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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deadly Creatures

You know what brilliant game design is? It's making people want something they never even thought of before.

I hate spiders. Whenever I come across one of those nasty black ones in my house, I suck it up with the vacuum. I don't mind watching a documentary about spiders, and tarantulas are interesting-looking-- behind a glass terrarium-- but I sure as hell don't want to hold one.

So I never ever thought, "Geez, what the videogame industry really needs is a good arachnid simulator".

When Deadly Creatures was first announced for the Wii, all this came to mind, and I immediately thought I'd skip this one. Not for me. But as I heard & saw more of it, it really intrigued me. The "Arachnid sim" genre may be pretty niche, but there are lots of gamers like me who enjoy good action/brawler titles.

The point of Deadly Creatures IS to be creepy. It's a somewhat more suspenseful brawler that's slower-paced, with flashes of fast action combat. The music & dark look of the game all play into the creepy aspect of being spider-sized and how the insects & lizards are brutal dangerous animals on that scale.

I've only played a bit over an hour into the game, but so far it's impressive. The graphics look great; the spider crawls along just like a spider should. You also play a scorpion and that looks good too. So far I've only been scurrying through little tunnels & crevices in the desert, but it all looks really good.

My big issues are the combat... it is a bit sluggish & tank-like. The spider is more agile than the scorpion, but I find myself often missing when trying to do a jump attack. Controls are a bit clunky. New moves are unlocked as you progress & collect grubs, but I'm finding that there are too many moves to be able to use them in a battle. Maybe as I get more familiar with the controls I'll find them more useful.

And there's really not much of a story to the game. Spiders & scorpions don't have a lot of motivation other than to hunt prey & kill enemies, so that basically seems to be the gist of it. There is a bit of a story about some humans, but so far it hasn't involved the bugs, they are simply observers.

Deadly Creatures is one of the most original game ideas I've ever heard of, and it's handled fairly well. A sequel could really polish the idea up.

Gamespot Deadly Creatures gameplay video:


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