Video Game Review: Deadly Creatures
When we were kids, one of the many things that separated the girls from the boys was the tolerance of creepy, crawly things. The boys would go, "wow," and the girls would say "eww!" THQ is hoping to snare both the traumatized and the curious in its web of critter-on-critter combat with Deadly Creatures for the Wii.Deadly Creatures is really two tales told at once. On one side you play as a scorpion and a tarantula living Darwin's dream underground. The objective here isn't clear, except that your travels follow those of two humans above ground in an old gas station. It seems that legend tells of buried treasure somewhere nearby, and the two yokels--played by Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton--are determined to dig it up.
This is where the paths cross. As the pair goes prodding in the ground looking for the gold, they inevitably dig holes in all the wrong, or right, places. It's an interesting concept, and let's face it, your options are kind of limited when you're making a video game about bugs. Even so, the interactions between the two worlds could occur more often. The intentions of the bugs is never made clear, nor is their role in the treasure hunt, so ultimately, half the story hardly even exists.
The game is designed so that you play one level as the tarantula and the next as a scorpion. There's some retreading similar ground with each creature, but otherwise, playing as each one is quite different. Initially they're both capable of simple melee combat, but as each is upgraded with new attacks their differences become apparent.
Since spiders and scorpions have the ability to climb on walls and ceilings, be prepared to experience true 3D navigation. It can get confusing at times, particularly in dark areas. Yet you can always press a button for a handy arrow to point you in the right direction. Without it, the game would be infuriating. Though there are some hidden paths that hide collectible grubs, you're basically herded down a linear path determined by obstacles the creatures cannot traverse.
There are 10 different chapters to play through, and three different difficulty settings that you can select before loading any save. Playing on normal, you'll get around 10 hours of play out of it, but there's little reason to play it again with just galleries and behind-the-scenes videos to unlock. Each chapter is broken up into several checkpoints, and some will force you through a gauntlet of tough battles before allowing you to save. Crickets are scattered around to give you health boosts, and you'll have to ration them later in the game when things get tough.
Deadly Creatures features some pretty standard design. The two lead characters provide some semblance of variety, and the attack upgrades provide motivation, but otherwise, it's structured like a standard action adventure.
Deadly Creatures features a near-equal mix of level navigation and combat. You'll go upside down, right side up, and all places in between as both arachnids cling to each surface. You platform for a bit, and then the level breaks open into an arena where you throw down.