There are not too many games about bugs, or even more specific, Arachnids. So as a nice change of pace, Rainbow Studios has provided a new Wii game, which is coincidentally a nice change of pace for them and on the console which is also a nice change of pace. Enter Deadly Creatures, the action adventure game in which you explore the world as a Tarantula and a Scorpion. So is this breath of fresh air actually good? Read on to find out.
Deadly Creatures is a departure from the norm for Rainbow Studios, best known for the ATV series. It is also one in a new wave of ‘hardcore’ third party titles which should catch the attention of Wii owners. Deadly Creatures has you alternating between a tarantula and a scorpion as you explore a desert and find out why humans have invaded your territory.
Those humans are voiced by Billy Bob Thorton and Dennis Hopper, who’s talents lend significantly to the game. The story is a vague puzzle about buried gold that dates back to the American Civil War. From the detail light introduction cinematic, you are informed by Billy Bob Thorton’s character that a gas station has blown up and put someone in a coma and has something to do with gold and deadly creatures. From there the vagueness continues as you get more clues as to what they are doing there, but never any motivation for as to what you are doing beyond, ‘big things make go away.’ I must admit, I was compelled to find out what the hell was going on, but I was left questioning why a tarantula and a scorpion would even care.
Of course the real draw of Deadly Creatures is not the plot, but fact that you get to play as a tarantula and a scorpion. Rainbow did a great job by having you alternate between the two each chapter. It greatly aided the game by keeping gameplay ever changing and alleviated the main problem of games in this genre. As the tarantula you have much greater mobility and can hop around with ease. As the scorpion you are a bit slower, but much more powerful. Of course, each has abilities that allow it to take paths that the other could not. As the tarantula you will find yourself, for lack of a better term, ‘webslinging’ around and as the scorpion you can burrow in certain spots, granting you access to tunnels.
Each character has a unique set of moves, a number of which do require motions with the Wii Remote. HOLD ON! Fret not reader, Deadly Creatures, amazingly is one of the very few games on the Wii that does not obscenely abuse waggle. Each motion you perform has a specific attack associated with it and makes sense when translated to the motion. Combat felt great and was always fun due to the wide range of attacks available and the enemy diversity. There were many enemy types in the game, each with a factor that made approaching it different from the rest. Rainbow did a good job of slowly doling out the enemies to ensure constant variety. The attacks themselves differed enough from each other, though I found that I unlocked them all around half way through the game but that may be because my play style.
I have to say that the best part of Deadly Creatures was its level design and sense of scale. Sure you’ve been tiny in a big world before, but Deadly Creatures pulls it off in a remarkably unobtrusive way. I was just moseying along, killing bugs and feasting on rats when I exited the tunnel through which I was traveling only to come across the enormous vista of two towering people having a conversation. It was never the constant reminder that you are small, instead you would occasionally come across some piece of scenery, maybe you do not realize at first what it is, but is some towering object discarded like trash out in the desert.
Nothing is without problems. Deadly Creatures suffers from a problem that happens to plague this genre, the camera. For the most part, the camera works pretty well, but when you get into a heated fight or a particularly epic platforming section the camera has the intelligence to look in the opposite direction of which you want. The frame rate will also occasionally dip and I did have one occurrence of the landscape disappearing. Luckily these technical problems were rare and a bit shocking when they happened.
Deadly Creatures is another great addition to the Wii library. While the characters motivation for doing anything is never really explained, the gameplay was great and made me want to just do things because it was fun. That’s really the key here. Sure, Deadly Creatures had some problems, but it was fun. It played on my childhood fantasies of bugs. I encourage everyone to go give this title a try. Hey it’s a good game on the Wii, how can you go wrong?
The game looks great on the Wii, but more importantly, it has a fantastic sense of scale.
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I had a ton of fun fighting and exploring the game's landscapes.
Celebrity voices really add to the game's quality.
After you finish the game, there's absolutely nothing to do.
Chalk up another solid Wii title.