Death Jr. is punished for his first lackluster performance.

User Rating: 5 | Death Jr. PSP
Death Jr.

Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Playstation Portable
Genre(s): Action
Release Date: August 16, 2005

"So Death had a son and named him...Death Jr., or DJ for short. Released back in 2005, or as I like to call it the "Glory Year" Death Jr. had a really sweet premise. You play as DJ the son of the respected and feared Grim Reaper in a really awesome Action and Platforming adventure! But did it deliver? Was it awesome?

Not really.

Death Jr. showed so much promise and me and all my friends thought that is going to be one of if not the best game on the PSP. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

DJ like any other little'un gets up early and goes to school everyday. Of course he goes to a school with other students who are just as twisted, strange, and oddly as charming as he is. Such as the stigmata-sporting girl Stigmartha, the Gothic love-interest Pandora, and Dead Guppy who is exactly what he sounds like. On this day DJ and his class are out on field trip to the local museum. As usual DJ and his friends seperate themselves from the group and head off to cause mischief. Eventually they stumble across a chest that cannot be opened. In an attempt to show off DJ cracks open the chest only to unleash a terrible power kidnapping his friends, robbing their life force, and now DJ has to set out to save his friends without anybody knowing. Because he is terrified that his dad will kill him. Can you imagine the punishment that would be waiting for a disobediant child when their father is the Grim Reaper himself?

After this opening cutscene the game decides to sit in the corner and eat glue and just not pay attention. After such a strong premise and cool ideas the rest of the game is just an amazing let down. The game is pretty much a gauntlet. 75% of the game is combat with about 25% being the platforming sections sprinkled throughout.

You go about collecting pieces of your friends life force, eventually restoring them and then battling the boss. It seems that this game is a sandwich but missing the meat in between the slices of bread, hell there's barely an ending! And the game isn't voiced throughout you'll have to deal with annoying text pop-ups that doesn't even have the manners of explaining who's saying what's being put on screen. The humor that was expected with this game is completely missing, no whimsy, no wonder, no awe, there's nothing. Just a blank slate, solid story and then...nothing.
This game is a whole lot of nothing.

The gameplay thankfully has more depth but only slightly so. The game is more comparable to a third-person shooter than a platformer. DJ's weapons include his badass and trusty scythe and a series of guns that he earns at the end of each level. What's sad is the scythe is incredibly cool and packs a hell of a punch but soon you'll be wanting to trade that oversized monstrosity in for as many guns as possible. From halway through on the game becomes obsessed with overwhelming you, the game succeeds in having a fairly good difficulty spike especially if you try to use the scythe over focusing on the guns.

Now the guns are a bit of mixed bag, some are awesome be it maybe overpowered, others are funny like firing a hamster with C4 attached to it. Whereas some others are absolutely pointless. Switching weapons is a pain however with weapon switching being on the D-Pad meaning you can't move while changing weapons. While the overwhelming enemies later can add a good layer of difficulty and challenge, the bosses in this game are a cakewalk. The biggest difficulty about them is figuring out how to defeat them once that is down however, these pushovers don't even deserve to be called "bosses."

Now from what little platforming there is in this game it is actually pretty tight. Not perfect however because the swinging and wall-jumping can get pretty frustrating at times and while the camera isn't that big of a problem in the game as a whole it is an absolute nightmare when trying to platform.

The Graphics in the game are pretty solid and the character designs definitely being the highlight, but the rest of the game such as the environment or the enemy design are just bland and boring in comparison.

In Conclusion as charming and periodically interesting as Death Jr. is this game never really succeeded in being "fun." Death would be ashamed, perhaps he will indeed kill you Jr.

+Interesting Story and Characters
+Platforming works well enough
+Interesting Arsenal of Guns
+Fair Difficulty Spike

-Boring Bosses
-Forgettable Gameplay
-Lackluster Level and Enemy Design
-Camera during Platforming is very frustrating
-Some weapons lose effectiveness or are just never useful

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