Review by Amakusa42
Let's all go to Hell together...
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a peaceful village. These people lived a simple life, enjoying the freedom that comes from being a simple folk. One day, its tranquility was shattered as a fascist/racist army invaded: The Kewletts. Merciless and cruel, they enslaved the population and killed anyone who resisted. Did I mention this army of merciless killers was really really really cute?
Welcome to Raze's Hell.
Its not often a budget title can catch my eye. Usually the term budget title suggests little value or glitch-filled problems that ruin the game. Not so with Raze's Hell. Not only does it seem like it was made by a crew that truly enjoys gaming, but the amount of content stuffed into this little package makes it a Hell of a value for any X-Box owner.
The Kewletts are cute, seriously. I mean most of these things are a cross between a Care Bear and a Snorkel. Others are giant teddy bears, and the leader is a cutesy Princess wearing a pink dress! If it wasn't for thier carrying around weapons of mass destruction, I might even hug them... The Cute factor doesn't just extend to the enemies though, but also thier weapons. They have a Machine Gun Jack In the Box, that actually plays a snappy tune as it spews lead death at you. The first melee weapon you encounter is a Lollipop Axe! They even have cute recruitng posters strewn about the levels that have cute slogans like: "Don't Die, Cutefy!" Is it any wonder that Raze must inflict horrible horrible death upon them?
Because truly, thats what Raze is... A monster. A monster that spews vengeance upon all that is cute. And by spews, I mean literally, since his ammo is living bugs that he sucks up and spits out at enemies... And by Monster, I mean that literally too, as Raze sucks up the dead chunks of his enemies an feeds on those to gain health. Every single enemy being a health pack is balanced by the fact that Raze himself, despite his monstrous look, is not capable of taking a lot of damage.
Some say that the use of live ammo is very Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath-like, I don't agree as the bugs you use are always found in pods that glow with a different color, that are not easy to miss. In Wrath, you actually had to use intelligence to find ammo, and it wasn't packed in neat pods for you. Still, there are eight variations of weapons to use to kill the merciless Kewletts, and I haven't found a useless bug yet. Even the Splatter Bug, which is for Multi-player only and covers the target's screen in multi-color paint (no damage, how cute!), is useful in a lot of ways.
Raze himself doesn't move very quickly, so you'll need to sneak and use cover a lot. He does have the ability to curl up into a ball and roll enemies over. However, while it is faster to do this, rolling into enemies hurts Raze as well, so you'll wind up using it to move from one area to another. Raze's left arm has a built in sword, which allows him to slice up Kewletts when he runs low on ammo. It also does some nice stealth kills when crouched, and to chops dead enemies into chewable bits for health. Clicking the left thumbstick allows Raze to suck up ammo and Chunky Kewlett Bits, as well as fire. Nothing says fun like turning Raze into a flamethrower (like all good monsters, Raze is fireproof), and making roast Kewlett for dinner!
Still, you wont be using a lot of it, because despite the outward appearance of the game, trying to run and gun your way thru any level is just going to get you killed. As I mentioned before, Raze is not very hardy, so you have to think your way thru each section. Also, the AI is smart. I mean Halo 2 smart. They flank, use distraction, and they NEVER give up chasing Raze. Trying to run your way thru a level means having an ARMY of Kewletts at your back, shooting the whole time. The main game's difficulty can be lessened if another player joins you, anytime after the first level. This split screen Co-Op mode is great, and adds yet another layer of value to the game.
Stealth killing, sniping, and using cover are the only ways to make it thru most of the game, letting some of the more fun ammo types, such as the Smasher (shotgun), go to waste. This also creates a problem when the more useful ammo types, like the Driller, are nowhere to be found. Still, this game is never as hard or cheap as Ninja Gaiden.
Even when you are done with the main game, there is still a nice set of mini-games such as Golf, Survival, and the aptly named Silent But Deadly (Stealth kills only). These are some nice side diversions, but some you may only play once. This, of course, brings use to X-Box live play. There are a LOT of options here: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Team King of the Hill, ect. Mostly the standard stuff. Of course the standout multiplayer game is Soccer. A simple kick the ball into the goal game coupled with explosive rounds, sniper weapons, and heat-seeking scorpions... What could possibly go wrong? The Bloater (one of my favorite single player weapons) is not in the Live games. Its replaced by the Humiliator. When activated, aim your Heart-Shaped reticule at an enemy and fire... This turns them into a pink Kewlett!! From that point on, its a mercy-killing.
While there aren't any truly fancy effects in this game, except for a splash effect when it is raining or when you get hit by a Splatter Bug, but the character designs are great. The Kewletts are adorable, and even the Kewlenators (Terminator-Kewletts) and Kewlecides (Exploding Kewletts) are very very huggable. World designs are fascinating, especially when you get to the later levels in Kewlett land. Not a lot of the environments are destructible, though, so it mostly seems like static worlds, and there is not much in the way of ragdoll physics. Still, the Kewletts have a lot of death animations (Strange that Raze only has one), and most of them are funny. Raze looks appropriately hideous, though they could have made him look more menacing.
Now here is a place the game truly shines. All of Raze's weapons have unique and cool sounds, and while Raze himself is mute, the Kewletts never shut up. In fact, you will probably spend a good chunk of time hiding, not to do a stealth kill, but to hear the Kewletts funny dialog. Some of it you hear more than once, but often a really funny line jumps out right out at you, forcing you to put down the controller as you laugh out loud. They just sound so damn... Cute.
For $20 dollars, you can't go wrong. This game is worth a buy, check it out now!
Amakusa42 sees ae Teddy Bear off in the distance, and plants a sniper bullet right in that cute little eye.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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