking down. 8/10

Overall

Overall this is the best Evil Dead game, and one of the better in the survival horror genre even with its flaws. You can pick it up rather cheap too, for $20 or less, at most retailers. Either way, it's worth at least playing once, even if you do toss it aside later. The game is definitely Kung Fu Approved.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/16/06


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