The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Deadly Creatures is a fascinating game. In a lot of ways, it harks back to the N64/PSone era, a time before the genres in gaming were established and publishers were more willing to take chances on a left-field concept. The game tells a story of two rednecks, voiced by legendary actors Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper, who bicker and double-cross each other while in search of a buried case of ancient gold coins. Players experience this tale as a scorpion and a tarantula, two creepy crawlies who intersect with the plot at key moments, altering the events in inventive (and sometimes hilarious) ways. It's definitely a unique concept, and I enjoyed seeing the game from a bug's eye view. The sheer scale of something like a motorcycle tire in comparison to your onscreen character is very striking.
While the story and premise are strong, the gameplay is a mixed bag. Alternating between the spider and scorpion characters, you traverse tunnels and up and down walls, occasionally observing snippets of dialogue that further the story. There's no puzzle solving, outside of figuring out how to get through the level. The spider has the ability to web-swing up to certain prescribed points, which is about the extent of problem solving in the game. Each character has its unique combat moves (with more unlocked through gameplay), but they aren't radically different from each other. While it's reasonably fun to dispatch various insects and vermin with your venomous attacks, too many of the special moves are assigned to Wii remote motions, which are very erratic and sometimes frustrating to perform – stop me if you've heard that one before. Too often, the game becomes a muddle of poor camera and unresponsive control. While the game builds to a gonzo final boss battle, the pixilated, short end cinematic feels like a huge letdown.
Despite my criticisms, there's something genuinely charming about Deadly Creatures that I can' quite put my finger on. For gamers looking for something different on the Wii, this might be the ticket – provided that you're willing to cope with the unpolished mechanics.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
A Bug's Life, this is not. Rather than give us cutesy versions of shiver-inducing arachnids, Deadly Creatures delivers a tarantula and scorpion that are just as fascinating (or revolting) as the real deal. Rainbow deserves credit for taking chances - telling a tale of greed and betrayal as seen through the pair's multifaceted eyes - but its execution ultimately suffers from iffy controls and a maliciously indifferent camera. Combat is challenging, but mostly because some of the more powerful moves don't work often enough to bother using. Those issues aside, there's still something wondrous about being a little guy in a great big world, even if you're fanged and covered with bristles.