The game follows the story of Garcia Hotspur, a tattoo covered demon hunter dressed in purple leathers, who travels to hell in order to save his true love, Paula Flemming. Garcia is followed around by his side kick Johnson, a former demon, who takes on the form of a most bizarre flaming skull. Johnson can transform into all manner of handy items, such as a suitably demonic motorbike in which Garcia can use to travel the highway to Hell, and a selection of weapons including ‘The Boner, a surprisingly powerful pistol, and a fully automatic machine gun. Johnson, the flaming skull side kick, is a genuinely funny character who is full of enough sarcasm and humour to keep most gamers amused.
The story begins with Garcia finishing off a rather large and ugly Demon, but not before teh Demon has made suggestions that Garcia’s lover is in peril. Rushing back to his apartment, Garcia is greeted by screams. These are the cries of his lover, Paula Flemming, who is being tortured in the next room. Garcia fights his way though a number of Demons in an attempt to reach the room. As he runs frantically to her aid, he finds her being held by a triple headed skull demon called Fleming. Garcia attempts to save her, but Fleming takes Paula and dives out the window and plummets into the underworld through a portal below. Without a second thought, Garcia follows.
Throughout these early parts of the game, the player is treated to an explanation of the controls. In an off-centre third person perspective, Garcia can move and look about using the L and R stick, and pressing the A button allows him to spin 180 degree to see the action behind. Garcia uses the L trigger to aim and the R trigger to shoot.
Various cutscenes later and I’m running down a cobbled street in the darkness, taking damage all the while. I’m being pursued by Demons that pop up in the darkness and cannot be harmed by normal bullets. Garcia’s objective is to find some light to banish the darkness and this comes in the form of a weird goat’s head which will have to be ignited using a light shot from Garcia’s gun. The Demons can also be hit with this light shot to make them vulnerable again.
The action is fast paced as I run from building to building, searching through rooms for more ammo or health. The game has an eerie feel about it, it’s dark and menacing depiction of Hell makes it fascinaing and enjoyable play. During my travels I end up at a set of gates. These are no ordinary gates, as you draw closer and find out they have the head of a baby is stuck on it. This strange looking baby face is all wrinkled and starring back at me. In order to progress through this gate, I need to find a strawberry. That’s right, a giant fruit. How bloody bizarre is that?. These baby head gates may require other items in order to progress, such as brains, but this time around it only needed a giant fruit. After retrieving the fruit, I then had to stuff it into the mouth of the baby that’s eagerly awaiting my return. It is possibly one of the strangest things I have seen.
Occasionally I see Paula’s image floating behind me, the distant echo of her voice constantly playing with my emotions, before she vanishes once more. It’s a constant reminder that she’s desperately in need of my help.
It seems that Hell has it’s own Pub, the Hangman’s Tavern, and it is in here that you can find the a vending machine to top up your health through various tasty beverages. Throughout the game, players will find various gems of different colours; red, white and blue. Red gems are performance enhancers for your weapons, white gems can be use to purchase alcohol from the vending machine to replenish your health, and blue gems can transform weapons to a secondary upgrade, but these can only be found when you’ve fought a major boss.
The game itself makes you feel constantly in a state of panic, searching frantically through rooms, and trying to find the next light source. The humour within the game borders on crude in places, but with a gun called “Boner” how could it not? The action is fast paced and there are plenty of unlockables to be discovered including some incredible weapons such as the teether, which fires out teeth, and one that shoots out skulls. Garcia instantly feels like a gritty and downtrodden character, dressed in his leathers and a face full of stubble, who is hell bent in rescuing Paula from Fleming. I don’t remember once thinking that I can rest to catch my breath, as the game seems to constantly keep you on your toes from the moment it begins. I’m certainly looking forward to playing some more of this title when it’s released this Friday, June 24th, on Xbox360 and PS3.