A retrospective videogame review
Developed by Rainbow Studios, published by THQDeadly Creatures is a third party title for the Wii. A lot has ben written about supporting Third Parties in computer games, as these are the studios that take more creative risks with gameplay or premises. Rainbow Studios, part of THQ, took a big creative risk with Deadly Creatures, and it, mostly, paid off.
Deadly Creatures is a brawler and adventure game. You control a tarantula and a scorpion in alternating levels, exploring a vast desert landscape, while fighting other insects and pests, from small beetles, to rats, lizards, and even bigger, deadlier creatures...
What little story that is present in the game is quite good and told in an interesting manner. Two rednecks (voiced by acting heavyweights Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper) are looking for buried treasure in the desert. While you travel through a level, occasionally you will hear the pair walking overhead and talking, and this approach is cinematic and very immersive.
The game is at its best when it just lets you explore the world from the perspective of a bug. Some highlights include an upturned car and crawling through an occupied coffin which you leave by crawling through a skull. I found these touches fantastic and something as simple as a bike becomes bizarre and amazing at such a colossal scale. The game does well to hide its very linear level design, by having your path twist around itself as you explore the different areas. By adding collectibles, in the form of crickets and grubs, the exploration becomes rewarding and this was my favourite part of the game.
The two protagonists, if we can call them such, are actually very well characterized, through their movement and gameplay style. The scorpion is like a tank, big and strong, but slow and pondering and very defensive, while the tarantula, being much weaker and more timid of the world, has to rely on speed and agility, while using tricks and stealth to defeat enemies. These creatures also move incredibly realistically and, as someone with a mild fear of spiders, can be very intimidating and creepy. A female friend could play for no more than a few minutes, due to how realistically the spider moved.
However, if exploring is one half of the game, the other is the fighting, and this part I really hated. If you like challenging games, then this may be for you, as the bugs and creatures you face are not pushovers. They all have similar attacks to you and a lot of health. Each confrontation is a life or death moment. I played the game on Easy, simple because i was fed up of having my arse handed to me, and wanted to enjoy the dark, brooding atmosphere. The reason I kept losing these fights is simple; the controls suck. The lag between pressing a button and the movement is big and irritating, and the controls rely a lot on waggling and motion controls, which the game doesn't always register. The controls should have been tightened, but they weren't and this lets the game down.
The game also overuses quick time events. One particular sequence involved twelve (repeat TWELVE!!) moves. That's ridiculous! And if you get one wrong, you don't start at the beginning, you start about five minutes earlier, and have to walk all the way back to the damn section! Sorry for venting, but the developers used quick time events as a cheap and easy way to extend game play and try to add variety, but it is transparently lazy and frustratingly poor game design.
The graphics are good, but the game contains lots of glitches (notice I avoided saying bugs? I'm classy like that) Creatures hover in mid air, the camera can get lodged onto terrain, you yourself can get stuck in the scenery, and its frustrating and flow breaking when it happens.
In conclusion, despite my complaints, this game is worth experiencing. Its original, even if it doesn't quite work, and the levels and environments are really well designed and imaginative. Some parts of the game really have to be seen to be believed.
Summary: Try it, its worth it, and its more original and interesting then Killzone 2 or whatever.