Shadows of the Damned Review
Imagine if Elvis teamed up with a straight Michael Barrymore, and the musician Beck, who had his fingers surgically removed and replaced with hammers. Imagine if these geniuses teamed up to create the greatest song ever.
Well obviously that will never happen, since no one will dare go near Barrymore ever again. Elvis died young while on the crapper, but he would have perished sooner had he gone to one of Michael’s infamous parties. We may never have that distant dream; however we do have the video game equivalent, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it Hammerman. This is Shadows of the Damned.
Since I’ve mentioned it so bloody much, I probably should type a bit about who created this attempt at the best video game since Michael Portillo’s point and click pornography romp House of Cummons. Let’s start off with Shinji Mikami, who defined video games in the late 90s and early 2000s by spearing the creative process in series such as Resident Evil, Phoenix Wright, Devil May Cry, Onimusha and Viewtiful Joe. Alongside Shinji is Arika Yamaoka, the man who composed the dog theme from Silent Hill 2. He’s done other things of course but that dog theme drives me barking mad.
Last but not least is Suda 51, who makes a talking lawnmower that leads an ordinary life by becoming a mechanic look normal. Oh yeah, I forgot to note that this lawnmower has laser beams coming from his eyes, and shits algebra equations. This man could go to a Vauxhall owners club and make it interesting. Suda’s most notable creations are Killer 7 and No More Heroes, the latter being a “fairly normal” save the girl adventure. Killer 7 however is a complex conspiracy plot wrapped up in tits gore and spacemen. Original premise is utterly insane, and the dialog is something you’d hear from a person with lemons in their mouth. To even attempt to decipher the Killer 7 story is madness, but because of this it’s one of the finest games you’ll ever play.
According to its CV Shadows of the Damned should blow your mind by just thinking about it, well not really. Gameplay is reminisced of Resident Evil 4, one of Mikami’s previous titles, over the shoulder third person shooter with weapon power ups, occasional puzzles and all those other Res 4 thingybobs. Garcia Hotspur, that’s the name of the main character not a Spanish football team, he’s looking for his girlfriend Paula after the devil that is apparently named Fleming kidnapped her. Helping Garcia Arsenal is his skull companion Johnson; oh I should mention SotD and this review will contain billions of penis jokes. Not my fault when one of the weapons in the game is unashamedly called Big Boner, seriously it’s like the developers created a perfectly clean game, and then wiped their throbbing cocks all over the finished article.
Perhaps I should have warned you before, but SotD’s sense of humour is similar to an eleven year old boy finding out about the “special places” for the first time. For those that read The New Yorker and have caviar when the second cousins come around, you may be slightly out of your comfort zone. There is no hiding that at heart Shadows of the Damned is childish, but it just about works because they are aware how low the limbo stick of humour is. Johnson talks about Garcia’s juvenile nature constantly, so there’s just enough evidence to support the fact that a bunch of sniggering schoolchildren didn’t write the script.
Relating to the script, the characters themselves should get a glancing analysis, when I say characters I actually just mean Garcia and Johnson, since Fleming and Paula just sit there at the top of a freaking castle until the last chapter. There is also a hillbilly bumpkin ogre called Christopher that sells upgrades to our heroes, but to acknowledge him would be like noticing that Miami can get a bit warm. He’s just there to sound a bit silly.
Garcia Rovers as a character is basically a grubby Hispanic Eddie Murphy. He swears like a sailor that’s stubbed his toe, and doesn’t care who knows about it. Johnson, his trusty sidekick who is simply a talking floating skull that has the voice of a castrated Colin Firth, can turn into a firearm for Garcia to use. Running the risk of more cheap manhood jokes, yes Johnson is Garcia’s weapon of choice. I see you smirking you bad dirty reader, go lick a Hello Kitty to cleanse yourself you awful person. Surprisingly Garcia and Johnson make for a solid double act, for some reason they can turn a rather uninspired script into an amusing end product. It may not be comedy gold, but as long as your humour sensors are turned on, you should get a consistent amount of low brow giggles.
Anyway Garcia United and Johnson chase down Fleming in 5 chapters of Res 4 inspired antics, and here are the two major issues with this game. First of all it’s roughly 8 hours in length which is pitiful, and underneath all the make-up it’s just Resident Evil 4 with penis jokes. That’s not an original concept, because you get the same experience by playing Res 4 while watching Alan Carr’s chat show. Enemy variety is also lacking, which is disappointing because very little stands out from the stereotypical highway to hell norm. You’ve got your typical skeletons, hellhounds and demons, with gate bouncer babyfaces that have a strawberry fetish, but for Suda that’s something he’d come up with on stability pills. The whole thing is just too normal.
Ah! There is possible salvation however as Suda will come to our rescue with some form of silly horny shenanigans like in No More Heroes, when Travis fell asleep on the subway there was an amusing hentai styled shump that livened up the tedious train journey. Or maybe there will be a mahjong game that features Japanese politicians jacking off excessively like in Killer7. Instead we get a 2D side scrolling shooter repeated three times over, and a stroll along a stripper’s naked bottom. Hoorah Suda you randy bastard, you’ve really outdone yourself this time.
There is nothing really wrong with Shadows of the Damned; in fact it’s very enjoyable. However when you gather The Honey Monster, Tony The Tiger and Count Chocula, you expect your taste buds to explode with delightful happiness (hell yeah another cock pun!). But what you get is bran flakes with sugar. It’s all rather tasteless.