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About the product
- Take the role of a demon hunter and travel to the depths of hell to save your one true love
- Violent, gruesome, fast-paced battles in a psychologically disturbing survival-horror setting
- Created in collaboration between Suda51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil)
- Psychologically Twisted, Visceral Combat - Rip apart the forces of the damned using an array of upgradable weapons and survive the ultimate head trip
- Heart-Wrenching Storyline - A love lost and the journey through hell to get her back are the backdrop for this warped tale
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His name is Garcia Hotspur, hunter of demons, and his wrath will bring hell to its knees. From the creative genius of Suda 51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) comes an all-new psychologically twisted vision of hell unlike anything seen before. Shadows of the Damned combines visceral grindhouse-style action with dark, grotesque horror to create a mind-shattering adventure that has to been seen to be believed. When evil demonic creatures kidnap Garcia’s girlfriend, it’s up to him to travel to the City of the Damned to get her back. Aided by a former demon with the ability to transform into an array of vicious weapons, Garcia will once again take on the mantel of “demon hunter” and rip apart the horrifying forces of the underworld to protect what he loves most. Players must harness the power of the light to fight the army of the dark in unique light versus darkness gameplay that will forever change the way gamers perceive puzzles, combat, and terror. Combining the punk rock style of Suda 51 with the legendary horror design of Shinji Mikami, Shadows of the Damned will take gamers on an in-your-face thrill ride through demon-torn towns, shadow infested forests, grimy sewers and more. Featuring the most twisted boss battles ever seen, warped visuals and intense visceral combat, Shadows of the Damned will challenge gamers to break through the ultimate head-trip to help Garcia rescue his tortured girlfriend from the clutches of a mysterious enemy. Brace yourself for one hell of a trip to the city of the damned.
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The game contains 5 acts (each having 4-6 sub-acts) with multiple sub-bosses and bosses per act.
Gameplay: It's a third person shooter with some melee button mashing in between. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It is one of the few games that give a good back story to the main characters, but also the bosses as well. Defeating enemies depends on your skill and the gun you chose. You can go for a headshot (quick kill), take out their legs and they drag themselves toward you (ala Black Knight [Monty Python ref.]), or blow their arms off so that they can jump kick you to death. There are multiple points of hilarious dialogue (mostly sexual and low-brow, but still clever). The game also takes a spin-off levels like a paper puppet level ala Raiden.
Graphics: There are reviews saying that the look of this game looks dated, but I don't personally care as long as it's fun and keeps my attention. Each sub-act is a new area with a different look and set-up that reminds me of a few horror flicks. You go through a Spanish city, a bell tower, swamps, etc. and each has a different eerie feel to each one (except the Vegas-like, red-light district).
Sounds: I have to applaud Akira Yamaoka on the various tracks used in the game. You will have a heavy acoustic guitar strumming at the beginning, rock in other areas, light jazz in others, opera, mariachi, interspersed Japanese music, and even rap. The voice acting is really well done.
-Steve Blum (voice of Wolverine, Grayson Hunt [Bulletstorm], and Orochimaru [Naruto]) is the voice actor for Garcia Hotspur. It seems any good game with an antihero character ends up with Blum with the lead role (not complaining at all).
Weapons: You start with your basic handgun (the "Boner" [pfft.]) which is eventually upgraded ("Hotboner" [shoots balls that explode when shot at] and "Big Boner" [bwahahahaha!]) by defeating particular bosses. Along with a shotgun weapon that shoots skulls ("Monocussioner") that is upgraded for more capacity ("Skullcussioner"), then a four way shotgun ("Skullfest 9000"), and a charged skull bomb ("Skullblaster"). You also have a machine gun (the "Teether") which can be upgraded to a multiple barrel machine gun ("Teethgrinder") and a homing weapon (the "Dentist").
Drinks: Alcohol will actually HEAL your character. You start off with hot sake (30 HP), but will eventually get tequila (70 HP), then absinthe (200 HP).
Darkness: Apparently, long exposure to hell's darkness can eat the flesh off our hero. There are a few ways to stop it that include collecting human hearts, lighting the area with a lamp or goat head, or frequently drinking alcohol to keep your health up.
Upgrades: Upgrading your weapons and health can be done only red gems. They can be found scattered throughout the level or you can buy them using white gems from Christopher. The difficulty of the game will increase the gems price along with the difficulty level.
