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Introduction:

Nintendo's Gamecube has always had great game titles to play. Games such as Mario (in all its different incarnations), Metroid, Kirby and all of the different versions of Pokemon come to mind immediately. Amid these great titles there has been a noticeable gap, games oriented to the older and more mature gamer. Sure there was the excellent Resident Evil 4, the only true sequel to the PSone and DC versions, and Metal Gear Solid was remade, but what else really was, or is, an adult oriented title? The Cube is painfully short on the grittier tougher titles that some us older guys (and gals) would love to play on our little square cube. At this years E3 the Outcast and I were wandering the Nintendo booth and came upon an interesting title called Killer 7. We were informed by a Nintendo spokesperson that this game was rated "M" for mature and we were wowed by this news. Developed by Capcom, this title came out of left field as I did not expect the big

Killer 7

 

Killer 7

ESRB: Mature - M
Platform: Gamecube
Category: n/a
 
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Introduction: Nintendo's Gamecube has always had great game titles to play. Games such as Mario (in all its different incarnations), Metroid, Kirby and all of the different versions of Pokemon come to mind immediately. Amid these great titles there has been a noticeable gap, games oriented to the older and more mature gamer. Sure there was the excellent Resident Evil 4, the only true sequel to the PSone and DC versions, and Metal Gear Solid was remade, but what else really was, or is, an adult oriented title? The Cube is painfully short on the grittier tougher titles that some us older guys (and gals) would love to play on our little square cube. At this years E3 the Outcast and I were wandering the Nintendo booth and came upon an interesting title called Killer 7. We were informed by a Nintendo spokesperson that this game was rated "M" for mature and we were wowed by this news. Developed by Capcom, this title came out of left field as I did not expect the big ‘N' to have such a title and I really could not wait to play the finished version. Killer 7 is a story of seven different personalities melded into the mind of a single lone assassin. The main character must harness each attributes of each character and defeat the evil clan known as The Heaven Smile. So, is the long drought for a quality adult orientated game over? Read on. Graphics: Killer 7 is undoubtedly one of the coolest looking titles to ever grace the Gamecube. Although it does not run in progressive scan it still looks gorgeous. The cel-shaded look is eye catching and drips with vibrant colours throughout. Even before the game has started the anime inspired hard-edged graphical flair is immediately apparent. Replacing intricate object details with dark shadows and highlights, the graphical style and imagery of Killer 7 exemplifies the different experience that the game style presents. The game is a visual treat and will be most popular amongst fans of anime and Manga, which tends to portray graphic violence to the extreme. The game does have some very bloody and violent scenes that elicited a very loud "cool" from this gamer as it is not very often you will see this kind of brash violence on the GCN. Heads being blown off, blood flowing like tap water, gruesome mutilations...it seems like everything is all here. The game warrants a 17+ rating as the level of violence portrayed in this title definitely shows a need for it. I would think that in the hands of younger child this game would most certainly provoke nightmares so any parent must take the ESRB warning quite seriously. Overall the Gamecube handles the graphics like a pro. Very little slow-down and or clipping are present even in graphic heavy situations. Each character in the game looks awesome; especially the various bosses. Although each character does look good the common baddies look virtually the same, but at least they do so looking good. There is also a use of repeated textures but I suppose the lack a large variety textures really helps in the processing department. I also noted that loading times were quite good, something akin to the Gamecubes smaller discs. Sound: Killer 7's sounds and musical tracks are clear, clean and very well represented. This game does not employ Dolby Pro Logic 2; however this fact will not deter the games impact or the overall fun factor in anyway. In fact, the level of realism is quite high as guns sound spot on, the voice acting is terrific and the moody music helps push the story along. I was quite amazed with how ‘blowing off' various body parts and shooting up things in general is actually done with great care. The sounds employed in many of the gruesome scenes will most certainly make one cringe while watching it happen. The in-game music is quite dark and brooding. Various levels found in the game have their own eerie and moody musical score accompanied by sharp interjections of bone jarring effects. For those looking for some kind of comparison, I would liken the experience to that similar of going to the movies and watching a horror flick. The tension builds throughout only to have one finally hit the top of the emotional rollercoaster and then get bumped around and they start the whole ride all over again. The effect is quite convincing and can be a little disruptive, but very effective. Killer 7 had me jumping out of my seat on more then one occasion due to this well implemented effect. Gameplay: Killer 7's control scheme is quite a daunting challenge at first. From the beginning the button placement just seemed wrong as I was constantly pressing the wrong button(s) and messing up one way or another. Essentially Killer 7 uses an on-rails system where the gamer holds a button and moves forward. Press another to make a 180° turn and run the other way. Along the way the game's story branches, providing a means of selecting between different paths. This requires a quick flick of the analogue stick to choose between various paths. This control system, after one has mastered the uniqueness of it, maintains the fluid nature of the game, resulting in a fast-paced and fairly graceful set-up. I was disappointed by the fact that environments, which appear to be in 3D, cannot actually be explored in such a manner because the characters have to follow a set path. This makes the game very linear in structure and the gamer really cannot stop to smell the flowers, so to speak. As a result the set-up feels archaic and unrefined by today's standards. On top of that, because the camera switches cinematically after a new pathway has been selected, simply moving through an environment can be jarring and disorienting. The camera tends to pan back and forth way too abruptly. Only after gamers learn to use the compass and map features in the game will they then have the feeling that they finally have a firm bearing on their direction and their place in any given level. This does take some practice to do and it will become easier to navigate the options and maps functions once this is mastered. A neat spin on the survival-horror genre is that in this game your character needs blood to survive. Each enemy you kill, regardless of which personality you are using, triggers a stylish dematerialization effect where the enemies bodies turn into droplets of blood. The blood scatters and is quickly sucked up. In Killer 7, blood is currency and it can be traded for such things as stat upgrades and other goodies. To provide a relatively spoil free review, I am not going to go into detail as to what you can obtain, but trust me, the items can be pretty cool. Conclusion: Besides the very bizarre story line and the very tough control arrangement Killer 7 is a pretty good title. The dark stylish action is a perfect backdrop to a rather good story and the beautiful cel-shaded look to the entire game is a refreshing and an effective way to engage any gamer. Of course understanding the complex story is an undertaking in itself and being able to harness the awkward control will take some time and patience. Sadly the amount of time required mastering the intricacies of control and options might turn off casual gamers. On another note I would most definitely keep this title well away from the young ones; it's just not for them. This is a simple fact that is really interesting about this game. It is truly for the older and more mature gamer (those who played the 8-bit NES as a kid) with its very adult oriented theme. I must give a great big hat off to Capcom and Nintendo for allowing the Gamecube to up its street credibility with a violent and very adult oriented title. And for those who are curious, I am not endorsing the violence, but I do remind people that this is just a video game after all.





 
 

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