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Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick Preview (PS2, Xbox)
game: Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick
posted by: Jeremy Kauffman
publisher: THQ
developer: Vis Entertainment
date posted: 09:10 AM Tue Jun 4th, 2002
last revision: 12:08 PM Sat Nov 5th, 2005

\"Alright, you primitive screw heads, listen up: this...is my boomstick!\"

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick, the second game from THQ to be based on the Evil Dead movie trilogy, was out in full force at E3 2002--a statue of Ash in all of his zombie-killing splendor, and the man, Bruce Campbell himself, was there to sign autographs. Last time Evil Dead: Hail to the King made us all wail and cry (and not in the good sock-hop way). But fear not, dear Deadites; this time Ash is getting the love he deserves.

\"Gimme some sugar, baby.\"

All of the primaries behind the films -Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell-were involved in the development of Boomstick, with Campbell once again providing all of the vocals for Ash. The story follows our beloved, square-jawed hero as he continues to struggle against the evil unleashed from the Necronomicon ex Mortis (the Book of the Dead).

This time, however, he is in a game that is more befitting the unusual mix of over-the-top blood and gore and ham-it-up comedy of the films. The first game, Evil Dead: Hail to the King, was a must-see for loyal followers of the series, but really wasn\'t that much fun to play. The reason behind this lay in its use of the Resident Evil engine. It may have seemed like a no-brainer to use the game engine of the number one horror title on the market for an Evil Dead game. In retrospect, however, the deliberate pacing and fixed-camera perspective of Resident Evil does nothing to translate the manic, hair-brained action that the Evil Dead films are known for. To correct this, THQ and Vis turned to the game engine used by Rockstar\'s State of Emergency. This is a brilliant move, as this arcade style, dismember-the-crowd, gameplay lends itself wonderfully to the material.

\"You ain\'t leading but two things right now: Jack and Shit.
And Jack just left town.\"

The environments in Boomstick are huge. Vortexes take you to the past and future, allowing the levels to range from Civil War-era Dearborn, to present day, to who knows when. Each level is filled with seething zombies that terrorize citizens and make a lot of trouble for Ash. At moments there will be up to fifty people on the screen at one time-Ash, zombies, policemen, old ladies, the undead and dying. It is mayhem in the truest sense of the word. Cutting a swath through this insanity will not be easy.

\"Good, bad, I\'m the guy with the gun.\"

Luckily, Ash has an arsenal at his hands...er, hand. As you may remember, Ash\'s right hand (or left, depending on what scene you are watching) was possessed by the Evil, and he was forced to sever it and replace it with a chainsaw. Add to that a shoulder-slung sawed-off shotgun, a.k.a. boomstick, and you got yourself one bad-ass zombie-killer. The game\'s control set up allows you to use both weapons independently for optimal carnage. The game also features a lock-on targeting system for the gun, so that wherever you are facing, the gun is always aimed at the target. This makes for some typical Ash style and flair as you slice off a zombie\'s head while blowing away another one standing behind you with an over-the-shoulder pot shot. The game features other weapons as well, including axes, shovels, even gatling guns.

There is no end to the nastiness and gore in this game, either. The zombies are as gruesome as ever, they feast on human flesh, and they all have multiple gore zones, which allow you to dismember them limb-by-limb. You can chop of arms, blow off heads, you name it. If the scene isn\'t awash in blood when you leave it, you haven\'t done your job. All of this is perfect for Evil Dead, mind you, especially when punctuated with Ash\'s trademark cheesy remarks and witticisms.

\"Klaatu verrata n... Necktie... Nickel... It\'s an \'N\' word. It\'s definitely an \'N\' word!\"

Another nice addition to this game is Ash\'s ability to use spells and incantations to battle his enemies. This feature was not available yet in the version presented at E3, but I do know that the spells include high-damage assaults like Reign of Fire, and slow \'em down tactics like Stun Spells.

\"Hail to the king, baby.\"

My overall sensation while playing the demo level at E3 was one of sheer joy. I am an Evil Dead fan to the Nth degree, and from that perspective I can tell Deadites everywhere to rejoice. The version that was available was only about 30% complete, so the finished game will certainly be a lot different, but THQ and Vis are on the right track. Whether or not it will be able to cross over to those who are not necessarily fans of the franchise remains to be seen. But this game is definitely in tune with the tone of the flicks, and it has the kind of easy-to-pick up game play and personality that can appeal to a wider audience than the first game. Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick could be the game that Deadites deserve.

Available for the Xbox and PS2 winter 2002 or early 2003.

*All quotes are from the movie Army of Darkness.