This summer has been something of a blockbuster home run for comic book movies, but every one of them I’ve subsequently reviewed as a game has failed to meet my lowest expectations as interactive entertainment.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Hollywood treats associated console and PC titles in the same way that it organises the printing of T-shirts: it’s something they do because it’s expected.
The plan, if they’ve got one, is to produce a title that carries the branding and gets a kick from the associated movie marketing, and at worst gets ‘die-hard fans might want this’ review.
I’d love to give you one of those reviews for Hellboy: The Science of Evil on the Xbox 360, but this title has the soul of the most demonic characters Big Red has ever encountered – none at all.
Games can redeem themselves from poor execution by being funny, or fun to play, or delivering something unexpected. This game does none of those things, and doesn’t even hint at a better title that a longer development might have unleashed.
To say that Science Of Evil has variation is like suggesting being guillotined has multiple outcomes. It doesn’t. You kill the creatures, open the ‘ghost barrier’, kill some more creatures, and so on, and on, for six painful chapters. Along the way you get the ubiquitous boss levels, which are very easy and comfprtably defeated whilst eating a burger with the other hand and watching the Olympics simultaneously.
Does it have anything good, you might wonder? I did. Actually to be fair I liked the audio of smashing stuff up, and the Hellboy incidental music, and that they’d actually got Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, and Doug Jones to do their characters voices. And you get to play all three during the game. But these specs of gold don’t detract from the overall rusting junk nature of this title.
That’s because it’s mainly trash. The cut-scenes are poorly rendered, can’t be skipped and aren’t in a decent resolution. If that wasn’t enough the combat system consists almost entirely of bashing the X-button. There is no style or finesse about any aspect of it. The point of view is controlled by the game logic, which is both a contradiction in terms and a bloody annoyance.
The developers have gone through the motions, even taking some time to research the Hellboy universe, but it’s a token gesture and a hollow one at that.
So if someone close to you makes this a birthday or Christmas gift for you, feel free to paraphrase the big red guy, and say ‘oh crap!’ when you open it.