The film remake of Clash of the Titans bombed with critics and successfully raped my childhood in the process, so I went into the video game adaptation expecting the worst. Shockingly, the worst never came. It’s not that Clash of the Titans is approaching any level of quality that could be considered good. Rather, I was impressed by the level of depth that Game Republic tried to inject into the mythological hack-‘n’-slasher. It almost threatened to become the Greek version of Bayonetta at times.
The comparison to Bayonetta is far from arbitrary. Unlike most action games based on movies, Clash of the Titans is not a straightforward, scene-by-scene adventure. It diverts from the established storyline so often that I wonder how how many plot details were actually dispensed to Game Republic. Beyond differences in storytelling, Clash of the Titans makes heavy use of the sectional battles from Bayonetta, in which you must defeat enemies in a closed-off area to move on, complete with statistics and grades for combative prowess. But, whereas the sections in Bayonetta were part of a grander adventure, the sections in Clash of the Titans are the end-all-be-all elements of gameplay, with almost no opportunities for exploration or any sense of progression.
The fragmented battles end up being Clash of the Titan’s main downfall. As Perseus, you offer to help save the city of Argos from Hades and his Kraken, but first you must prove your worth, even though no one else stepped up to the plate. Your hub for receiving missions, saving games, and tinkering with your weapons is a 15x15ft room. With each mission, you are whisked away to the appropriate, and typically claustrophobic, battleground to dispose of whatever feeble monsters stand between you and the next mission. You will do this dance of accepting missions, sitting through loading screens, and decimating useless underlings no less than seven times before setting out to the next hub. By this time, you will have also completed 15 percent of the game.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is an excellent example of game that used the same type of hub-system with superb results, but No More Heroes 2 also had some of the baddest bosses in gaming. Clash of the Titans barely has anything resembling a climax. There are bosses, but for otherworldly creatures, most of them are complete pushovers. I expected an epic struggle when the giant scorpion crawled out of its cave, but all it did was roar at me. What were those pincers and stinger for? Also, since when do scorpions roar? Nearly a third of the bosses mentally disintegrated halfway through the battles, seemingly unsure of what to do with me, and so they froze as I summarily slaughtered them.
The horrible pacing and lackluster bosses are unfortunate drawbacks, because there is so much potentials in Clash of the Titans’ combat-system. Sub-weapons are at the heart the beast, with more than 90 to collect from your opponents through brief quick-time events, Sub-weapons include everything from swords and axes, to bows and magical abilities, or even the wing of a harpy. Attempting to seize a sub-weapon that you already possess from an opponent rewards you with materials to upgrade your equipment. Upgrades include higher attack values, less energy consumption, and unlockable abilities that make each item pleasantly unique.
The controls seem needlessly complex at first, but they harbor a vast array of tactical possibilities; light and heavy attacks, dodging, targeting, seizes to capture sub-weapons and energy from enemies, and contortions of each that will have your fingers flipping back and forth across the controller. There are 28 combos when using your main weapon, and more if you count the possibilities with sub-weapons. Almost all of it goes to waste against the decrepit hordes. With very few exceptions, the best offensive maneuver for every situation is a basic jump-attack. I jumped around so much that Perseus might as well have been riding a pogo-stick.
Game Republic obviously put effort into the combat-system and tried to turn Clash of the Titans into something beyond a mindless movie-based game, but it all falls apart without tough enemies and engaging level-design to support it. Anyone with half-an-ounce of skill will be able to plow through the opposition with ease, and the game is packed with useless filler as it is. Clash of the Titans isn’t broken, nor completely incompetent, but it sure is boring.