Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (360) Review

A character with a red scarf who rules over hell?  No, this isn't Disgaea, it's Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit.  It stars a skeleton bunny named Ash who has the noble task of...retrieving some lewd pictures of himself and kill those that have them.  He'll also kill lots of other creatures on the way, just to be safe.

This is a very colorful game.  The bright colors are in a stark contrast to the dark nature of the game, and it works really well.  This makes it seem so lively and different than most games.  It's just oozing with character and looks unique, and the visuals just might be the best part of the game.  Even the over the top violence is so cheery looking that it almost seems wrong...almost.

I really like the music is Hell Yeah.  The vocal tracks are really nice and catchy, especially the shop music.  I also really like the music for the cute world, and it is also used as the ending credits theme.  A lot of the music in this game is catchy and perfectly fits the level they are used in.  There is no spoken dialogue, save the title screen, but I like that.  It feels like a throwback to older games.

Most of the time, Ash rides around in his death wheel, which can saw creatures to death and is equipped with a gun to shoot the out of reach monsters.  You get three basic types of guns.  Machine gun types that have rapid fire, rocket types that are strong but take longer to shoot and grenades.  I never actually needed or used the grenades, since they are limited.  The other two weapons refill quickly, and did the job fine.  The wheel jumps, as the game says, like a rocket pack, so you hold down the button longer to jump higher.  This works fine for the most part, but there are times when I would forget this and end up undershooting my platform.  I always prefer a double jump, but this works fine when you get used to it.

The Right Trigger (RT) will spin the wheel or shoot the gun if used in conjunction with the right stick.  Considering how few buttons are actually used in the game, you think they could be separate buttons.  I had some trouble jumping and shooting, since hitting the stick and RT at the same time would not shoot, but use the saw.  You can also grind your way through rocks, but sometimes it was hard to stick to them while grinding up.  There were also several times I felt the hitboxes were borked.  I ended up killing more monsters because I would get hit while trying to jump over them, whether or not you were that close to it.  It ended up being easier to just kill everything and not try to be fancy.  You get a fair amount of health, but stumbling upon a random spike would result in instant death.  Very old school, but also annoying since sometimes you can't always see the spikes until it's too late.  Ash also seems to get slippery on the edge of ledges, which would either screw up your platforming or drop you to your death.

Occasionally, there are parts where you must go sans wheel.  You are just a rabbit on foot.  You can't attack but you get the double jump that I wanted in the wheel.  Another use for Ash's jump is if you hold the button, he can bounce off of walls.  I did this numerous times on accident, and it irked me.  I tended to hold the jump button down when jumping, simply because using the wheel trained me to do that.  To me, using the wall jump where you had to use it was a crap shoot, since it never seemed to go how I wanted it to.  I would either end on the wrong side of the shaft you can bounce up, or I landed on the edge and slid back down before I could get my bearings.  Needless to say, it added some frustrations.

As mentioned earlier, Ash is tracking down monster that may or may not have anything to do with his missing pictures, and kill them.  There are 101 to kill, to be exact.  After each is damaged enough, there is a mini-game that is used to kill them in some overblown way.  There's maybe 10 or so unique animations, but most are enjoyable multiple times.  They are definitely over the top, and pretty gory.  Well, cutesy-gory, if that even makes sense.  Most of the mini games to actually get the kill are fine, but several can be over before you figure out what to do.  If you have played any of the Wario Ware games, they are like that.  Most have generous time limits, but there are a few that can get pretty aggravating (steal the honey, I'm looking at you).  Overall, they aren't that bad, but you may die a few times while trying to figure them out.

Luckily, death carries no real penalty other than losing whatever money you gathered since the last check point.  It saves fairly frequently, too.  It can be annoying when you have to travel back a fair distance to where you were when you died, but it could have been much worse.  Boss fights will have to be repeated fully, though this wasn't a problem after the first boss.  There were a few times where the difficulty spiked, which lead to more deaths and more aggravation.  These stood out to me, since most of the game is fairly relaxed.

In addition to being in the wheel and on foot, there are a couple of sections where Ash pilots a vehicle, like a submarine or a space ship, or even jumps into a turret to gun down his monstrous victims.  These are nice, since they break up the normal gameplay with something a little different.  They weren't the best sections, but they weren't very long, either.  A nice distraction from the main game, and a welcome addition.

Another thing thrown in are missions given by the future version of yourself.  While that part is cool, the missions themselves were not very fun.  Most are self-explanatory, like collect all the red "coins" or kill x amount of monster in y time.  There isn't a lot of leeway in them, so you better practice them to have a chance.  The worst ones involve doing tricks.  They list the button combination, sure, but they don't tell you that you need lots of height to pull them off.  That coupled with the fact you start falling faster after a bit makes it annoying to figure out.  They also have you do them where there are lots of obstacles in the way.  I really hated most of the missions I tried, so I just did the first ten I could for the achievement and ignored the rest.

Overall, Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is very unique game in several ways.  It was enjoyable, even if some parts were really frustrating and the missions were terrible.  It has a gory charm all its own, and while not a short game, doesn't take as long to finish as it would initially seem.  If you like achievements, it was a fairly painless 400 and can be done easily in a week.   I got it for half off on sale, and it was worth the $7.50 to me.  Although, I don't see myself buying the DLC at all.  If you like quirky games, gory games or platformers, give the demo a shot to see you like it too.

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