Devil May Cry
Preview - could this be a breath of fresh air for the horror action genre?
While the PlayStation 2 has had its fair share of detractors, Sony's console looks set to enjoy a second lease of life over the next few months thanks to the recent European price cut and the arrival of promising new games such as Metal Gear Solid 2. One of the first releases from this new wave of quality software will be Capcom's Devil May Cry, designed by Resident Evil guru Shinji Mikami but taking the horror genre in a completely new direction. We recently got a chance to look at the completed Japanese version of the game, and to say we were blown away would be an understatement of epic proportions.
Devil May Cry is, in a word, insane. Your anti-hero (named, appropriately enough, Dante) has devil powers, a range of powerful firearms, and a dirty big sword with which to dispatch his enemies, and the focus is very much on wall-to-wall action. Not only do you have an infinite supply of ammunition at your disposal, but your character is actually rewarded for killing people in the most spectacular manner possible. The fight scenes are amongst the most impressive we have ever seen in a video game, with Dante running up walls, leaping between ledges, doing back flips, and firing guns with so much recoil that they can momentarily suspend you in mid-air. A typical fight might involve you charging towards an enemy, slicing him open with a sword, throwing his body high into the air, and then holding it there for a couple of seconds with a stream of lead from your shotgun. The more intense your massacre becomes, the more orbs you are awarded, and these can then be spent on buying new devil powers and additional equipment to aid you in your mission. As the text of the game was all in Japanese we have no idea what you are supposed to be doing, but any plot there may be in the game very much takes a back seat to the shoot-outs and swordplay anyway. This is a pure thoroughbred horror action game.
Balls Over Brains
Devil May Cry also sports some very impressive visuals, with a combination of creepy settings, dramatic camera angles, gorgeous in-game cinematics, over-the-top special effects and intricately modelled characters adding up to one of the most eye-catching horror games ever to grace a console. Enemies are suitably surreal, ranging from spooky looking ghosts to ten foot tall clown-like ghouls with giant blades for hands. All of these are beautifully animated and fights are a joy to behold, with gore liberally splattered across the scenery as your character leaps gracefully through the air, guns blazing. This is no Resident Evil; movement is fast and fluid and the controls are simple and responsive, allowing you to concentrate on pulling off all manner of aerial insanity and gun-toting carnage. It might not be the most intelligent or subtle of games, but what it does it does well. Puzzles mostly revolve around bashing something repeatedly and most of your time is spent slashing your way through hordes of enemies as you explore the sinister hallways of a ramshackle monster-infested castle. It's all about gore, guns, impaling, slashing, ripping and gravity-defying stunts. And we like it.