Deadly Creatures «

Deadly Creatures is a bizarre idea for a game, not because of its adventure-style gameplay from the arachnid perspective, but because of the interleaved and surprisingly entertaining side-plot concerning two immoral bumpkins hunting for treasure in the desert wastes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Deadly Creatures sports rich gameplay in the form of numerous and varied attacks for both of its multi-legged protagonists (a tarantula and a scorpion), as well as some clever mechanics specific to each arachnid. Thoroughly enjoyable despite of (or perhaps because of) its creepy subject matter, Deadly Creatures wins on several levels and is easily one of the best third-party games available for the Wii. But make no mistake, just because it’s about bugs does not mean that it’s for kids.

Skittering Fiends

In Deadly Creatures you alternate each chapter between playing as a tarantula and a scorpion. The two arachnids handle very differently from a gameplay standpoint. Whereas the tarantula is more agile and maneuverable, the scorpion is tougher and capable of interacting more thoroughly with the environment.

The tarantula can jump and use its spinnerets to grapple to distant webs, and its mobility brings significant benefits, letting it traverse more varied terrain than the scorpion. While the scorpion doesn’t rely on such acrobatics, it can use its pincers to block incoming attacks and burrow through weak walls, or dig itself into the ground to lie in wait for unsuspecting prey. My absolute favorite move, however, is the tarantula’s Stealth Pounce, which delivers a devastating pounce attack at range. Taken together, the move sets for both arachnids present an expansive and incredibly satisfying repertoire of techniques for fighting as well as navigating the game’s well-designed levels.

Diminutive Desert

Developer Rainbow is famous for its MX and ATV racing titles, so the studio is no stranger to desert environments, but the locales presented in Deadly Creatures are surprisingly varied given the relatively small area in which the game’s events occur. Each rock or cactus is lovingly detailed and lighting is used to great effect throughout. It bears noting that Deadly Creatures looks especially good on standard-definition TVs as the interlacing not present in today’s HDTVs seems to smooth out the textures, refining the detail and overall graphical quality. At the same time, the obvious care taken in capturing the animations of the game’s generally insectoid cast provides further visual appeal and gives the whole game the feeling of watching a particularly good National Geographic or Discovery Channel documentary (admittedly, a really sensationalistic documentary on the order of “When Bugs do Battle” or something along those lines).

While the environments look very good, it’s their layout and general design that truly delivers. Given arachnids’ penchant for wall-crawling, you can go just about anywhere, which occasionally gives the game something of an open-world feel. Since your avatars are so tiny, even a tin can or bike tire can be an insurmountable obstacle or a warehouse-sized arena. Because of the scale of the characters and breadth of each level, it can get difficult to get a good perspective on where you’re going and what you’re supposed to be doing, but, thankfully, there’s a handy hint button that will point you in the right direction (I relied on this frequently, I’m sorry to admit).


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