A movie with magic, chain saws, shotguns, zombies, and time travel sounds like a sure bet for a video game adaptation. Although the Evil Dead movies have all of the above, past games based on the series have been mediocre at best. THQ and Cranky Pants Games are hoping to buck that trend with their next title, Evil Dead: Regeneration. We spent some time playing an E3 build of the Xbox version of the game, and it looks like they might be on the right track this time.
Evil Dead: Regeneration is a third-person action game that follows a hypothetical storyline set after the second film. You play the game as Ash, complete with snappy one-liners and dialogue voiced by Bruce Campbell himself.
If you've seen the movie you'll remember that Ash's hand was infected with evil, so he cut it off and now sports a stump to which he attaches devices such as a chain saw. In Regeneration, you'll start out with the classic chain saw and a shotgun. You'll have two weapons at all times, and you can use them independently to dispatch enemies. Once you have beaten down an enemy to a certain point, it will become stunned and start emitting a green mist. When this happens you can run up and press a button to perform an instant kill move, of which there are more than a dozen in the game. The one we saw had Ash turning his back to a zombie, resting his shotgun on his shoulder, and blowing the monster's head off. The moves add a nice touch to an otherwise fairly by-the-book combat system. Once we got the hang of dispatching zombies, we were quickly able to clear the room. There is also lock-on targeting to help you keep your attacks focused when you're fighting multiple enemies. Eventually, you can unleash Evil Ash, which is a powered-up version of the regular Ash. When you do this you'll become stronger and will be able to kill most enemies in a single hit. According to THQ, you'll also have a sidekick throughout the game that you can use as a weapon by kicking him at enemies.
The game looked about average for a PlayStation 2 title, but it was only a 50 percent build. There are 10 different environments in the game, although we saw only the beginning cabin area. The voice work sounds great from Campbell, which is sure to please fans of the series. Some sounds, like the chain saw, are a bit off, but Cranky Pants has plenty of time to tighten those up before the release.
Evil Dead fans are understandably leery of a new game based on the franchise, but if Cranky Pants adds a bit more polish, this could easily be the best Evil Dead game to date. We'll be seeing more of Resurrection before its release later this year, so be sure to check back for details.