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Devil Daggers (PC) artwork

Devil Daggers (PC) review


"Hellish"


Devil Daggers (PC) image


Silence can be noticeable. I've grown so accustomed to the existence of introductions and opening cutscenes that I've forgotten how much disquiet their absence can produce. Quietude recently caught my attention, though, as I started the first-person shooter Devil Daggers. It eschewed any sort of prelude and threw me into the mute darkness. This game meant business and wanted to get down to it immediately. I admire that.

I couldn't shake the sensation that ominous forces hid in the blackness, as if the game had hushed itself in preparation for pandemonium. Before me stood a silver dagger, awaiting my nervous grasp. I knew nabbing it would plunge me into chaos, but I secured it without question just the same. An infernal voice called from behind me, and I whirled around to meet its origin. There, a tentacled tree emitted a pained retch as it coughed up legions of flying skulls and a demonic, horned cranium. I cut loose blades at machine gun speed, knifing some of the skeletal noggins out of the air before they could reach me. I missed one, though, and that sealed my fate. I figured I'd have some health left after sustaining one blow, but instead I perished. As it turns out, one hit is all Devil Daggers allows.

Devil Daggers (PC) image


Not to be discouraged, I re-spawned and resumed my butchery, to marginal results. The important thing is that I learned a lesson with each death. Before long, I was handling the eldritch plants and floating heads with no problem. I discovered that a single click executes a shotgun-like blast, perfect for close combat. I also trained myself to listen, as each foe issues a particular sound. Familiarity could reveal what lay behind me without requiring me to first see it. Constant humming, for instance, spoke of my proximity to the aforementioned horned creatures.

Rather than perpetually eluding the skulls, I learned to lure them to me and control their "flow." They tended to move as a unified mass, so I'd draw them to one side of the realm and abruptly alter my course. They would pile up as they struggled to shift directions, and that's when I would unleash the fury of my daggers. Blades connected and they popped in a grisly display of bone shards and bright red gore. All of this would transpire in mere seconds, and I was off to battle the rest of the opposition in short order.

Devil Daggers (PC) image


Thankfully, Devil Daggers is as stable as can be, which aids in the previously described mass murder process. I've yet to run into a single instance of lag or even a crash, and any other possible glitches have been nonexistent. Even with dozens of targets nipping at your heels and others birthing additional terrors, there isn't a trace of slowdown.

As you can imagine, survival requires more than just smooth moves. As the adversarial population explodes, you'll be pining for improved artillery to boost the body count. The good news is that larger foes drop gems when defeated. These upgrade your weaponry, once you've collected a certain number of them. With strengthened offenses, you can look forward to meaner scatter shots, swifter rapid fire and even homing daggers. The bad news is that the arena refuses to be bested, even with your buffs...

I mean, I don't begrudge Devil Daggers for kicking in my face. As the challenge factor climbed, I got to witness some of its bestiary's most gruesome (read: most awesome) specimens. Evolved stationary adversaries cropped up and hacked out ridge-horned menaces that hounded me relentlessly. Not long after their arrival, an immense spider crept from the shadows beyond the edge of the battlefield, a bony face grinning from its backside. It deposited a sac full of virulent offspring who chased me more furiously than the common skulls. Perhaps the worst of these nightmares, though, is one that erupted from the floor itself. Myriad spindly legs and countless segments rose from the earth in the form of a tremendous flying centipede composed of human bones.

Devil Daggers (PC) image


Regardless of how well I played, I couldn't stem the flood of demons that poured into the fray. Needless to say, Devil Daggers kept me on my toes. Occasionally it frustrated me, but it seldom failed to entertain. The frenetic action kept my heart pumping, as much out of the thrill as out of genuine love for the experience. Even when the game utterly destroyed me, I derived equal measures of joy and catharsis from its gritty, over-crowded conflicts.

I find it difficult to complain about Devil Daggers's dearth of content, but necessary regardless. The game only sports a single time-attack mode, with one arena. The stage itself is a primitive, unadorned section of floor with no defining features besides a surrounding pit. However, more complex arenas would rob the shooter of its simplicity, which is also its strong point. With fleshed out levels, it would resemble nearly every other old school FPS available, instead of providing a memorable fusion of arcade-style structure with '90s FPS mechanics and presentation. Additional features, such as alternate weapons, might only serve to make the game easier, rather than more amusing. So I'm not asking for a major overhaul to the offered material. A couple of extra modes of play would be nice, though, as long as they don't add needless complexity to the terrific main challenge.

Nonetheless, Devil Daggers is a wild action title that will eventually destroy you. If you're a masochist like me, you'll simply grin and retaliate with all your might. Here waits the type of addictive game where you continuously initiate "one last try" until you're two hours away from your designated wake-up time. "I can function on ninety minutes of sleep," you might say to yourself. In reality, you're going to end up oversleeping, showering expeditiously, and speeding to work. While a police officer writes your ticket, you can ruminate on the sick succession of shotgun blasts that felled one of the spiders you fought during your last Devil Daggers session, then glance down at the money you owe the state and say "So worth it..."

4/5

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (March 06, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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