Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick

LEGENDS OF WRESTLING II Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com
Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick

The release of this game was somewhat of a surprise to me to see Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick off the license of the cult movie franchise.Unfortunately, I wasn’t too familiar with the Evil Dead series so didn’t really know who Ash was or Bruce Campbell or Sam Raimi. After a little background research, however I realised I had stumbled upon this whole cult film thing.

I decided that it would be a good Idea to get hold of one of the films just to get a taste of the general theme of which I soon realised was that of a spoof horror movie gore, gore and gore. The game follows in the footsteps of the third movie in the series from 1993 Army of Darkness based in Ash’s hometown of Dearborn, which is the setting for the first mission.

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick@ www.contactmusic.com

If you are reading this to find out how faithful to the movie trilogy the game is I personally think you will be impressed. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell shot the first instillation of Evil Dead in 1981 on a shoestring budget, which resulted in a sequel, a video game and a massive following.

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick by THQ and VIS entertainment has now been given the go ahead by Campbell and Raimi in a game that can only be described as a shoot/ slash em up.

The game play consists of rather dodgy third person action and frustrating puzzles as you are often faced with numerous fetch type missions.

The inclusion of Bruce Campbell’s voice for Ash is a great addition for the game and in many cases purchasing the game will hinge on your appreciation of this and your love for somewhat cheesy one-liners of which you can fire out by simply tapping triangle, however things like “Does your mother kiss that face” may not seem terribly realistic or Ash like.

You take on the role of Ash the infamous one handed hero, who’s tongue is as sharp as his arsenal of tools, from the movie trilogy and as always for this character he finds himself dealing with an infection of Zombies known as deadites of which were unleashed by an archaeologist and a dizzy TV host into Ash’s hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. The game is set out over six maps all in Dearborn but of which three are the present, two are in the past and one is in the future, including a civil war-era Dearborn and a Colonial style.

Despite Ash’s unfortunate accident involving his hand (those who have watched Evil Dead2: Dead by Dawn will know what I’m talking about) doesn’t stop him operating any of his arsenal of weapons, all of which rest perfectly on the stump of his right hand.

You start off with a shotgun (Boomstick) but are soon introduced to a shovel and the infamous chainsaw other weapons include pistols, gatling gun, flamethrower and various melee weapons including Molotov cocktails and dynamite, weapons are upgradeable by either picking up items or completing missions.

You can also acquire a spell book allowing Ash to possess deadites or simply stun them. This however can be a frustrating tool as using it means stopping in your tracks to execute a series of button presses during which being hit will interrupt the spell.

The gunplay and hand-to-hand is nicely done and easy to use an especially good feature of which is the lock-on camera which allows Ash when surrounded by deadites to look over his shoulder and shoot deadites behind him. The deadites, however are generally slow and not too intelligent and very rarely pose as much of a threat unless in large packs. Whereas the game looks reasonably good the combat, while enjoyable at first, lopping off an arm, bisecting a torso and spilling blood, gets old fast with you either auto-targeting your enemies or breaking into a three swipe combo with the chainsaw.

The game offers a few bosses, which pose as slightly more worthy opponents than the standard deadites none are incredibly challenging. The voice of Bruce Campbell is a nice touch and the campy one-liners are humorous and are probably the highlight of the game.

The sound effects in the game are none too impressive but could be considered adequate in this situation, neither are the graphics, however dirtier graphics do feel more faithful to the subject matter as part of the appeal of the Evil Dead franchise has always been its gritty, low budget production values. The town however lacks sufficient detail, also slightly annoying as many of the buildings repeat, while this is something that could be over looked running back and forth through an undetailed town can leave you feeling lost and uninspired.The characters move quite well but aren’t particularly well modelled and an in game resemblance to Bruce Campbell is slim at best.

The game proves a huge improvement from the previous instalment, Evil Dead: Hail to the King, a video game mishmash that unsuccessfully tried to capture the spirit of the entire trilogy.

Evil Dead: A fistful of Boomstick will send waves of excitement throughout the evil dead community and does reasonably well in replicating the trilogy, the graphics aren’t brilliant but then they’re not meant to be, Bruce Campbell adds a camp element to the game which can be appreciated by even those unfamiliar with the films, while the game isn’t perfect in any way it is still a lot of fun.

6.5 out of 10