Monster Madness: Grave Danger Hands-On

We revisit SouthPeak's Battle for Suburbia in this perilous-sounding PS3 remake.

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Currently in development exclusively for the PlayStation 3, Monster Madness: Grave Danger is a reworked version of Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia, which shambled onto the PC and the Xbox 360 last year. The upcoming game promises to address the camera and control issues that were problematic in last year's offering, and some new content is being added to the mix for good measure. We recently had an opportunity to spend a little time with a work-in-progress version of Grave Danger, and while it's definitely still Monster Madness it appears to be far less maddening than the original.

The new controls should make situations like this much easier to deal with.
The new controls should make situations like this much easier to deal with.

There were only two of us playing co-op during our session, so we can't really speak to how well the new camera copes with four-player games. It did a fine job of keeping us both in shot in two-player mode, though. What we can definitely speak to is the new control scheme, which is a big improvement. The biggest difference is that instead of attacking with the shoulder-mounted trigger buttons you now fire your current weapon simply by pointing the right analog stick in the direction you want to shoot. It's a tried-and-tested control setup that really lends itself to this style of shooter, and frankly we're baffled that it wasn't an option in last year's game.

Up to four players will now be able to play through the adventure mode together and, provided you're all using different characters (there are still four to choose from), you can jump in and out of games at any time. The adventure mode will be comprised of the same 18 levels as the Xbox 360 version, but some design tweaks have been made in an attempt to improve the experience. The collectible parts that were scattered throughout the levels and which could be used to build and upgrade new weapons are now found inside toolboxes several at a time, for example. In multiplayer games it won't matter which of you reaches the toolbox first, incidentally, because each player will get the same parts.

Your arsenal in Monster Madness includes the usual assortment of shotguns, grenade launchers, and miniguns, as well as numerous improvised weapons such as the glue cannon, a CD launcher, and a cell phone tazer. All of the weapons in the game can be upgraded using the aforementioned parts that you'll find in toolboxes. New in the PS3 version are 100 character-specific accessory items that, much like trinkets in a role-playing game, enhance your chosen character's attributes. Pocket protectors, special nail polish, and daddy's credit card are among the examples that we were given during our meeting, confirming that the game's sense of humor has survived the transition to the PS3 intact.

Don't be alarmed, they're just zombie cats.
Don't be alarmed, they're just zombie cats.

Other all-new content in Monster Madness: Grave Danger will include 25 unlockable character costumes (in addition to those that were in last year's game) that you'll add to your wardrobe by playing through 25 new challenge missions. Challenges will generally task you with completing objectives (read: killing things) within a set time limit, and are often based on sequences found in the adventure mode. For example, the two challenges that we saw involved using a flamethrower to kill as many cats in 30 seconds as possible and shooting down enemies at the controls of a UFO in a vertically-scrolling shooter.

Monster Madness: Grave Danger for the PS3 is currently scheduled for release in April, priced at $39.99. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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