Monster Madness: Grave Danger Review
Simplistic downloadable titles such as Rocketmen, Commando 3, and other arcade/arcade-inspired titles are quickly becoming more and more common. Monster Madness: Grave Danger is one of the newest games part of this trend, but it isn't a downloadable game. While Xbox 360 owners have been playing Monster Madness for a while now, the PlayStation 3 version of the game has only recently arrived and while there are some redeeming qualities, the overall package falls short of its $40 asking price.
A variety of changes have been made between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. One such change is an improved camera view; the PS3 game still utilizes a top-down view, but with a slightly isometric tilt to allow the gamer to see what's up ahead. Also new for the PlayStation 3 port are 25 new challenges, or mini-games, that you can run through.
These mini-games are reflex based, as one mini-game has you timing jumps and ducking over a series of obstacles coming your way. Zombie cats is another challenge game that'll test how many zombie felines you can toast with your flamethrower. The speed of some of the mini-games is variable, so the more you play, the faster it gets until you lose. You'll need to play these mini-games in order to attain the unlockable costumes for each of the game's characters.
Co-operative four player online gameplay has been added to the PS3 port, allowing friends to take the story mode online. So if you happen to enjoy Monster Madness and wish to play it co-operatively online, the PS3 port is the only version that'll let you do so. Lastly, control issues from the Xbox 360 port have been addressed and the PS3 game now features a proper control scheme that is very much like the control scheme in Capcom's Commando 3 and Rocketmen. In Grave Danger you'll use the right analog stick to aim and fire - simply push the analog stick towards the direction of the enemy and your gun will fire there.
The point of the game is eliminate hordes of zombies that come your way, as one of four characters. You can either shoot or engage in close-ranged melee combat, which makes for a slightly more diverse experience. You'll also be able to pick-up objects in the game and hurl them at your opponents for increased damage, or pick-up special weapons that you can have customized. Special moves are another asset of yours that'll come quite in handy when things start getting really hairy for you.
The action is very arcadey, so if you found enjoyment out of Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 recently, you should find yourself digging Monster Madness: Grave Danger as well. But, and this is a major 'but', Wolf of the Battlefield is a $10 game, Monster Madness is worth $40. The biggest issue I have with Monster Madness is that it is far too simplistic to warrant a $40 purchase. Yes, there have been a number of changes made to the game, but that doesn't really add up to the price-tag.
Take, for example, KOEI's racer Fatal Inertia. It launched on the Xbox 360 a while before it hit the PlayStation 3, and just like Monster Madness, Fatal Inertia was a lousy X360 game riddled with problems. So KOEI went back to the drawing board and made a slew of fixes for the PlayStation 3 release and in the end churned out a solid game. But instead of releasing it as a Blu-Ray and charging $40 for it, which it would've been worth, it was launched as a downloadable game for $30 and it boasts a ton of content to keep the value high. Monster Madness: Grave Danger, while it does fix the faults that plagued the original doesn't offer nearly enough to justify its meaty price-tag.
Visually, Monster Madness is a simple looking game with a clean picture. But again, the issue of this being a physical game comes into play. For a downloadable game worth between $10-20, the graphics would suffice...for a $40 game, these visuals simply don't cut it. The characters aren't beaming with detail, and neither is the rest of the game. The textures, for the most part, are below average, and the only decent ones in the game are usually a stage's ground texture. Explosions are bland, and eye-candy is virtually non-existent here. I'd go as far as to say that Commando 3, a cheaper downloadable game, has better looking visuals than Monster Madness.
The audio features voice acting with comic-strip stills displayed to unwrap the story. The voice acting isn't bad, but has intentionally cheesy moments which might induce some cringing here and there. There isn't really much else to the audio, a boring, goth-like tune will play in the background, you'll hear some screaming, and a few explosions...that's it. Nothing very impressive.
As a $40 package, Monster Madness is not worth the price of admission. Even though Southpeak has added a bunch of extra content to the PS3 port, at the end of the day it still feels more like a downloadable game that is worth, at most $20. If you liked the demo of Monster Madness: Grave Danger, wait a few months until the price of the game drops to a Jackson (that's $20, folks). As it stands now, that $40 can go towards buying something else.
8/29/2008 Arnold Katayev