Monday, November 9, 2015

Bustin' Makes You Feel Good:Extreme Exorcism Review



Take one haunted mansion and one group of plucky ghost exterminators and a set of ghost-bustin' weapons and you've got a recipe for adventure.  Be careful where you shoot and jump though because every move and trigger pull can and will come back to haunt you.  Whether it's your own ghost from the previous round or just some happy haunts the decided to join in the fun the spirits of Extreme Exorcism are on a mission to add you to their ghostly ranks.  So does bustin' make you feel good, or does the haunting get too hectic?

Control

Even for a game where you eliminate ghosts, the controls can get a bit "floaty" at times.  (Hooray for puns)  There were ledge jumps where I swear I made but would slid off.  Other than that the control is pretty solid.  I do like how the mechanics of jumping are similar to Super Mario in that you can control the direction of where you go when you jump or fall, but yeah...sometimes it feels a little off.  When the action really heats up and you have dozens of sprites on the screen it can get a little frustrating trying to blast a boo and miss because your character didn't move quite right.

Music and Sound

Extreme Exorcism has a fast-paced, but upbeat "dark" tone to the music.  The piano, drum and cymbal beats of the main screen have a haunted house feel that perfectly suits the game.  The stage music is also really well done as not only does it present a fun, rhythmic soundtrack with plenty of exciting keyboard pounding, but there's also a distinctly digital sound to the bass line and it 'really reminds me of something I might hear from a 90's arcade cabinet.  Check out this tune called "Music for Ghosts to Rock to" and I think you'll see what I mean by that distinctly 90's arcade sound.

"Music for Ghosts to Rock to"


The sounds from the game are similarly styled, never feeling out of place or too tinny, but rather like they were from a game you might find in the back corner of a local of your local arcade.  I really enjoy the style of music and sound as a it doesn't just reflect the theme of the game, but really helps add to the action on an enjoyable and visceral level.

Graphic and Style

Emulating a pseudo-8-bit era look just feels wrong for the game in my opinion.  Not that the little sprites running around the screen aren't appropriately cute and not that the animations are poor, just that I'm a little too reminded of the mobile game Tiny Tower.  Given the quality of music I wish they'd done a slight graphical upgrade or put a touch more detail into the sprites.  It wouldn't have to get too fancy, I just wish it had a little more uniqueness to it, and something that felt 90's-ish.  It probably sounds like I'm stuck in 90's mode at this point, but at this point I feel like too many companies are trying a little too hard to make a game have a "retro" feel and as a result end up with unimaginative character graphics that look all the same.  Note that I'm not saying design.  The ghosts are cute and I like the little attacking chairs and all, but I were a little varied looking.  Maybe it's just me, but everything looks like Tiny Town lately when it's pretending to look retro.  Tiny Town looks aside, the animations are fun and really work for the tone of the game.  Each different room has some nifty little background animation, like flickering candles and moving books.

Gameplay

The game is set in a haunted mansion in one of several single-screen play fields like a library, a conservatory, and other places that will strongly remind you of Clue. You choose between four different characters, all of whom play the same, but have their own unique character design.  All characters can hold up to three weapons at a time.

Each round starts with you destroying a haunted chair with one of the weapons that materialize on one of the several pads around the room.  The next round, a ghost appears and mimics your movements from the prior round;  including all the shots, knife throws, and sword swipes you took the previous round--then things start to get insane.  With each progressing level, more ghosts appear on screen, as well as more weapons.  The ghosts themselves can't hurt you, but the weapons will end you in a second and you have only three lives before it's completely Game Over.  The hybrid of puzzle and action blends well as you attempt to plot out your next run through in order to avoid previous shots and swipes.  Your first instinct might be to pepper an area with gunfire, but if you do you're likely to run into the "ghost" of those shots next round.  You can end the round quickly though by destroying the crown-wearing "king" ghost, who mimics the oldest set of moves you have on screen.  You can also take the insanity down a notch by grabbing the exorcism wings which allows you to permanently banish some of the ghosts from the play area.  Things can quickly descend into madness and the game has an enjoyably hectic pace.  However, it's sometimes easy to lose your character in all the confusion.  Especially as some of the characters have the same greenish glow as the ghosts.


Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed the fast pace of the game and the quick respawn into action.  If this were an arcade game I could easily see myself unloading a couple of bucks in quarters into this thing.  You can rack up points to open up more areas and more weapons fairly easily, and with all the challenges and modes; the game offers plenty to do.  I really wish that it offered more stylistically, but that's my only major complaint.  It was fun to unlock a new weapon to defeat ghosts, and I found myself enjoying trying to strategize where I would go and how much I would or wouldn't move.  If you like your action platformers with a little bit of a puzzle twist, then this game is for you.  If you haven't already downloaded this game for the Wii U or are a little thrown off by the price, it's well worth the full price or should be grabbed the next time it goes on sale.

My Take On That

Graphics: 7/10
Style:  7/10
Music:  10/10
Sound: 8/10
Control: 7/10
Gameplay:  8/10

Overall Score:  8/10






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