Deadly Creatures had enormous potential and is a good game, but turns out a bit disappointing for a number of reasons.

User Rating: 7 | Deadly Creatures WII
(+) small insects and large environments lend to a unique perspective; graphics and audio are both impressive; the help arrow is very useful for guiding you through the huge areas

(-) difficulty is wildly inconsistent; too many attacks require Wii-waggle; quick time events are frustrating and cheap; short game with little on the line for replayability

There's no other game on any console this generation, let alone the Wii, to have a game anything like Deadly Creatures. It puts you in the perspective of a spider or scorpion, both with varying movement and combat abilities, and you roam through large environments fighting other insects. Though each of these animals are small to us, they are depicted as monsters in Deadly Creatures, and the realism of the experience is very intriguing. Even for those afraid of creepy crawlies (I myself am pretty scared of spiders), this concept is hard to overlook. But uniqueness isn't enough to allow the game to survive when many fundamental flaws are going against it.

The story is kind of irrelevant. Two humans, who are voiced by actors Billy Bob Thorton and Dennis Hopper, appear to be digging for where they believe is hidden treasure. You'll see some cut-scenes of the two talking from the perspective of one of the hiding insects, mysteriously appearing to be aware of their intentions to some degree, and you'll also occasionally hear them have conversations as you play through the levels. It's unlikely that you're going to care too much about how it ends. The story is kind of unnecessary, but at least it stays out of the way.

Deadly Creatures is an odd hybrid of a 3D platformer and a beat-em'-up. Your objectives will depend heavily on which insect you're playing as. The spider's levels are more puzzle based, requiring you to make jumps and swing your web to reach different locations. While the scorpions levels are more straightforward, moving through corridors. The levels are very large and complex, to the point where you could even get lost, but pressing 1 on the remote will cause an arrow to appear, and that will guide you through the mission. You will rely on it a lot. The spider has quick movement and evasive ability, but has no way to defend from attacks. The scorpion however is more slowed down and tactical driven, but lacks the mobility of the spider. The developers really did a good job making representations of the insects on all accounts, the way they move, look, feel and sound. But no matter which arthropod you play as, the experience is heavily based around combat with other villainous insects.

The combat system in Deadly Creatures is a blessing and a curse, though mostly the latter. Both monsters have an array of attacks they can master through experience, which require varying motions and button presses. For example, spewing web with the spider requires you to press B, which is also your observe button, then use the cursor to lock on to a piece of web, then release B for the spider to swing to it. The scorpion has the ability to do a forward swipe by pressing the B button. However, many of the attacks will demand you to waggle the remote and/or nun-chuck, and not just occasions either, but a regular occurrence. As the scorpion, you'll need to use your swipe attack to clear weeds, which requires the waggle, and chances are your wrists are going to be sore after playing as little as two hours.

Finishing off most of the insects will sometimes be done with a finishing move, though it's not necessarily needed to kill the enemies. They always open up with a beautifully rendered cut-scene, of a brutal sting or bite which is finished off with a blood curdling scream. However, you won't pull it off successfully if you miss a quick time event, which are severely overused. You don't get a hair longer than a second to react to these events, and worse yet the motions aren't always responsive. Sometimes they'll work right on the fly, other times you'll need to shake the remote in the indicated direction multiple times before it will register, and other times any motion that the Wii detects will dismantle the event. Some fine tuning would have went a long way to correct this issue, but as it is the quick time events are just a pain. Especially during a part as you play the spider, then he gets trapped in a web of enemy spider, and is supposed to dig his way out of not one but four other webs, requiring you to to successfully do at least 10 events and if you miss as many as one, then the spider will be devoured.

The difficulty in Deadly Creatures spins off in every possible direction. There are many bugs that use blunt force over brains and simply try to attack, without bothering to evade your attacks. There are some reasonably challenging boss fights, like the spider fighting the snake as you see on the cover, and even the scorpion and spider seem to have duels every now and then. But there are times that the game can go from being a cakewalk to just downright hateful. You'll fight lizards that seem to block all the time, even somehow detecting when you're going to attack and blocking you the very instant. And worse yet, the checkpoint system hasn't been done very well, so you could pass one battle with the skin of your teeth, then get killed by any of the remaining enemies, then have to do everything all over again. Granted, there are times the game plays fair, like giving a vertical ledge that way as the spider you can pounce on the blocking lizards where they can't get to you. While the difficulty is rough by default, you do have a choice among easy, medium, and "deadly" modes for difficulty. I was playing on medium difficulty, and switching down to easy smoothed things over significantly, but still there was standstills.

Deadly Creatures isn't pushing the Wii to its limits, but the insects are very detailed and the large environments look deep and alive. Movement is also elegant and smooth, and there's very little of what you would say isn't "realistic". The sound completes the overall package, with occasional suspenseful music and groans of terror and anger coming from the insects. The camera generally works but tends to get stuck behind walls for a moment, then flips back to normal. There are also some odd load times at points in the levels, which can take up to five seconds, which feel very out of place and can even break the pace of the game.

It's not going to take you very long to beat the game. There are ten chapters, each with varying lengths and difficulties. But even know I died often at difficult parts, the whole thing only lasted about four and a half hours. And the only possible incentive for replaying levels is to find collectibles hidden through the level, in the form of larva eggs that also replenish a little health, but there's little point in doing so. Deadly Creatures is best experienced as a rental, because there's a good chance that you're never going to want to return to it again.

Deadly Creatures had enormous potential, but turns out disappointing for a number of reasons. It's difficult not to be amazed at the originality of this title, but it's equally difficult to appreciate the game when you have to live with so many technical and design shortcomings. If you want to like it, you certainly will, there's plenty of fun to be had roaming through these insanely detailed and captivating environments as small creatures, but at the end of the day, the game is merely average. It's true that the experience is unlike anything done in video gaming for a long time, but that makes this often frustrating experience even more disappointing because you shouldn't be forced to deal with the bad in order to appreciate the good. However, if you can look past the problems, you'll find an original adventure that's absolutely worth experiencing.