Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

Hell Yeah! comes to us from Arkedo, the guys who did the Arkedo Series of XBLIGs. As a quick recap of what I thought of those, they’re pretty games that were boring as hell, and vastly overrated by the community at large. All style, no substance. So let it be said to all aspiring developers: style must be all you need. That’s because Arkedo’s latest game just landed on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade and is being published by none other than Sega. So what does this mean? Well, obviously with a company that puts such a high premium of quality as Sega does, we can expect plenty of substance to go with the style here. Heh. Hehehe. Right. Oh, and being on PSN and XBLA bumps the sticker up on it to $15.  Joy.

Don’t worry. Walking on this fire won’t burn you. Some fires in this game will, but this one won’t. Good luck keeping track of that!

You’re a rabbit that is the brutal ruler of Hell. And then he gets caught corn-holing a rubber ducky in his bathtub, photos of it circulate, and it ruins his reputation, thus forcing him to extract revenge. No, really. That’s the plot. Did I mention this game is Japanese? No? Well, it’s not. It’s French. That somehow makes it worse. You know how everyone has someone in their life that will do an obnoxiously racist impression of a Japanese person? Imagine if that person were French. Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait.

Cringe worthy, huh?

The bizarre story is complemented by some of the most painfully unfunny dialog and gags I’ve encountered in a game. Lots of cussing, lots of call backs to other games, and lots of random weirdness. All of which can be funny if it has a punchline, or some semblance of context. There is none of that in Hell Yeah.

At first glance, Hell Yeah looks like a typical platformer, only with some run-and-spray shooting mechanics thrown in. But there is a hook, and it could have been a neat one. There are several “large” enemies throughout the game that you have to track down and kill. This is done by draining their health bar, which then activates a Wario Ware-like quick-time event. If you complete the event successfully, the enemy is defeated in a spectacularly over-the-top pseudo cut scene. It sounds great, and at first it kept me slogging through the game, even though the amount of fun I was having would have to be measured in nano-fractions. For a while, every character died uniquely. After about three hours (or 30 odd creatures) in, that stopped. In a fire stage, I beat one enemy and a dude shaped like a piece of toast shouted “ROASTIE!” Ohhhhh, I get it. Like that guy in Mortal Kombat. The thing is, that joke is so over-played that it hasn’t been funny since long before I was even playing games. I felt bad for Arkedo, but then the very next guy I killed, the Roastie guy popped up again to do the same exact joke. Suddenly, I didn’t feel bad for them anymore. This is the equivalent of a drunk at a party telling a lame joke and then saying “get it?” You want to tell them with all sincerity and concern, “no really, you should stop.” But they’re still laughing at themselves, nodding their head and saying “no, GET IT?” Sigh. Yes, I get it. It just isn’t funny. And Hell Yeah is not funny at all. Not once. Not even on accident.

Boss fights are multi-staged events that take too long and have no check points. Are we having fun yet?

Meanwhile, the gameplay seems like it should be better than it is. The controls are mostly adequate. Your dude walks around, picking up an absurd amount of weapons, shooting things, wall jumping, double jumping, and cutting through enemies using a saw-blade/jetpack thing that you pick up right off the bat. With all this firepower, you would think it would be really fun to just run around and kill things. But it never is. And sometimes those adequate controls go off their meds and become unreasonable. Aiming is done with the right stick, but all movement is handled by the left stick, with no option for the directional pad. It makes it really awkward when an enemy’s only weak spot can be hit by jumping, aiming downwards and firing. I couldn’t help but take damage every time this was required. A dash attack later on gets mapped to the left trigger, at which point the controls officially cross the line from decent to cumbersome. Plus, you have too many weapons to juggle (and you get more as you go along), so sections of the game where everything is taken from you actually come as a startling relief. Oddly enough, those are the only parts of the game that I almost had a little bit of fun. Almost.

Hell Yeah is just a bad game. A directionless hodgepodge of half-baked ideas that often don’t work the way they should. The QTEs required to beat enemies don’t always offer enough time to set yourself and figure out what you’re supposed to do. If you fail one, you take damage and the enemy gets some of its life back. I would be shocked if a person was capable of doing most of these on their first try. It turns Hell Yeah into a serious of “gotcha” moments. Even worse is the checkpoint system. There’s quite a few checkpoints, but they’re not marked clearly enough. But the real crappy part is if you die and respawn, you come back with the same amount of life you had when you hit the check point. Imagine going into a difficult, bullet-hellish section with only a tiny fraction of health left. It forces you to backtrack to the last health refill station, which you can bet your ass is on the other side of the level, without taking damage. It also doesn’t help that the levels are sprawling and BORING. Even having beautiful graphics isn’t all that helpful. If you got lost wandering the Louvre for hours on end, you’re not going to finally walk out of the place saying “well, at least it was a good sight-seeing tour.”

The “each guy gets a gruesome death” stuff was good, until they started repeating themselves.

Arkedo continues to have the style-over-substance problem. This is the fourth game I’ve played of theirs and the fourth one that I decided to quit before the game was finished. I know people say that’s not very professional conduct. Thankfully, I’ve never claimed to be a professional, so I can stick out my tongue and blow a raspberry at them. I put about five hours into Hell Yeah! and was bored stiff by horrible level design, droning boss fights, and controls that started okay but got progressive worse as the game kept changing directions. It sure is pretty to look at, but that doesn’t take the edge off the tedium. I wouldn’t have liked Hell Yeah if it had been a $1 XBLIG. At $15, I’m pretty sure I’m now going to hell for murdering money. Ironically, once there I’ll probably be stuck playing Hell Yeah.

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit was developed by Arkedo

$14.99 heard that Judas chose being chewed on by Satan over playing Sententia in the making of this review. 

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