"Imagine Laharl as a homicidal furry and you've got this game..."
There was a time when violence and gore were not so commonplace in video games. I remember that era, when my friends and I gushed over upcoming titles that promised buckets of blood and guts. We didn't seek those games out because they appeared genuinely solid, but because playing them was an act of teenage rebellion. Everyone, from parents to teachers to religious leaders, scoffed at the concept of exposing our fragile minds to such subversive material, fearing that these games would turn us into bloodthirsty killers or mindless burnouts devoid of empathy. I will say that, at least in my case, they were wrong. Well, mostly...
Please don't look in my trunk...
No matter how hard anyone tried, no one successfully prevented us from delving into Doom or popping quarters into Mortal Kombat. Both of those classics, and many others, ushered us into a devious realm where we watched our grimmest fantasies play out, from exploding chests to decapitations. Soon we were all desensitized, and further adventures down these bloodstained avenues grew staler with each new "gory game." It got to the point that even a giant ape pissing acid on dinosaurs only drew yawns from us. Eventually grue became par for the course, and titles made specifically to showcase such material either faded or didn't use that kind fo shock value as their selling points so frequently.
That, of course, sets us up for a throwback title...
Brutal simplicity returns in the form of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, a 2D platformer that boasts barrels of bloody mayhem. Here you take the role of Prince Ash, the ruler of Hell on a mission to murder one hundred minions who happened to spy Ash playing with a rubber ducky on a muckraker's website. Humiliated, the prince decides it's better to dish out judicious slaughter than explain away the gaffe.
To reduce the minion population efficiently, Ash requires smooth mobility and an impressive arsenal. Thus, he secures a contraption that serves as both a jet pack and a body-enveloping saw blade that not only provides him with the ability to temporarily float, but also slices demonic punks to ribbons. However, while the blade is handy, it's not sufficient for killing every adversary (especially metallic ones). That's where the an impressive list of firearms come in handy, ranging from a hard-kicking revolver to a destructive bazooka, and even including a holy water gun that exudes green slime, a devastating laser cannon, and a pulverizing four-cannon rocket launcher. Saws and bullets equipped, the prince cruises through the convoluted corridors of Perdition to locate and annihilate various mini-bosses in grisly (and hilarious) fashion. In the process, he lines his pockets with coins and gems that grant him access to new weaponry, upgrades, and skins in special shops.
Just the act of murder isn't enough, though. Developer Arkedo must have known that repetitive splatters would only bore players before long, and thus decided to include a basic, neat feature in the form of death animations. You see, as you slice and dice each malefic moron, the game thrusts you into one of various quick-time events or mini-games featuring ridiculous depictions of carnage. For instance, upon defeating a certain queen, Ash dons a luchador outfit and wrestles the monarch to death, ending the showdown with a devastating elbow drop from outer space.
Death animations quickly led me to addiction during my own playthrough. I found myself crawling from one enemy to the next in order to witness as many over-the-top demises as possible, sometimes unaware of the passage of time. By the end credits, I saw the prince blast a sentient piece of poop with a high-powered laser, roast a regal sheep with a pair of enormous flints, launch an anthropomorphic flower into orbit, and summon a hungry T. Rex to devour a smitten butt-monster. Yes, you read that correctly: there's a dinosaur who literally eats ass in this game. One of my favorites involved a demonic dachshund urinating on a defeated opponent, causing an evil tree to sprout from the puddle that tore the foe to bits.
I definitely had a blast with this outing for a fair chunk of its short campaign. Sadly, though, around kill seventy the experience lost its flavor. At that point, the repetitive process of locating and offing minions had grown tiresome. Bear in mind, you have to take out one hundred of them. With so many deviants to maim, it's not unreasonable to suppose that the game's charm would wear thin.
For me, began to flatten to the point that I struggled to push myself through those last thirty bosses, constantly trying to convince myself to call it a day and move onto something else. As I said before, this adventure has its gruesome, juvenile perks, but content like that only remains amusing for so long. After a while, you remember why it is the gorefests of yore eventually became borefests. It's no wonder the industry was keen on progressing beyond this kind of material...
Although there's some grim catharsis in destroying all one hundred viewers, the game offers little variety to alleviate the repetition. While there are a few stages that deviate from Hell Yeah!'s core mechanics, such as one segment that involves piloting a submarine through tight quarters, there aren't enough such unique scenes. Worse, numerous death animations replay, which only further underscores the sense of repetition.
Despite one major downside, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is still an enjoyable distraction. You just have to be mindful of what kind of game you're playing. This one isn't intended to be a deep experience that furthers the notion of video games as art. Instead, it's an interactive bloodbath that's great for blowing off steam. It's a simple, streamlined cavalcade of splatter that demands little intellect and offers light entertainment. I don't know about you, but sometimes that's all I ask for.
Well, that and some variety...
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (July 04, 2022)
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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