Deadly Creatures Review: Down And Dirty
If, as a child, you had an aversion to playing in the dirt, touching slimy things, or taunting little girls with slimy things you found in the dirt, you can stop reading this review right now, “Deadly Creatures” is not for you. However, if you’re a fan of Fear Factor, have never had a problem with Phylum Arthropoda, or if Japanese Bug Fights is your happy place (it soothes me for some reason), then I hope you’ve got a Wii because, boy, have I got a game for you. It’s time to crawl around on the desert floor, and attack some bugs in THQ’s latest Wii title “Deadly Creatures.”
This is not your average Wii game – or your average video game for that matter. In terms of its arachnid inspired subject matter, it’s pretty much in a category all by itself. No other game in recent memory has allowed you to play as a scorpion or a tarantula creeping around on the desert floor, tearing wings off of wasps or going head-to-head with a rattlesnake. It’s a creative take on the 3rd-person action genre, stripping out the guns and swords, and replacing them with pincers and fangs. While it may not be the most original genre to tackle, Rainbow Studio’s take on it has definitely breathed some new life into a stale genre; proving that sometimes it’s a good idea to let studios be creative, instead of forcing them to churn out the same genre over and over.
While the concept of the game is fun for any grown man who refuses to let go of the kid inside of him, somehow, that’s not even the best part. “Deadly Creatures” also offers a creative take on storytelling by making the playable characters, the scorpion and the tarantula, not the main characters of the game’s story; that honor is reserved for the non-playable humans voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper. Your characters, the arachnids, are merely observers to the questionable escapades of the men, and they are the ones that really drive the plot. “Creatures”’s inspired take on gameplay doesn’t stop there – as you progress through the game, your levels alternate between the spider’s and scorpion’s, sometimes even intersecting, with some of them retracing the footsteps of the other. So, not only is the story told tangentially, but the progression of the game is alternating and intersecting; both rather unique steps away from a lot of modern day gaming conventions.
While the storytelling and overall concept of “Deadly Creatures” are ingenious, that doesn’t exactly carry over to the controls. Taking queues from a lot of other Wii titles, most of the controls of the game are pretty basic, and straight-forward. You swing the Wiimote for a variety of different attacks (heavy strikes, sweeping spins, etc.), holding different buttons to mix things up. This isn’t really the fault of the game, it’s just what you have to do to be on the Wii. Fortunately, if you really think about it, many of the actions that you need to do with the controllers reflect a lot (but not all) of the real-life actions of your eight-legged, in-game counterparts. Now, a direct attempt to contradict myself; one of the highlights of the controls is actually the highly unrealistic finishing moves that the scorpion can do through a series of Wiimote motion quicktime events, and if you complete the series of motions correctly, you’re treated to a gruesome kill. The jury is still out on why I enjoyed the finishing moves so much - it’s either the quasi-challenging quicktime events, or the part of me that liked to do mean things to insects when I was younger (I personally hope it’s the quicktime events).
For a Wii title, “Deadly Creatures” looks really great, even if there are some cropping issues on wide screen TVs, and the scorpion and tarantula are guaranteed to creep out any arachnophobe. Amazingly, and this may be a first for me, it wasn’t the graphics that really did a great job of creating a compelling atmosphere in this game - it was the score. The underlying music that played as you walked throughout the deserts caverns complimented the eerie environment perfectly throughout the game, and it was really a perfect blend of ambiance and spookiness that created one of the best backdrops I have ever played in a game.
“Deadly Creatures” has all the makings of a really solid game, but one of the few things I had a problem getting over, was the slow pace. I, personally, enjoy games that are really fast, visceral, and exciting, but “Deadly Creatures” moves a bit slow for my liking. I guess that may be due to the fact that the scorpion and the tarantula have really short legs, and can only go so fast, meaning it takes them a while to get from one encounter to another. However, once they are engaged in combat, the battles feel smooth and challenging. Overall, it’s not a bad pace, just a little too accurate to really hold my attention.
In the end, “Deadly Creatures” offers an experience unlike anything else on the Wii, or any other system for that matter. It’s not a perfect game, but the small list of problems that it does have can be easily overlooked when considering that it is a truly uncommon experience on multiple levels. From characters to story telling, “Deadly Creatures ” is unlike anything else on the market right now, and it is a must play for Wii owners looking to do something other than play mini-games.