Review by UberSweet

Reviewed: 08/22/05

Comprehensive Death, Jr. Review

Overview: Death, Jr. is an action/platformer that is executed well, but not good enough. There are 17 levels, but the worlds share the same environments, which is dissapointing, but they're all very lush and detailed. The biggest problem with the game is its quirky camera, which can get frustrating during intense battles. But if you don't know what to expect from this game, think of a portable Ratchet & Clank. It's great fun, but a few flaws make it a good game, but not a great one.

Plot: Death, Jr.'s class and friends go on a field-trip to a museum, but DJ and his friends avoid the tour guide, and come across a box. DJ's friends consist of Pandora, a girl who loves to open boxes. Stigmartha, who when she gets nervous, she bleeds from her hands. Seep, a mutated kid in a glass jar on wheels. Smith & Weston, siamese twins conjoined at the head who gives DJ new weapons. Dead Guppy, whose, um, well, dead. Last, but not least, Death, Jr., the son of Death, who carries his training scythe where ever he goes. Although these characters are very intruiging, they aren't in the game long enough to be too charming and compelling. Anyway, Pandora kinds a box in the museum, but can't open it. To impress her, DJ opens it using his scythe. Unfortunatley for them, it unleashed demons throughout their world, and their leader, Moloch. It's good, but not great. 7.0

Gameplay: DJ has 8 weapons at his disposal, but you get a new one after every level you beat, until you get them all. All of the guns are very usefull, and different, offering for many ways to take down your enemies. DJ also has his scythe which is very strong in combat, and is used for some platforming segments. These segments are a nice way to break up the action, but the camera isn't suited for it, but it is still very solid. There are more than 15 enemies, and each act a little differently. You lock onto your enemies, and can hit the triangle button to do some rolling dodges. The action is great, it even rivals the intensity of Ratchet & Clank, but, yet again, the camera is not well suited for it. If Backbone could have made a game that adapts to the controls, not making the controls adapt to the game. 8.25

Sound: Very good, and pretty catchy. Backbone even made a limited edition version of the game so you can download the songs onto your PSP. If only they could have made boss battle music, or sounds effects when enemies break through walls. It makes everything a little less believable, but the music is very good. Also, even though there isn't much voice acting in the game, the voices match the characters wonderfully. The music really does fit the environments, which is nice. 7.5

Replayability: There are no unlockables that I know of, so there really is no incentive to play it again. There aren't even different difficulties. This means if you're looking for a game that keep you playing it even after beating it, then this isn't your game. But, it's a pretty lengthy game if you want to collect everything, and get a good rank on every level. It takes about 12 hours to complete, like Ratchet & Clank. 5.75

Graphics: All the environments for each world are very nice to look at, and have a very neat theme; they're all very original. All the character models look great, and even the enemies look great. Even fire effects look good; it's not just a half-baked game, you can see that a lot of effort was put into this area, and it really shows. Even your guns look very good, and have a funny look to them, especially C4 Hamsters. 8.0

Innovation: Although it does use Ratchet & Clank mechanics, the platforming in this game is very different. You only use your scythe at these segments, which are a breath of fresh air, and they are fun. And, even though the action segments aren't new, they are done so well, that it feels like you've never played something this good. I believe that this is because it's on a handheld, and something like this has never been done on one before. It's not perfect, but it is fun. 7.0

Controls: Great! The placement of each button are all placed in the perfect places, so it feels really easy to get right into. Square is scythe, circle uses the equiped weapon, triangle is the dodge-roll, and X is jump. The analoge nub is lets DJ move, and Up on the D-pad lets you select your weapon Ratchet & Clank style. Lastly, R lock onto enemies, and L auto-arranges the camera infront of DJ. It is all so perfect. 9.5

Difficulty: This game looks easy, but man is it hard. The platforming is hard, and the combat is even harder. There can be upto 5 different enemies you have to fight at once, and they all have their own unigue attacks. It's very hectic, and never slows down. It's fun, fast action, that any hardcore gamer should enjoy. 7.75

Tilt: Not too hot; the game gets way too hard, way too fast. The first level seems like a breeze, but then it gets exponentially harder, with more enemies, and harder ones. The platforming gets really hard once you progress. It isn't hard to learn how to play, but it is hard to master them. 6.5

Overall Score: 7.5, C

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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