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Bullet Witch (Xbox 360) artwork

Bullet Witch (Xbox 360) review


"In Atari’s Cavia’s third-person shooter Bullet Witch, the dead roam the Earth spreading anarchy and wrecking havoc on the living. Only the sexy, leather-clad witch-babe Alicia stands to exorcise the minions of SATAN with her boomstick. She is aided by a fearless military commando Maxwell Cougar and an eerie disembodied voice clearly inspired by the talking hand from Vampire Hunter D. Oh, and it is afraid of helicopters. Alicia’s goal is pretty simple: kill some..."



In Atari’s Cavia’s third-person shooter Bullet Witch, the dead roam the Earth spreading anarchy and wrecking havoc on the living. Only the sexy, leather-clad witch-babe Alicia stands to exorcise the minions of SATAN with her boomstick. She is aided by a fearless military commando Maxwell Cougar and an eerie disembodied voice clearly inspired by the talking hand from Vampire Hunter D. Oh, and it is afraid of helicopters. Alicia’s goal is pretty simple: kill some monsters because that’s what the voice in her head told her to do.

This is seriously the game’s story.

Jump right in with no fears though. With a title like Bullet Witch, it’s an easy guess that you spend the game shooting, shooting and then shooting some more. Using an over-the-shoulder camera somewhat similar to Gears of War, the game offers ample opportunity to use Alicia’s versatile Gun-Rod. At any time, you can instantly morph Alicia’s weapon into one of four forms each with their own uses. The machinegun is the standard balanced weapon holding a large ammo clip with a rapid firerate. The shotgun is perfect for close encounters, as one shot will knock enemies to the ground momentarily stopping their attacks. Demons can be sniped from afar with the cannon, and the gatling gun …. well actually it’s not useful at all. By the time you unlock it, the machinegun will be the far stronger and easier to control alternative.

The shooting mechanics are simple, and the easily executed dodges make combat not too difficult to grasp. Throw in some grotesque demons from Hell and we’ve got a shooter. Bullet Witch is packed with such monstrosities as undead soldiers who wear murdered civilians’ faces for decoration, pulsating brain-men that telepathically hurl cars and buses, or possessed humans with freakishly bulbous heads bellowing disturbing high pitched shrieks and cackles. Once armored tanks and colossal giants with machineguns mounted to their wrists start showing up, some bigger firepower is necessary.

Being a witch, Alicia has access to a variety of spells, and this ultimately ends up being one of Bullet Witch’s most interesting features. A tap of the right or left bumper brings up a spell wheel full of Alicia’s satanic magic, such as Ancient Wall – an incantation materializing a solid brick wall providing cover from enemy fire. Willpower pushes objects laying around like cars and dumpsters into enemies, while Rose Spear impales foes on spikes that burst from the ground. The big spells are much flashier. Cast Lightning, for example, and Alicia stops to strike a pose while gloating to her enemies how the heavens will burn them to the bone. Then a brilliant flash shoots from the sky blowing tanks and the nearby vicinity into rubble. With command of such magic, you’d wonder why Alicia bothers with the gunplay, but Bullet Witch smartly prevents mass spell spamming. Although MP continually regenerates, your initial max MP is capped at the start of a level. Killing enemies raises the cap, and casting spells lowers it. Very powerful spells generally drain most of Alicia’s MP.

At the end of each level, Alicia is awarded experience points to purchase various upgrades. You can strengthen the various Gun-Rod forms, power up spells for longer effect duration or more damage dealt, or quicken your HP & MP’s regeneration rate. I always like when you have a certain degree of customization to your character, and this one discourages replaying easy levels to overpower your character by only giving experience once per stage on each difficulty setting.

It’s unfortunate that the level design isn’t as nearly as good as the shooting mechanics. The levels are a bit more open than they should with too many identical looking paths, side alleys, and such. This is especially frustrating when several stages are packed with multiple psychic barriers held up by different enemies Alicia must hunt. Often you kill the enemy, see a cutscene of the barrier being dispelled and have no idea where that location is. An in-game map would have been helpful. Occasionally the game suffers from ‘copy & paste’ design as well, such as in the second level when Alicia must traverse identical looking street intersections each guarded by the same gargantuan monster. Stage five is a complete disaster throwing you into a large, open field with zero cover while the screen is muddled by fog. The good addition to the level design is the occasional chance for environmental kills. In the city, Alicia can pump lead into gas trucks causing a towering inferno that engulfs nearby victims. Crumbling debris in the subway tunnel indicates Alicia can shoot the ceiling to have it come crashing down on unsuspecting monsters. It’s too bad there aren’t more of these in the game.

Bullet Witch feels unfinished. The game’s six levels only take 4-5 hours to complete, and there’s only two bosses. It culminates in an incredibly tedious battle that drags on for 15-20 minutes of pumping bullet after bullet into a lumbering massive demon. Bullet Witch is also riddled with the occasional awkward hit detection and frequent dips in frame rate. It’s not a particularly good looking 360 title either due to many bland textures and too much open space. There’s also rarely any music, and the English dubbing is hilariously wooden.

If you like shooters, Bullet Witch is a fun enough game while it lasts. The spell system is an especially nice addition that sets this one apart from others in its genre, but it’s far from a spectacular title. Cavia has a tendency to make cool games that would have benefited from more time and money, and this one is no exception. Bullet Witch lacks the polished and complete experience you get from better third-person shooters on the Xbox 360 like the Gears of War series and Alan Wake.

Rating: 6/10

Genj's avatar
Community review by Genj (August 08, 2010)

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aschultz posted August 11, 2010:

Some nitpicky typos in an otherwise good review. I may have more after the TT results, which I'm not done with yet, and this won't affect my vote. I just wanted to write this up for RotW stuff and in case you wanted to proofread.

come crashing sown (sown->down)
pump led into gas trucks (led->lead)
are a bit too open than they should (too->more)

Alicia’s satanic magic + Alicia stands to exorcise the minions of SATAN = contradiction? She's not killing Satan with his own magic I think...

That's about it and it's not much.
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True posted August 11, 2010:

Alicia’s satanic magic + Alicia stands to exorcise the minions of SATAN = contradiction? She's not killing Satan with his own magic I think...

Not to nitpick your nitpick, but I think "Satanic" could refer to simply evil/demonic magick, not giving direct ownership of said magick.

And yes, it is spelled with a K.
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Genj posted August 12, 2010:

Thanks for pointing out the typos.

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