|Killer 7 (2005)
Available for: GameCube
If you were a video game character, what special power would you want? Invisibility? Super-speed? Or perhaps you’d rather have the ability to slit your wrist and spray a shower of blood all over the place? This is indeed Kaede’s ability, one of the eight major characters in “Killer 7,” and while it is one of the lesser used powers within the game, it definitely oozes creativity, one thing that Capcom’s latest action-adventure title is not short on. “Killer 7” is a game unlike any you’ve ever seen, boasting innovation, highly stylized cel-shaded graphics, and an amazing soundtrack, but this Mature title is still a hard sell to most Nintendo fanboys who have grown accustomed to having parties with Mario and embarking on long journeys to save Princess Zelda.
In the story to “Killer 7” - which the player does not learn until after the first stage – you play Harman Smith, a professional assassin with seven multiple personalities. Each personality is completely different, and wield unique weapons, abilities, and so forth. To get into the specifics would take far too long, but there are easily only two or three characters that you will actually find yourself playing with a majority of the time. There’s no real preference to these characters, it’s just that some are far better than others: the fast-footed, quick-shooting Con Smith, the ex-Mexican wrestler Mask de Smith, and the lock-picking thief Coyote Smith.
As part of the professional group known as Killer 7, the assassins are assigned to investigate the recent power struggle between the United States and Japan. The cause of the feud is a secret terrorist organization known as Heaven Smiles, and you quickly discover how serious the situation is when you face-off against the first group of enemies, a clan of alien-like monsters with devilish grins. And so you must shoot your way through levels of fierce gore (yelling things like “Fuck You” when defeating enemies in one blow) and solve numerous puzzles on your way to unlocking the secrets of the story.
Perhaps the weakest part of “Killer 7” is the gameplay. The control system is very odd and it takes a long time to become accustomed to. The instructions are also never clear, so the player is stuck learning everything himself. More importantly, the game looks like it takes place in a free moving 3D world, but your movements are limited to a certain line of direction, almost as if you were playing a point-and-click adventure on your old Apple computer. Another major problem with the game is the puzzles, which are either too obscure to solve, or sometimes too simple to figure out.
Unfortunately for Capcom, these minor issues are ones that will cause most gamers to pass up on the opportunity to try something fresh and original. It’s hard not to acknowledge the courageous creativity though, which eventually won me over in the end, and it makes me wish there were more games around that challenged the monotony of industry. The game is a love it or hate it, but if you manage to persist through the first few annoyingly confusing hours, you’ll be on the devoted side in the end.