Review: Why have you disturbed our sleep? Awakened us from our ancient slumber? You will die!!
?The most ferociously original horror film of the year? ? Stephen King, 1982
The Evil Dead is a hell of a horror movie, that's for sure. I remember seeing it for the first time and being seriously blown away by the intense visuals, over the top violence, and downright gruesome tone. The film's bleak subject matter involved a group of college students alone in a remote cabin in the backcountry, who stumble upon a book filled with ancient incantations, and proceed to wake demons from within the woods. After that?.well, let's just say that it doesn't go well for them. The film achieved cult status, and two sequels were released to great success. Combining graphic, intense horror with tongue-in-cheek humor, the Evil Dead trilogy continues to fascinate its huge fanbase.
Evil Dead: A Fistful Of Boomstick is a fun send-up of the series, and a passable, if average, action game. Much like the films that inspired it, Boomstick is filled with one liners (voiced by Bruce ?Ash? Campbell himself) and copious amounts of blood and violence, not to mention a bunch of demons wrapped in decaying flesh, trying to tear our hero to pieces. It seems that a local cable channel broadcasts a tape of the aforementioned incantations, and raises deadites as far as the eye can see. Of course, as Ash, you're set-up to battle the demons, and drawing from the mythos of the film series, you'll carry a double-barreled shotgun (yep, you guessed it, that's the boomstick) as well as a chainsaw attached to the stump of your wrist (I can't explain here, just see the movies).
You'll control Ash's movement with the left analog stick, and the camera with the right. The X button is used to attack with a left-handed weapon, and the A button serves the same purpose for the right. The left trigger locks your aim on the closest enemy, and the D-pad is used to view the HUD.
Combat consists of wading through loads of demons, hacking away with the chainsaw (which actually looks really cool, and spouts clouds of fumes as you fight), or auto-targeting and blasting foes with your Remington. Other weapons do present themselves throughout the game, including a flamethrower, pistols, a machine gun, and dynamite. You can blow heads clean off, and most of the deadites go down is a glorious spray of giblets and severed appendages. Whacking them with a shovel (obviously inspired by the first film) is pretty satisfying as well.
Graphically the game is a mixed bag. While the character model of Ash looks pretty good, the others really don't. Furthermore, they aren't very well animated, and the backgrounds (many of which are more-or-less recycled later in the game) look dull and two-dimensional. Blasting groups of deadites is fun to be sure, but it will grow tiresome after awhile. The game does throw a few boss fights at you that require more strategy to handle than the rest of the mob, but even those are pretty easy.
Throughout the adventure, you'll be required to find and use save game tokens, similar to Resident Evil's typewriter ribbon system. In addition to some standard key hunting and puzzle solving, several spells are scattered throughout the levels for you to find. These will allow Ash to unleash specials in combat. Believe me; these will help immensely as the game piles on the enemies later in.
In-game sound is solid, and the roar of the chainsaw or the sharp report of gunfire feel authentic. The music is understated but effective, evoking the proper feeling of dread as you proceed through the streets. Speaking of which, you'll need to be alert, as the game provides no map, so the occasional frustrating moment of confusion on how to proceed will rear its ugly head from time-to-time. To be fair, Ash does carry a helpful to-do list that will remind you of objectives if you forget. In addition to the story mode, Fistful Of Boomstick features an arcade variant that allows you to mow down waves of living dead in any level you've completed in the main game. After killing all of the deadites, you'll be given a grade of A, B, or C based on your statistics. You'll also receive bonuses for health remaining, deadites killed, best killing rampage, and amount of blood spilled. Just like the movies (the killing I mean, not the bonuses).