Review by beatchef

"A mixed bag... ...of bloody body parts"

Killer 7 is a mixed bag A mixed brown paper bag of bloody body parts. The game-play isn't all that fantastic, but like Metal Gear Solid or Eternal Darkness, it's the style, atmosphere and story that'll keep you going. The story is a weird mix of Fight Club, Sixth Sense, Memento, Metal Gear Solid, Leon and the Silent Hill series. Ghosts, skewed reality, disturbed hit-men, crazy characters, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, just general strangeness that makes you think. Although the graphics are in a comic-book style, the enemies very un-scary monsters and the blood is heavily pixellated, I think the reason why it's an 18 is more the downright freakishness of the story and puzzles that would give a young person nightmares. Everything is down to interpretation too like Silent Hill, on one hand the talking head in the tumble-dryer could be a quirky entity, on the other hand is it really someone murdered in the past, speaking because of the main character's psychosis?

The actual mechanics are like a cross between Resident Evil 4 and House of the Dead. That is to say, it's in 3rd person until you aim and fire, then its in 1st person FPS mode. The reason why it's like House of the Dead is that it's on rails and each enemy has a weak point on its body that you exploit. I have no idea why it's on rails. You press a button to make the character run along a set path, another button to make them turn around and the left analogue stick to choose branching paths to go through such as forks in corridors or multiple doors. It could easily have had a Devil May Cry type control system but I suppose some of the heavily stylised camera angles don't suit that, so they tried something different this time. You can switch between 6 personalities (Of the Killer 7) that have their different weapons, specials and unique abilites. It's like Mission Impossible but all in one body. You can only control the 7th member (and would only want to really) when one of the personalities dies and you have to go rescue them (Kinda like TMHT on the NES, retro fans).

The first person shooting parts are very slick and a lot of fun and each character has their own way of taking out enemies. The monsters are invisible and you are alerted by the noises they make. You then scan the area to see where they are and then kill them before they kill you. You'll probably stick with Dan as he's like Spike from Cowboy Bebop but has a magnum that is powerful, accurate and fast. He kicks a lot of ass in almost any situation, as do his specials, meanwhile everyone else is far too specialised, only dealing in sniping, close quarters or explosives. Spilling the blood of the monsters sucks it into some sort of vampiric device you carry on your person. Normal blood can refill your health bar or fuel your special moves, meanwhile thick blood, obtained by skillful shots can be used to upgrade stats on each of the personalities. The explosives man can't spill blood so although he does 1 hit and multiple kills, you can't gain experience or health with him.

So why is the gameplay not all that good? The FPS are few and far between and like Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, there's a lot of running around familiar territory going backwards and forwards finding items and putting them someone else, flicking switches and putting crests in walls. Very boring and frustrating, especially as in the PS2 version there's a lot of loading between doors. If possible, go for the Gamecube one as there's very little loading time, no slowdown (PS2 has some slowdown on frantic battles) and the textures are better.

Graphics and menu style are brilliantly executed, but that could be down to personal taste, it all depends if you enjoy cutout, graphic novel style graphics and cutting edge graphic design menus with shapechanging fonts and translucent matrix style mantras flowing in the background.

The sound effects and music are fantastic, from the jarring ghost noises (one you'll recognise from the scissor ghosts in DMC), to the vocoder speaking friendly ghosts, to the constantly changing emotive musical scores. A personal favourite is the intentionally sleazy and ridiculous dance music before meeting a boss.

In conclusion, a very stylish and thought provoking game that you'll remember for a very long time, just you'll have to endure some running around hitting switches parts to reap the rewards it contains. Which is a big shame as it could have been as good as RE4.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/18/05

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