PS2 REVIEW: EVIL DEAD REGENERATION
It's fine for a movie to be bad as long as it has some redeeming quality about it such as a sense of humor. The Evil Dead series is a perfect example of bad but funny movies. That doesn't quite work the same way for videogames. A bad game is a bad game. In order to make a game that appears bad but is actually good requires tremendous production techniques and a huge budget, something that none of the Evil Dead games have ever had. Evil Dead: Regeneration is certainly the best of the trilogy but there are a few skeletons in the ointment.

Bruce Campbell is the epitome of a B-movie star. I'm not making fun of him he actually admits it in his book, If Chins Could Talk: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. I would recommend getting this book over the game if you're a Bruce Campbell fan. Mr. Campbell is a great storyteller with no pretensions. He's as refreshing as the bumbling character that he plays in the Evil Dead series which you'll learn all about. Ash has risen from the ashes of obscurity to once again kick some undead butt back to Hell. So strap on that chainsaw and let's go make a few ghosts.

Regeneration has an all-new storyline but don't worry, things still begin at the cabin which is under attack by a crew of deadites that Ash is able to slaughter. The problem is that the cops don't believe him and think that the slain bodies are the work of a psychotic. Ash is taken to mental hospital where he discovers that an evil doctor is performing experiments in the basements using the Necronomicron. In the process a variety of ungodly creatures, deadites and monsters are being created with subsequent mutations. As horrendous as this premise may sound, Ash is still able to maintain his sense of humor.

Sam is a new addition to the series. He's a mutated deadite that is only a few feet tall but has a mouth on him that you'd like to permanently close with your boot. The interesting thing is that he's your partner and while he's capable of getting killed, he regenerates instantly making him useful for a variety of situations. You can kick him into dangerous situations to test the waters. Throw him at an enemy and at times he will rip the head off of them while other times he'll get his assed handed to him. You can use him to solve puzzles and even possess him to access areas that are too small for Ash. He's a good addition to the series and gives Ash someone to verbally spar with. There is lots of dialog and it's very well acted. You're bound to laugh out loud at many irreverent situations.

Humor saved the low-budget Evil Dead movies but it doesn't help the low budget presentation of the game. The graphics are blocky and low res, there is clipping right through walls, the enemy performs the same attacks over and over and never gets more challenging and Ash himself is hard to control when jumping from platform to platform. None of these issues are enough to ruin the game individually but when you add them up it's like sitting in the middle of a bee farm with honey on your head.

It's not impossible to overlook some of these problems and get on with the game. Ash is able to attach a number of different weapons to the stump of his right arm including a flamethrower, harpoon and the classic, chainsaw. With a shotgun in his left hand you have the ultimate Evil Dead combo which is useful for most of the game, but it's nice to harpoon the deadites and other monsters and reel them in for a nice blast to the head with the shotgun.

Finishing moves add a nice gory and violent touch. When an enemy is on his last leg he will turn a shade of green whereupon you get in close and administer the coup de grace - often involving some method of head removal. Ash also has a rage meter that builds up as he gathers floating orbs from dead enemies. Once engaged, Ash transforms into a super-powerful demon that has more powerful attacks and faster moves.

The dialog and voiceovers are the best features of the game. The developers acknowledge this by offering, as an unlockable, a behind-the-scenes documentary of Mr. Campbell performing his voiceovers for the game. At the very least you should rent this game for the laughs if nothing else. If you can think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of Halloween than you're probably dead already.

Preview by Gooseberry

THQ Inc. today announced Evil Dead Regeneration for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and Windows. The game explores a "what if..." continuation from Evil Dead 2, one of the most unhinged films from famed director Sam Raimi. Voiced by Bruce Campbell, players will control Ash, the reluctant hero of the series, as they're thrown into a masquerade of evil events, equipped with the latest in prosthetic fashion. Developed by THQ studio Cranky Pants Games, Evil Dead Regeneration is scheduled to release this summer.

"I've come to understand that there is only one person in this world fit for this kind of work," said Ash, part-time S-Mart manager, full-time fox. "And that's me. Not because of my knack to get things right, most of the time, but because I can slice and dice evil better than a knife sold on any late-night infomercial. Maybe it's partially to the fact that I've replaced one of my hands with a chainsaw, but I digress."

Evil Dead Regeneration follows Ash, the lone survivor of a camp discovering the Necronomicon -- the wholly evil book of the dead. Thought to have murdered his companions, Ash is arrested, convicted of the crime, and sentenced to Sunny Meadows, an institute for the criminally insane, but not for long. Ash's peaceful stay is about to end -- thanks to the perverted experiments of his very own psychiatrist, Dr. Reinhard. Hell-bent on using science to harness the Necronomicon's powers, the mad doctor unleashes the book's all-powerful Evil on the world -- releasing a new slew of Deadites, monsters and spirits, twisting reality into a hellish strudel and leaving mankind with that not-so-fresh apocalyptic feeling.

"It's our goal to create the spiritual successor of Evil Dead 2, one of the seminal action films ever, in pop-culture," said David Bollesen, general manager, Cranky Pants Games. "Having Bruce Campbell on board, providing creative direction and embracing new ideas we've injected into their universe is critical, and their enthusiasm continues to drive us to deliver the ultimate Evil Dead experience."

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System: PS2 (shown), X
Dev: Cranky Pants
Pub: THQ
Release: Sept 2005
Players: 1
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
3.0