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Welcome Back to the West
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The only thing that stops the dust is the rain. It’s a sweet reprieve, but there is no middle ground. The land is either as dry as the Betty Ford clinic, or as wet as the ocean floor. Everything can be seen from the ridge overlooking Armadillo as John Marston gently bounces along atop...

Dementium: The Ward Member Review for the DS

Ivory_Soul By:
GENRE Adventure 
PUBLISHER Gamecock Media Group 
DEVELOPER Renegade Kid 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

The Good: Amazing graphical feat for the DS, spooky atmosphere, creepy enemies, horrifying bosses, great control scheme

The Bad: Weird lighting effects, terrible map, maze like hallways, scarce ammo and health make things harder, respawning enemies, confusing puzzles, confusing story, brutal save system

Boy do I love this game...actually I hate this game and love it at the same time. This is probably one of the best looking DS games out there right now with this FPS survival horror running at 60 FPS it's fast, smooth, and very creepy. Yes, the game is actually creepy kind of like Silent Hill creepy. The game is full of weird monsters, mind boggling puzzles, and creepy atmosphere and ambiance.

   The game controls really well, but the actual size of the DS makes your wrists cramp up and go numb all the time. If you've played Metroid Prime: Hunters then you know the whole set up, but if you haven't then I'll tell you. You move your reticule around with the stylus so this feels real and also makes things a lot easier (yeah PSP!) while you move around with the A, B, X, Y (if you're left handed) or the D-pad (if you're right handed). You have your inventory right under your health bar (which is your heart monitor) so you can just touch the weapons you want on the fly and this makes combat easy and fast.

  While the game play is pretty straight forward (double tap B or Up to run) you just run around shooting the weird monsters and solve the annoying puzzles. Yes I said annoying because the hallways all look the same and it's easy to get lost in the labyrinthine buildings and hallways with a terrible map and no sense of direction. This is not good since your wrists are cramping and going numb while you hold it in 20 different positions. The map is just a bunch of lines with yellow dots for doors and there's no way to tell where you have been. You can write on your notepad and leave notes, but this proves useless for the map and only good to jot down clues and codes for keypads.

  The whole level design is just stupidly annoying with fallen over vending machines, desks, chairs and anything else a hospital has blocking hallways and doors so you have to find your way around EVERYTHING. Since you lose track of where you were last you'll tear your hair out because of the retarded save system and this kills the whole game. You'll spend a good 20 minutes on one level and then die because there are 10 enemies coming after you and you only have 3 bullets. Dying forces you to restart the ENTIRE chapter all over again even when you at the boss fight at the end of the chapter. I really tried loving this game since I absolutely adore survival horror games and I'm very very forgiving with them (read my Alone in the Dark review) so I suffered through 5/16 chapters. The thing is it wasn't so bad until I picked up the game again 4 months later and realized why I stopped playing...the retarded save system.

   I also really hate how ammo is so scarce in the game when there are so many enemies to fight off; this and the fact that enemies respawn when you re-enter a room so all the ammo you saved up for the boss are now spend on enemies you killed 4 times already. I don't know what Gamecock was thinking, but they must not play survival horror games much. Survival horror games need to have really good maps, a way to save clues, no respawning enemies, and a good save system. The whole point is to "survive" so you have to scrounge what you have around you. This game really shows how to NOT make a survival horror game, so please just consider this before even renting this game.

  What made me actually want to like the game is that it looks so amazing and plays so damn well. The game is very creepy with eerie music, spooky sound effects such as babies crying, water dripping, doors creaking, lightning, thunder, rain pounding on roofs. The game is also very dark so you need your trusty flashlight and this is where the "Doom 3 meets Silent Hill" aspect comes in since you can only either use your flashlight or your gun. Since the DS isn't very powerful there's a black "fog of war" all around you so when you turn your flashlight off for some reason you can only see 2 steps in front of you, but your flashlight can illuminate a 30 foot hall. This is actually a hardware fault and nothing on the developers, but you really don't ever notice it. The game's monsters are very creepy with zombies that have their chests open up an shoot poison at you, weird creepy things that crawl around the ceilings, nasty slugs that give out high pitched sonic screams, really freaky bosses that I can't even being to describe, there's blood all over the halls, broken windows, papers, books, and whatever you can think of thrown everywhere so the whole place feels deserted and you feel like your all alone.

   I don't remember much about the story, but I do remember that you wake up in a hospital and you are trying to find your way out so it has a Silent Hill feel there. The game also has highly detailed textures and great lighting effects (as I've described) like lights (and your flashlight) flickering on and off, and there's lots of detail in everything. Puzzles are solved by finding papers and clues as to where to find keys, codes, and even solving certain random puzzles to open boxes, doors, etc. If you want an idea on what the puzzles are like they are exactly like the Silent Hill puzzles we have all grown to hate so you know what to expect. Overall, the game looks and plays great, but the punishing save system, scarce ammo and health, maze like hallways, and terrible map ruin this otherwise great survival horror experience.

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