Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From The Doctor's Office: Death Vegas

Las Vegas: A place of gambling, vices, stories, and some good old fashioned ass kicking. Death Vegas (Fresh from AdultSwim Games) is a retro and noir fighting game that claims to mix puzzle elements right into gameplay. This intrigued me (Being the puzzle fan that I am) so I came with high expectations and in hopes that Sin City wouldn't let me down. Sadly, this game isn't up to snuff when it comes to the puzzle elements, but I guess I really can't feel too shocked by that. First and foremost, Death Vegas is a fighting game. Only this, and nothing more. So should you play Death Vegas, or spend your time at the Roulette table? Let's find out...

Gameplay: 3/5 When it comes to fighting games, I love options. Having different characters with unique moves can keep any fighting game fresh. Death Vegas hosts 9 different characters and 8 stages for them to beat the living snot out of each other on. There's also training and two player mode for those who want to challenge themselves. So, you'd think that with all these options, you'd have a lot of fun. Normally, this would be true. But each character is almost exactly the same. The special moves vary from character to character, but essentially, everyone has the same basic attacks (High, Mid, and Low) and speed. The whole game seems to be focused on blocking your opponents attacks, which is actually quite fun but loses its novelty after time. Eventually, you get stars so you can enter hyper mode, which unleases a flurry of attacks at your opponent. If you're on the butt end of this, you'll need to memorize the attack order to protect yourself. Supposedly, that's the puzzle element in gameplay, but it's still really just the same thing. However, Death Vegas is very fast paced, and I really got into it. Especially when an opponent would get a perfect block. It's frustrating, but you'll really want to lay them out with an uppercut after something as humiliating as that.

Visual: 5/5 Maybe this is just my love of the anti-hero, noir style. And maybe this is just my love of Black and White movies. Whatever the reason, I think that Death Vegas is a beautiful looking game. In game, the shadows and backgrounds make it look like a gritty scene, which works great for the game's storyline and style. Each character has their own colour too. They have one item that's coloured and their attacks feature that colour too. The menus have a great look to them as well. The character drawings look gorgeous on the Selection screen, and the minor details of each stage are great. Just don't spend too much time looking at the background while your opponent wails on you though.

Audio: 4/5 The in game music in Death Vegas is interesting. It changes depending on which stage you're brawling on, and ranges from lounge music to metal. If you don't care for it, there's a mute option in the pause menu. The voice acting is really great as well. Each character has their own attack sounds and finishing taunt. The only issue I really have with the audio is that when you're finishing someone with a combo, they'll scream over and over again. This gets annoying, but really isn't that big of an issue. Luckily, the sound effects and voices can be muted as well.

Difficulty: 3/5 With this being a fighting game, the player can select the difficulty. Meaning that if you're playing Death Vegas for badges, you can set the difficulty to 1 and breeze right through. Level 15 difficulty is frustratingly hard, on the other hand. Your opponent will block every attack, and you'll have to do the same until you can get enough stars to get a combo, which will probably just be blocked as well. Since Death Vegas is essentially a "Block-fest" you'll be doing the same thing, no matter what the difficulty. It just depends on how frustrated you want to be while you're doing it.

Overall: 4/5 I was able to get into Death Vegas. At the core, it's a very simple game with very repetitive gameplay. The controls seem to be a little delayed and there are other minor issues, but if you're in a mood for a simple fighting game with some button mashing involved, give Death Vegas a shot. At least it looks good, and isn't as frustrating as it could be. I'll probably be loading it up to play a few matches every now and again when I feel in the mood for a quick fighting game. Even though the controls are a little annoying, they're at least easy to learn, which is good for the casual player. One last thing. This is with ease, the best game by AdultSwim on Kongregate. Sadly, that's really not saying much.

If you're gunning for that "3 Hit Mode" badge, I'll leave you with a tip: Use a character with a counterattack. It makes it laughably easy. I know I said I was going to review Orbital Decay, but since they updated it, I had to scrap my draft of my review. Nothing like starting from square one. Until next time, KCG!


Kong Score: 3.66/5

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