Bizarre creatures, gates guarded by baby-faced sentries, foul mouthed crows, gigantic bosses and a gun named Johnson. Is this madness? Nope, its what the Japanese call Tuesday. From the twisted, warped minds of Shinji “Resident Evil” Mikami and Suda “No More Heroes” 51, comes one of the strangest action games to grace our screens this year.
As Garcia Hotspur, a demon hunting warrior with enough Latino stereotypes to make a luchadore wrestling match feel like a German patriotism parade, players will journey into the depths of hell to rescue their beloved Paula, snatched away by the Lord of demons himself, Fleming.
Accompanied by his rather nervous and knowledgeable demon tool, Johnson, Garcia will have to fight his way through the twisted landscape, slaying the damned and numerous sub-bosses along the way.
Its no doubt littered with B movie homage’s and influences, but Shadows of the Damned embraces those roots so deeply, that it often comes in danger of lowering itself into a gratuitous pit of relentless carnage without substance. Fortunately, this dog has some bite.
Playing primarily as a third-person shooter, players will be navigating through linear levels blasting demons along the way. While Garcia will take every opportunity he has to remind players that he’s a MexiCAN, his rogues gallery carries a lot more variety, presenting players with some interesting ideas and challenges. You’ll face the usual generic grunts, mindless zombies with murder on their minds, to more esoteric foes such as hillbilly massacre maniacs and twisted divas who throw deadly musical solos at you.
More powerful demons wear their weaknesses out in the open, and require you to pinpoint target them if you want to survive, resulting in some stages that require you to solve the puzzle of demon-killing.
To battle these demons, you’re going to need some decent firepower, and that’s where Johnson comes in. The jittery skull can transform into various weapons as you progress through the game, defeating the various bosses, and can be further upgraded with red gems that are scattered throughout the levels. While he spends most of the time in between fights as a handy torch/melee weapon, he can transform himself into the default revolver, shotgun, machine gun or explosives launcher. Red gems can also be bought from the friendly half-demon, half-man creature known as Christopher, a hillbilly in hell who will gladly vomit up upgrades, ammo and health for the right price.
Each of these weapons have their own exotic
pun name, such as the machine gun being labelled the “Teether” or the explosive weapon being called “Hot Boner”. Its childish and puerile, but if you’re playing this game, you’re in it for the action and laughs, even though the dialogue can become a little stale after a while.
Shadows of the Damned was reviewed by Darryn Bonthuys
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