Written Review - Shadows of the Damned
Suda51 is know for making some crazy games, Killer Seven and No More Heroes are out there in their own ways. Now Suda has returned in a team up with Shinji Mikami for the survival horror/dick joke hybrid, Shadows of the Damned. Is this a ride worth taking or will it only leave you at half mast?
As Garcia Hotspur, demon hunting extraordinaire, you've built up quite the reputation sending the hellspawn back where they belong. The top dead man Fleming has had enough so as an act of revenge he snatches the love of Garcia's life and steals her away to the underworld. With his trusty sidekick/guide/weapon, Johnson, Garcia's going demon hunting to get her back. Now some people have tried to call this a survival horror game because it's made in part by the same man responsible for Resident Evil, I wouldn't completely agree with giving it that title. Dead Space 2 was scarier than this. Shadows of the Damned is a demon destroying third person shooter blended with RPG upgrading, some light puzzle solving, and they threw in a couple shmup levels for good measure. Things get interesting when there's darkness involved, if you spend too much time in it without finding hearts or shooting a goat head, your health drops. Then you drop. Dead. All your weapons stem from holding your good demon/floating skull pal Johnson. As you progress and take out bosses they drop gems that Johnson can use to upgrade so that you can do things like shoot a hot load from your Hot Boner. I did not make that up. In a break from the pistol, assault rifle, and shotgun, there's even a turret level where you gotta take down giants so you break out the Big Boner. That you hold by your junk. I'm still not making this up.
There are some preconceived notions of what a game set in the 'underworld' should look like, and Shadows of the Damned pretty much goes in the opposite direction. According to Suda and Shinji Hell looks a lot like an old European city filled with colorful characters. The first time I laid eyes on a tall guy with horns and Doctor Octopus tentacles with eyes at the end I was pretty sure I was supposed to rock his world. Turned out he was the shopkeeper. Your path is lit by things called sushi lamps and One Eyed Willy drops steaming turds as if to say 'this way please.' At times you'll run through the darkness across the breasts of your tormented lover. Other times you run away from your tormented and possessed beloved in a forest after paying homage to Evil Dead. The more upgrades your weapons get the crazier they look, after awhile the Dentist assault rifle was sporting too many barrels to count as it homed in on the unfortunate undead. For as cool a world that has been created, there could be some higher polygon counts and there is a fair amount of texture popping, but all in all Shadows of the Damned is one big visual trip.