Games: Horror multi-player Evil Dead: The Game elevated by full-frontal nerdery
Evil Dead: The Game (Multi)
FROM the original Spider-Man trilogy to the latest Doctor Strange flick, Sam Raimi has come a long way since nailing a camera to a plank in the woods.
Shot on a bus-fare budget, the sultan of splatter skewed the line between horror and camp in 1981 with The Evil Dead.
Less horror than a Three Stooges movie with guts for custard pies, it made a star of the colossally-chinned Bruce Campbell and spawned two sequels and a TV series. But it all started in that cabin in the woods with the none-more cult original, which endures over 40 years later.
Getting in on the horror multi-player genre championed by Friday The 13th and Dead by Daylight, Evil Dead: The Game goes through similarly blood-soaked motions, but is elevated by some full-frontal nerdery.
Pitting four survivors against an army of villains controlled by a single player, fans of Friday The 13th's multi-player shenanigans will know the score. With more Ashes than the start of Lent, its 13 characters include multiple incarnations of our hero, from trim action hero to sagging, middle-aged knucklehead.
As the survivors, players must complete five objectives, from collecting the Kandarian Dagger and Necronomicon pages to defeating the Dark Ones and protecting the Book of the Dead from swarms of Deadites. Teamwork is crucial, and you're doomed if any of your squad are glory hunters.
Combat is hand-to-hand, with axes, hammers, bats and the like, spiced up with brutal takedowns from the iconic chainsaw.
As the Kandarian Demon, players carefully monitor the survivors' progress, placing traps and portals from which enemies spawn. You can ghost around the map lickety-split, possessing trees, cars and even survivors when their levels of fear are too high.
Unlike its genre stablemates, Evil Dead also offers solo larks, with a smattering of single player missions that re-imagine set-pieces from the franchise's long history. It's a solid enough diversion, if a tad punishing, as you play as Ash and pals in short missions based on iconic Evil Dead moments.
Authentically crafted, Bruce Campbell reprises his most iconic role with a groovy highlights reel of zingers, backed up by an original cast roll-call, while rapper Method Man's long history of dropping Sam Raimi references continues with a new song, Come Get Some, for the game, featuring samples from the original Evil Dead score.
Evil Dead's cultural impact goes way beyond its modest box office, and the game is an unashamedly gory tribute to both the Sam Raimi flicks and the Ash Vs Evil Dead TV series.
A gutsy battle royale that's literally full of guts, Evil Dead offers more campy thrills than you can shake a boomstick at.