Christopher: The half-demon and half-human that decides to help you out by selling ammo, drinks, and red gems in exchange for white gems (game currency) that are left by enemies or breakable objects or hidden throughout the level. You will notice his trademark flowers that let you know he is nearby or he has left goodies for you to use.
-I actually missed some important details that forced me to play the game again in order to catch. You have the option of reading posters that enhance the story, but the game nor the manual pointed this out.
-There are breakable objects in the game that contain gems or drinks that was never mentioned about during the game or the manual. On the same note, I can break crates with bullets but not my melee attacks?
-Healing yourself involves holding 2 buttons (triangle + d-pad for PS3) which is a pain at times during battles. Only good point is that drinking once will allow you to use the same drink again at anytime with the L2 button for PS3.
-You cannot skip the intro credits for the creators (with particular focus on Suda51), while Shinji Mikamai and Akira Tamaoka you can skip.
Overall: Excellent game that should have been marketed more and deserves some recognition. Suda51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) have created a game that is an automatic classic in my book. The game took 8-12 hours to finish. Replay value is on the low to medium side since it does focus on a single player campaign with no online play. You can still look for trophies or try a different difficulty, plus I believe there is hidden content and extra levels in the game (especially in act 5) that you can unlock.
Personal Thoughts on the game:
-I went to multiple retailers (Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy) looking for this game and each place didn't have any on the opening day (it wasn't sold out, they apparently never heard of the game)! I had to get it at Gamestop, and it was the only copy they had! This game was created by well-known makers, and they blow it off since it wasn't marketed as much as Brink or Duke Nukem or Hunted.
-I had to laugh when you shoot in the paper puppet levels (pyu-pyu anyone?).
-I swear that the music during the load time between levels sounds very similar to the music of the old Scooby-doo cartoons.
-A game that promotes drinking absinthe, a black licorice liquor that is so bitter that it sucks all the moisture in your mouth, as the ultimate healing item. Really?
-The Big Boner is only used in the red-light district level (go figure, huh..). Remember that face shots are preferred.
-There are hilarious death scenes in the red-light district level.
-READ the credits at the end, it has a few jokes and funny lines.
-The game rips on Disney, video gamers, and the game itself that I thoroughly enjoyed.
My favorite joke in this game:
Garcia: "What does "Moor pu dekcuf" mean?"
Johnson: "Must be a joke from the designers."
You'll be playing as Garcia Hotspur an illiterate and I quote "Mexi-Can" demon hunter (stereotypes galore). His partner is "Johnson" an escape demon skull that changes into different weapons for your disposal. Garcia goes to hell to chase down his girlfriend "Paula" who has been abducted by the demon king "Flemming". It gets pretty weird and nonsensical once the story unfolds. Like I mentioned the story is pretty much half-hearted with lots of crude humor and tons of sexual innuendos from everyone.
What I didn't enjoy was some of the games mechanics. First the game is actually pretty short after your first play through. There's only 3 types of guns in the game, a hand gun, machine gun, and shot gun. You do get to upgrade them three times though so its sorta 9 different guns. There's a lot of elements in the game where I thought was completely cheap. For example the game implements darkness which the screen turns black/bluish draining your life away. The only way to get away is to shoot goat heads to light the area up or just get out of the darkness. Way too many of this. The boss battles are way too drawn out, especially when playing on the harder difficulties. The game doesn't flow right either because there's too many times when you're locked in a corner and have to kill X amount of enemies. There's also sections where you're repeating the same elements over and over again such as the 2d side scrolling section or the "Big Boner" section (yes you read right). There also seems to be a glitch with the aiming reticule, often times I had to aim a little to left to hit a mark. This is especially the case when you're aiming at a red orb attached to an enemy. I was also surprise that a game like this doesn't have New game+. So all the hard work you played in a previous game upgrading doesn't carry over if you start a new game. If you're into trophies I was also surprise that when you beat the game on Legion (Hard) you won't receive the easy and normal trophy. In other words if you want to get all trophies you'll have to be the game 3 times on each difficulty. I do love the sound track though but that's only because I like Akira Yamaoka famous for his Silent Hill tunes. In fact everything about this soundtrack reminded me so much of Silent Hill.
All in all this game is okay and only okay. I can see why it didn't do too well in terms of sales. It's a very niche game that will appeal only to some. I had fun playing but spent more times being irritated by its cheap game mechanics. The story never got me interested or thrilling just sorta humored me in a lethargic way. I wouldn't recommend this if you had to pay full price, but its an okay deviation while waiting for those AAA games.
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