God Hand (PlayStation 2) review
"When God Hand’s not funny, it’s thrilling. When it’s not thrilling, it’s funny. And sometimes it manages both at once."
You know a game is weird when the first boss is a fat, bald, Hispanic demon with prayer beads around his neck who answers to the name ‘Fat Elvis’. You especially know when it turns out that said boss is the mildest one.
Welcome to world of God Hand, a world filled with demons, people who work for demons, and people who wish the demons would just leave them the hell alone. Gene, our spikey-haired Hero of the Month, fits into that last class. An adventurer, he goes from desert town to desert town, seeking treasure and women, enjoying the high life until that fateful day comes. He sees a woman – a young, buxom woman with long and easily visible legs – being assaulted by two demons. He rushes to her aid, buys enough time for her to flee, and takes on the two vagabonds with bravery befitting of a true hero.
He gets his right arm chopped off for it. Brave Gene may be, but he can’t fight worth a damn. Yet.
After the demons walk off, laughing all the way, the woman returns. As fate and plot necessities would have it, this woman is carrying an ancient artifact with her. An artifact that lets its user tap into the unfathomable powers of a god. An artifact that can bend the very fabric of reality and stretch the flow of time. An artifact that, to be wielded, only requires that the user forfeit his right arm.
Gee, how convenient.
Though you might think that God Hand is about Gene’s quest to get vengeance on the jerks who chopped off his arm and rid the world of its demon plague, you’d be a little off. Gene does get revenge on those who dis-armed him…but only because he just so happened to stumble across them in the second stage, and he’s even gracious enough to let them run off after he lowers the boom on them. He does wind up actively opposing the demons and all who support them…but only because the woman who gave him the God Hand, Olivia, is a total psycho who threatens him with an axe if he doesn’t use the power for good. Of course, the fact that she’s hot no doubt influences his decisions, as evidenced in the following scene…
The music grows somber as Gene talks to Olivia, learning the terrible truth about her past and the secret of the God Hand. How she’s on the run. How she has no one else to turn to. How her fiancé now chases after her in his mad quest for power and how he’s become Gene’s most intense rival. A few other things that were quite obvious if you were paying attention.
As she breaks out into stereotypical tears, Gene wraps his arms around her, holds her tight, and asks a crucial question: “So, uh, what base did he get to?”
That’s about as serious as the game ever gets. Oh, sometimes it looks like things are going to get heavy, but then it puts you into a pit fight with a wrestling gorilla. Or a sultry succubus lectures you on the subtleties of women…while doing a pole dance. Or it has you take on the Power Rangers or, at least, five psychotic and possibly homosexual midgets who dress like the Power Rangers. Watch out for dominatrix clowns, beware of the Afro Fist, and, whatever you do, DON’T FEED THE POISON CHIHUAHAS.
See what I mean? Weird.
The strangest part of it all, though, is that, underneath all the silliness, a beast of a brawler sleeps, one of the best I’ve ever played. For a variety of reasons.
Staff review by Zack Little (November 09, 2006)
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