Hell Raiser

Christians often forget that our Savior died on the cross not just for our sins, but for our entertainment. The Christian Broadcasting Network website tells us of a man named Ralph Bagley who, remembering the Son of God's amusing words and works, carries the "light of Jesus Christ into the increasingly dark world of video games." Bagley is the president of Christian PC game maker N'Lightning Software. Although his company's name invokes the Enlightenment, its latest first-person proselytizer title, Ominous Horizons, takes place in the 15th century. The player doesn't kill the demons he encounters, but forces them to their knees and fills their mouths with prayer. Is Bagley ramming religion down the throats of pre-teens, or just reaching into their parents' pockets? Lord knows—God's probably the only one who surfs to CBN.com, where an ad pictures a young girl alongside the slogan "Touch someone now—give to CBN."


Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick
For PS2, Xbox (review copy)
Developer Vis Entertainment
Publisher THQ
Rating 6 (out of 10)

Judo Air, Method Air, Comb Your Hair!: Shaun Murray.
photo: Courtesy Activision
Judo Air, Method Air, Comb Your Hair!: Shaun Murray.

A high-water mark in low-budget horror flicks, The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi's '83 directorial debut) perverted the idea of resurrection in new and exciting ways, incorporating pencil stabbings and rapist trees into gore's standard death-and-dismemberment tropes. While splattering blood, Raimi also fleshed out the genre. Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick, on the other (severed) hand, squanders its inspiration—although for $20, it may be perfect for low-budget types. Bruce Campbell, as in the three movies and first Evil Dead game, provides the voice of protagonist Ash. Rather than being driven to the brink of insanity, he coolly goes about dispatching zombies.

To be fair, games aren't meant to replicate the dynamics of cinema. Especially ones like State of Emergency, the anarchic kill-'em-all from which A Fistful of Boomstick derives its engine. Ash—equipped with the chain-saw prosthetic that replaced his cursed, Thing-like hand in the movies; a shovel; and a double-barreled shotgun (the titular "boom stick")—now patrols the streets of Dearborn, where, you guessed it, hordes of rotting baddies stumble toward him, lining up only to be impaled with the saw and blown off with the 'stick. In a simple role-playing game touch, he also casts spells, drawing power from the souls of those he cuts down. Who needs Jesus?


Wakeboarding Unleashed Featuring Shaun Murray
For PS2, Xbox (review copy)
Developer Shaba Games
Publisher Activision 02
Rating 8

It's not for nothing they call it Wakeboarding Unleashed. Like waterskiing, its totally uncool precursor, real-life wakeboarding requires that you hold on to a rope and get pulled around by a motorboat. In the game, you can let go, grind or jump some tucked-away crap while your momentum lasts, and then get the cord tossed back to you. Featured freak-on-leash Shaun Murray isn't a Tony Hawk-level trickster or celebrity; likewise, few 'board games measure up to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series (also put out by Activision). But when was the last time you saw Hawk grind an aircraft carrier, leap over bayou gators, or walk on water?

Make that dance on water. The sport's seven available "celebrities" divide their talents between jump height, hang time, turning speed, air control, rail balance, carve balance, and switch-stance ability. This sounds complex for a reason: You accumulate points, by the dozen or tens of thousands, launching yourself from one jump, quarter-pipe, or wall to the next, and riding rails or performing a plethora of tricks and combinations in between. Thanks to fine scrape-and-splash sound work, subtle controller feedback, accurate impact response, and smart visual rendering, the water and various hard surfaces—whether you encounter them in the flooded city of Springfield or a junk-boat-strewn Hong Kong—"feel" just as they should. Plus, the soundtrack resembles a great dive bar's jukebox: Mountain, Pavement, Molly Hatchet, the Pixies, the Greenhornes, "I Wanna Be Your Dog," Van Halen, and J. Geils Band—the music alone's enough to wake the bored (if not raise the dead)!


Jesus Christ, just go to GameFAQs.com

Fans of The Hulk will find the video game's cheat codes hidden throughout the new film. "You may see a license plate in the movie and that will be a code to open up areas in the game," Vivendi Universal Games CEO Luc Vanhal told Variety.

 
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