Descend into madness with this spooky sequel.
Although it seems primitive compared to PSP, the DS is capable of great things, especially when it comes to first person shooters. Renegade Kid, for example, put the system's processing muscle on display with 2007's Dementium: The Ward, a dark and gruesome adventure powered by a slick 3-D engine. Now the company's at it again with the aptly titled sequel, Dementium II, a violent gore fest built using similar technology. Whether or not it's scary remains to be seen, but at the very least, you'll enjoy wandering around and taking in the twisted sights.
Dementium II's story picks up right where the previous game's narrative left off, with the main character waking up from brain surgery in a strange prison. Within minutes, you go from the "real world" to a hellish dimension full of rampaging monsters and disturbing images of people (or what seem like people) getting devoured by humongous creatures or repeatedly stabbed with a spike descending from the ceiling.
Naturally, it's your job to figure things out or die trying. The game switches between both realities, so one moment, you'll beat a few prison guards to death and wander through the psycho ward (complete with babbling nut jobs), and the next, you'll explore Hellraiser inspired locales full of blood, chains hanging from walls and assorted freaks shambling about with their stomachs unzipped.
On the surface, the game looks and feels similar to the original, by no means a terrible thing. It moves smoothly, and the 3-D graphics shine on the DS' top screen. In addition, you'll still be able to use a flashlight and acquire a gun. There's also limited puzzle solving, so expect to locate keys to unlock doors or track down other items necessary to proceed.
That said, Renegade Kid made some changes to set this sequel apart from the first Dementium, starting with the ability to use a flashlight and weapon at the same time. You can also save your game by locating save points, and navigate around the prison using an on-screen map, located on the system's bottom screen. Our favorite new feature, though, is the item inventory. Instead of pausing the game to switch/use items, you press and hold a button along the bottom screen that brings up the menu. From there, you simply drag the stylus to the desired object.
On top of that, the game has boss fights. During a recent demo, we battled a monster that was able to crawl along the ceiling and vomit larvae onto the ground that slowly chipped away at our health. We needed to act quickly, killing the larvae while making sure the creature didn't get too close. The first time, it dropped to the floor and surprised us with vomit to the face (just as nasty as it sounds). The second time, we anticipated this attack, and made short work of the beast.
At this point, Dementium II doesn't scare us. That's ultimately hard to do, since we play games like Dead Space and Resident Evil 5 on consoles. But it's still a cool looking first person adventure that shows what the DS is capable of in the hands of a skilled developer. With that, we suggest descending into madness when the game debuts this February.