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Corpse Killer (Sega 32X) artwork

Corpse Killer (Sega 32X) review

"Corpse Killer - take two! Still awful."

Itís a matter of perverse obsession when you remake a game three times and still canít brand it as anything but awful. Maybe if youíre still producing blanks on turn two itís time to give the project up as broken -- but not our masochistic chums at Digital Pictures! Nope, when you know youíre going to go down in history as those guys who made all the dodgy FMV games like Night Trap, Sewer Shark and the critically acclaimed Power Factory Featuring C + C Music Factory, you know you need an opus in there somewhere to prove all your campy live-action nonsense wasnít just a massive waste of time.

Corpse Killer isnít it. Corpse Killer will never be it.

The first instance showed up on the SEGA CD and was critically panned, so the next logical step was to release for the SEGA 32X CD. As such, it became a CD that wouldnít work unless you had the 32X plugged in as well. You had to trick the Mega Drive right out to the balls to get this version of Corpse Killer to run and what are you rewarded with? Well, the screenís a bit bigger, I guess. And, to be fair, the video quality is significantly better. The HUD is a little different. Oh, and now, if you press C, you abort the mission youíre currently on and get to fumble about with a bunch of FMVs instead.

> > >

Donít press C, and what you get instead is a light gun shooter that will no longer work with light guns unless you have ye olde tube television still set up in your gaming den. The Saturn version cunningly side-stepped this future obsoleteness by not even giving you the option to use a light gun at a time when light guns were completely applicable. But the moral to this tale is that whatever version you play, youíre going to be moving crosshairs around a screen with a d-pad. And shooting at things. Zombies in this case. Weird, weird zombies who sometimes break into dance. Or fly towards the screen as if theyíve been launched by a catapult. Or turn into some weird human-shaped hallucinogenic array of flashing colours.

Corpse Killer is weird in every choice it makes. Youíre a marine leader who parachutes into a tropical island with a team of soldiers that are already captured by the time you land. However, you get caught up in a tree and while you dangle there like a pillock, a wild zombie appears and chomps on your leg for a bit. Youíre saved, of course, by a Rastafarian who just happens to be chilling nearby in his army surplus jeep that dispatches the zombie by, er, stabbing it in the chest with a machete. He says something but youíd be lucky if you understood at least half of what the guy says so thick is his accent, and then youíre off to find a cure before you turn into a zombie. Your sidekick mumbles some words which might be trying to impress upon you how thereís very little time. Corpse Killer then introduces the one mechanic that couldnít be any more at odds with time sensitivity: grinding.

Think that Corpse Killer will be satisfied just scrolling slowly to the right while people dressed up as bad zombies shuffle towards you? Afraid not! Not only will you have to undertake key stages several times, but in order to save your soldier colleagues from their transformation into the undead, you need to go about collecting Datura plants to wrap your bullets in, turning them from tomato red to snot green. Only with a respectable stash of these special bullets can you clear the stages with your former friends in, which means revisiting these stockpiling levels constantly. Oh; theyíre also the easiest way to replenish flagging health by completing the stage and picking Breath over Datura Rounds. The Saturn version has health items and ammo upgrades that literally drop from the sky, but you canít even use a lightgun on that version, so who cares. I mean, you canít use one here either unless you meet a very specific and unlikely scenario butÖ

I donít know how to finish that sentence. Iíll distract you by mentioning that one guy from the Swayze film Ghost with the weird face plays the main villain in the game. Look at him!

You wonít get that far but should you reach the final stage then his face takes up the entirety of the backdrop and unending swarms of zombies jump out of his mouth. The more undead you mow down, the more distorted and broken his face gets until, eventually, it vanishes and you win, I guess? Itís a shame thereís not more to celebrate about Corpse Killer, because, Iíll admit, the idea of a free-roaming light gun shooter is quite fresh, but thereís a reason the concept never caught on. Instead, Vincent Schiavelli hams it up and straps G.I. Joe dolls to mini electric chairs to turn them into smoking skeletons becauseÖ actually, Iíve no idea. Was I supposed to believe he had done that to one of the captured soldiers instead of what was clearly an action figure? Instead, you can argue with your incomprehensible sidekick, and bonus journalist sidekick who appears some way into the game to add nothing of value aside from ham-fisted flirting and the excuse to drop some FMV fanservice into the gameís ending.

Because, without this, itís more or less just Schiavelli falling over and looking slightly annoyed. Roll credits!


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (October 31, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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