Shadows of the Damned is Grasshopper’s new 18+ game for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Grasshopper games is well regarded for making some of the most zany and mad games for a long while; the crazy Killer 7 and the recent No More Heroes games have nothing else like them, and Damned doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Shadows of the Damned stars Garcia “Hotspur” a demon hunter, soon after being taunted by a demon he arrives home to find his girlfriend Paula, being dragged to hell by Fleming the lord of the dead. Mocking Garcia’s “endowments” he chases after Fleming to get back his girl bringing his friend and weapon “Johnson”. If you haven’t noticed already from the excessive use of question marks, Damned runs rampant with innuendos and if they put you off you WILL have a hard time enjoying it. If you wish to avoid this sort of humour best to not read on.
Shadows of the Damned sits close to recent Resident evil game, using an over the shoulder camera angle and the necessity to hold the left trigger to aim. Damned only has one weapon and that’s “Johnson” your EX demon friend. “Johnson” an English voiced flying skull can assume multiple forms to help you fight against the swarms of undead, each with its own unique skill. “Hotboner” works as your standard pistol, while “Skull Crusher” acts as your shotgun. Each weapon plays differently earning a few extra abilities as you progress. “Johnson” can also be used as a charged up swing obliterating foes if they get to close.
As previously said Damned plays somewhat like a normal survival horror game, however it distances itself with its quick arcade feel; the quickness and pace of combat, the way Garcia moves, the quick zoom for one hit kill headshots, and the gigantic, diamonds that spew out of each kill.
Your opponents come in all different styles; big, small, spiky and feathery in some cases. Each needs a different game plan to take out. Many are afflicted by darkness: a constant threat in the game making them invincible. Darkness slowly eats away at Garcia and protects the undead, the only solution is to use “Johnson” and use a lightshot to remove it. For areas inflicted with darkness the lightshot is used on “goat statues”… yes much of the game doesn’t make much sense. Frequently bosses are introduced; these are my personal highlight of the game. Each boss store human blood feeding the ridiculous power, but leaving their “red human blood” exposed.
Presentation is everything in the Damned as every level is coated with references and visual mastery. Innuendos, visual gags, banter between Garcia and Johnson litter the game each is well made and enjoyable. Every so often posters and story books are discussed and read by the duo explain where or what something is, each story has the famous crazy and silly vibe that runs through many of grasshopper’s games. There are many situations in Damned that will freak you out, and as you’re in the underworld death is a common theme. Garcia is constantly taunted by Fleming dangling Paula in front of him, only for her to be mutilated or attack him moments later. This constantly put me on edge. I tend to not be phased by most horror or gore but at certain points the game knows how to push your buttons.
Levels frequently add something new; new enemies, new environment and on occasions new genre. Damned makes use of a side scrolling shooter intermission. The side scrolling paper like ascetics is lovely but this doesn’t flow over to the game play. These 2D sections proved irritating with enemies launching themselves at you from ALL directions. Normally this would be so bad; however the lack of temporary invulnerability leads to instant deaths on occasions. The lack of a 360 degree firing radius only adds to this issue.
Damned is a very linear experience, many doors need to be fed brains, eyes and … strawberries to progress and many areas use doors that are opened in a certain sequence. For the most part this is fun, however every so often you will climb a ladder only to discover you can’t climb back down. Letting you miss out on bonuses.
Currently no extra content is available with the game, and only needs a few tweaks to be perfect.
The game play is superb with its arcade like feel, gigantic bosses, and enjoyable intermissions. Each level offers something new leaving you with a flurry of conflicting emotions.
Packed full of references, unique style, demented visuals and downright childish but funny humour. The comedy won’t be for everyone but it is still “damned” funny. The game is also backed up by some of the best soundtracks I have heard.
Each level is great and enjoyable to replay, however the game lasts around 8 hours, with only easy, normal and hard to back up extra game modes. The game further drops giving the player no level select or new game plus, making the troublesome side scrolling section compulsory for replaying the later levels.
A masterpiece in terms of game play and presentation, with nothing else like it. Sadly the games arcade like feel didn’t leave scoreboards or level select, making the game tricky to replay and constantly enjoy.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.