|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rainbow Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Let's not beat around the bush; Deadly Creatures is an odd bird. It's set in a pseudo-realistic world where you alternate between playing as a tarantula and a scorpion. Though there is an actual story here - one that revolves around two sketchy human characters - you're always experiencing the game through the many eyes of well, the deadly creatures. Does it work as a compelling video game?
In a word, yes. It's a sordid tale filled with irony, and the perspective from which it's told is both intriguing and decidedly creepy. Elements of the plot are revealed by way of dialogue between two human characters portrayed by Billy Bob Thorton and Dennis Hopper. The presentation is deep and well thought out, though the gameplay does fall short on various levels.
The game is pieced together with individual chapters, and you'll alternate between playing both creatures. The first chapter puts you in control of the tarantula and walks you through many of the basics. A sidebar will pop up on the top left of the screen whenever there's new info to check out, and it's a really well-implemented and polished system.
Though you move both creatures with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, each creature offers fairly unique gameplay experience. Pressing the Z button, for instance, makes the tarantula jump; for the scorpion, pressing Z causes him to go into a guarding stance. The scorpion can dash with a downward gesture on the Nunchuk or burrow by turning the Wii Remote upside-down and then gesturing upward to attack enemies from his hiding place. Some of the best moves are acquired later on in the game, and as such, Deadly Creatures is something of a slow burn.
There are some idiosyncrasies, however, with the controls. For one, there is a slight delay in almost every command you make, and stringing together combinations of attacks or movements can get tricky. Additionally, there isn't any noticeable control rumble when executing gesture-based moves and attacks, and the lack of feedback often leaves you guessing as to whether or not you're gesturing properly; you also miss out on any sort of visceral satisfaction. There are various context-sensitive moments during boss fights or when mortally wounding certain enemies, and though they're mostly clever and entertaining to watch, the timing can be pretty unforgiving.
You can adjust the sensitivity for gesturing, but we noticed absolutely no difference between the very lowest setting and the very highest. Luckily, gesturing isn't a continuous element of gameplay, but certain context-sensitive moments still proved to be quite frustrating. Worse still, you'll often be forced to redo bosses when botching up a gesture toward the end of an encounter, and being unable to skip past cutscenes grows particularly tiresome.
On the plus side, the game has a really cool system for objectives. You'll get your main, quest objectives as you progress through each chapter, but then there are side objectives, which, when met, garner you additional experience points. As you reach new points goals, you'll unlock new moves and abilities for your creatures. There are also other achievements that unlock various goodies in the "Extras" section of the game.
The camera moves cinematically, though you can, at any time, quickly reposition the view behind your creature by pressing down on the D-pad. For the most part, the camera system works well and even adds a unique feeling of empowerment as you walk effortlessly along walls. However, the camera can also, at times, leave you disoriented or vulnerable to enemy attack when it occasionally flips around uncontrollably. Interestingly, the level design has a few things in common with Super Mario Galaxy, as your creatures can move along walls and such, and exploring levels becomes the real star of the show.