Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit review
With Sega focusing a lot lately on revitalizing titles from their classic library, it's nice to see that they're cranking out some original stuff as well, such as Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. This game, the first fully budgeted outing from the indie developers at Arkedo Studios, literally goes off the deep end as you play an undead royalty-laden rabbit unleashing havoc on those who would dare embarrass him. One minute you're ripping through bubble gum-colored walls and smushing enemies like a zit; the next, you're in a Super Mario-ish universe where everything's a little too J-pop powered, forcing you to do what you do best in terms of dealing destruction.
It's off-beat, to say the least, but with Arkedo at the wheel, it's the kind of weirdness you can happily embrace as you carve your way through each stage. This rabbit, hunting down those who caught him in some blush-inducing photos with duckies, has armed himself with a drill that mimics the design of a "wheel of death", allowing him to dig through walls and small enemies with ease. He can also use missiles and other power-ups to do some damage to bigger enemies, as well as stock up for bosses who, surprisingly enough, actually have some feelings of their own. A conversation with the first one we faced, for instance, was actually pretty funny – before we blasted him to bits, obviously.
Though the gameplay can be repetitive over the course of the game, Hell Yeah! has a whopping amount of destruction that side-scrolling junkies will come to appreciate. Taking down enemies and lining up others in your sights is easy thanks to the user-friendly controls, and some of the bosses do pose a challenge later on in the game, so you might want to keep some ammunition on hand. The mixture of included mini-games are a nice touch, including odes to button-mashing and hitting your attack button at just the right time to issue the most damage. Again, repetitive, but fun.
Another neat aspect to Hell Yeah! is being able to use monsters you capture for use in a place called The Island. Though it's really just mini-game territory, it does allow you to build up a rather interesting supply to visit when you're tired of just lumbering through hell. We just wish it unlocked more, or at least gave us an option to fight it out ala multiplayer.
For its first full game release (the mini Xbox Live Indie games kind of don't count), Arkedo has gone all out with its design in Hell Yeah! The animations are charming (in a demon-esque sort of way), the backgrounds are bright and colorful, and the nods to classic games of old (watch out for Sega references) are clever and likable. There can be a bit much happening on-screen in later stages, but it isn't enough to completely distract you. Likewise, the audio has its moments as well, between humorous sound effects (just wait till you bounce off a butt for the first time) and good rock music.
Though it's lacking in replayability without any sort of multiplayer or worthwhile hell-ish content, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is still a superb side-scrolling romp that's worth the $15 price tag…especially if you're looking for something a little different from Sega's camp. It kind of makes you wonder how much better Sonic the Hedgehog would fare with a "wheel of death", y'know?
[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]