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It's often said that the Wii games scene is dominated by casual party games, and good-but-safe Nintendo franchises at the expense of the games with a bit of depth and realism that make up the staple of any good Xbox 360 or PS3 collection, and that's partly true. However, once in a while an exception pops up that turns that idea on its head and THQ's Deadly Creatures is one such game.
The creatures of the title are a tarantula and scorpion and, in a refreshing move, they're not depicted in the sort of cutesy fashion that we've come to expect of Wii games. I'm no biologist, but they'd certainly pass muster as realistic and so are the environments they wander through.
There are ten chapters to the game and you alternate between the two creatures and take advantage of their differing abilities. For instance, the scorpion has a powerful sting and the tarantula can spin webs. Things like grubs are easy to catch and will give a boost to your health; other insects are more difficult prey but worth chasing after as they'll power you up with new abilities. You've also got to take on much bigger creatures, like snakes and rats, which can easily overpower you, so subtlety is required and you need to use the terrain to your advantage. There's good use of the Wii-mote too, with gestured controls that for the most part aren't too hard to get the hang of, although there's the usual game within a game of getting a complex gesture to register properly.
It's easy to forget, on a strict diet of cute, that whilst the Wii is the lightweight of the current generation, it's still much more capable than older consoles like the PS2 and Gamecube in the graphics department and this is a game that shows a good glimpse of the machine's full potential. Alongside the natural elements of rock, dirt and flora, there are occasional items like a cracked mobile phone or an old pair of shoes rendered with a high degree of detail that you can explore in and around which really serves to drive home the scale of the game.
There's been plenty of attention to detail on the audio side of things too; insects scuttle around and biting them produces a satisfying crunch. There's also an entertaining back story voiced by Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton that'll keep you going through the tough bits as you want to find out how it unfolds.
As with most original ideas in gaming, there are a few things that don't quite come off. The camera control is a bit hit and miss and pulling off some of the more complex moves in the heat of a fight is the bane of many a Wii game. I'm also not entirely sure of it's long term appeal either, so perhaps it's more of a rental title than one you'd buy outright. Still, as one of a kind in an otherwise rather predictable market, I'd figure that it's got to be worth a look.
Pictures of Deadly Creatures (Wii)
Your tarantula takes on a larger and deadlier snake.
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