Previews// Shadows of the Damned

Posted 22 Apr 2011 09:50 by
If there?s one thing SUDA 51 is renowned for, it?s for his brilliant punk-rock influences, injected into pretty much every project he touches these days.

If there?s a second thing, it would have to be the extreme violence that can be seen in games such as Killer 7 and No More Heroes. So for the man to team up with Resident Evil?s Shinji Mikami sounds like a match made in heaven.

Or hell, as the case may be, because Shadows of the Damned sees you control demon hunter Garcia Hotspur as he travels through the underworld to rescue his kidnapped love, Paula. The premise is all a bit Dante?s Inferno, with a heavy rock and roll vibe - Garcia sports leather jackets and rides a motorbike, while the presentation is something you?d expect from a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez flick.

As much as there are influences from outside sources, this game also clearly has the stamp of both Mikami and SUDA 51 - from the over-the-shoulder third-person viewpoint made popular in Resident Evil 4 to the cutting and sometimes-blue dialogue that you?ll remember from No More Heroes. Couple this with a dash of Gears of War-style handling and aiming, chuck in some zombies and you have one rather playable game here.

Against green skies, brown and murky alleyways and blood-stained market stalls, you travel from room to room fighting undead minions and clearing the path for you to continue your journey. At first you?ll have to deal with the slow-moving zombies with beaming red eyes that glow in the dark, but over the course of the opening stage you?ll see enemies with spikes all over their bodies and even baddies with flip-top heads that shoot projectiles at you.

You can, of course, melee your way past these foes, but the only real way to kill them without losing too much health is by using a combination of light bullets and regular gun ammunition. This is where your companion comes into play - Johnson is a British-talking skull that sits atop of Garcia?s flaming torch, and can transform into a variety of punishing weapons at will.

The second you hit the aiming trigger, Johnson immediately forms into whatever gun you currently have selected (via the d-pad). I was able to choose from three different guns - a quick-fire pistol called the Boner (tee hee); a machine gun known as the Teether and a shotgun titled the Monocussioner.

The twist with these weapons is that ammunition can be found from the corpses of your defeated enemies - bones, teeth and skulls are all used to blow the limbs off of zombies, so you?ll need to hunt around for their body parts wherever possible. Waste not, want not after all.
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