Around this time last year, I started off talking about the Evil Dead series and said that it was easily adaptable and has three standalone games. A quick correction on that: it turns out the game I reviewed, “A Fistful of Boomstick” was actually intended to be a direct sequel to the first game, Hail to the King. However, A Fistful of Boomstick doesn’t really mention Hail to the King all that much, so if you’re like me and you played it before Hail to the King, you’re still fine. Anyways, we’re continuing our look at the Evil Dead games with one I’m sure stands on its own: Evil Dead: Regeneration, available for the PlayStation 2, but I’ll be playing on the Microsoft xBox.
Talking about the canon of the games and then looking at this story made me realize why the Army of Darkness might has been so adaptable: there so many points and directions you can take to continue the story. This game chooses to continue off the second movie (probably the most famous one) with Ash is in an insane asylum. He’s been blamed for the death of everyone at the cabin since… well the story would be hard to believe. Quickly, it is established that he has been set up by the doctor in charge of Ash’s prison” who is using it, and the necronomicon, for his own diabolical purposes.
The story might not seem like much, but it’s actually a lot of fun throughout and mostly for one big reason: all the characters have SO much personality. Bruce Campbell’s performance as Ash is great as always and common Campbell co-star Ted Raimi’s performance as the comedy relief sidekick is perfect. Along with all that, everything I complained about last time that made the world feel fake is gone; nothing feels phoned in or half-assed. The game takes itself at least as seriously as the movies did.
On the surface the game play might seem very similar to a Fistful of Boomstick: figure out the levels and beat up ghoul hoards with a gun and chainsaw (what do you expect from a main character known for exactly that). However, they feel very differently. A Fistful of Boomstick focused mostly on finding objects to continue on. Regenerations has more of a platforming and beat ‘em up feel to it. You’ll walk about a level and find an area where a bunch of deadites start showing up and you need to beat them all before continuing, or you’ll be stopped by an obstacle that you need to use one of your skills on. There’s a lot of little things that add to the different feels too, like the fact that you don’t need ammo for your guns in this game and more unique variety in skills.
Speaking of new skills, there’s one group of them that I feel the need to talk about: the ones that use your sidekick Sam. For example, Ash is able to kick this half-deadite half-pint into bad guys to stun them or over into new areas he’s unable to reach. You’ll also eventually get a skill that lets you take over Sam’s body giving you the ability to adventure into new places. Yeah, I could have talk about other skills, like the Rage power up, but this is a bit more unique and ends up being used a lot! There’s a reason why Sam’s on the cover too, and it’s not just because he and Ash make a great comedic duo.
Evil Dead: Regeneration is so far the best Evil Dead video game I’ve played because it fills both rolls rather well: it’s a great video game and a great representation of the Evil Dead series. The story has a lot more personality in it and does a good job at matching the humorous tone set by the movies (it seems developers CrankyPants games might have better known what Evil Dead should be like over the previous ones, as THQ is still the publisher). Sure, it focuses more on a journey through areas and not just on Ash fighting the forces of the Necronomicon, but I understand why that might have been changed for a video game. I also can’t deny that the graphics have been pushed to reflect all of this, and the voice work is top notch (again, we got Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi, I can’t ask for any more). If you’re an Evil Dead fan, I don’t see how you could be disappointed with this game, and even if you’re just a gamer looking for an introduction to the series, I say go for it, especially around this time of year. I really can’t think of many flaws within this game. I give Evil Dead Regeneration 9 levels out of 10.
I’m Leo Melanson, and I got through October’s without anything weird happened!
*Approach of the Evil Dead camera.*
What is that- BWAAAA!!