In essence, Monster Madness: Grave Danger
plays very much like a modern version of the classic arcade game Gauntlet
The view of the action is top-down isometric, with up to four people playing in offline or online co-op mode on screen together and you battle through hordes of undead creatures as you explore through level after level – in this case, there are eighteen levels of the legions of the damned.
As you progress through the levels, you gather tokens and weapon parts that can be used to upgrade your current weapons or create new weapons. To do this, you need the assistance of Larry Tools (think Kris Kristofferson from the Blade
movies), whose trailer can be found somewhere on each and every level. It’s a good trick if you can do it.
You'll also get to use vehicles on some of the levels, although for some reason they all crawl along at the speed of an old person's electric buggy. There's room on most vehicles for the driver and a couple of passengers, including a turret position which provides a bit of extra firepower.
As you move through each level, you'll be introduced to new and more deadly enemies, such as fat zombies, clowns and zombie old ladies with rings of cats around them. So, not much different to a walk through your local park, then.
Unfortunately, the gameplay is rather repetitive: you walk along for a bit, fight off a band of zombies, walk along a bit more and then fight off another band of zombies or even a boss character. The addition of upgradeable weapons and vehicles into the mix still doesn't get away from the fact that you're still just fighting your way through hordes of identical zombies. That wouldn’t be so bad of course if there were actually some variety to it all.
As well as an online co-op mode, Monster Madness: Grave Danger
also comes with a gamut of other multiplayer games. Included are the standard CTF, deathmatch and king of the hill type games, but the most interesting multiplayer game is Monster Hunter.
In this game, you all start out as humans. The first human to die becomes a monster, and his goal is to kill all the remaining players. The player to survive longest as a human wins the match. The online experience is fairly seamless for the PS3, but there's nothing hugely original here that'll send you online straight away.
There are huge numbers of missed opportunities with Monster Madness: Grave Danger
. For example, even though you get to choose which character you play, there isn't really enough of a difference between each of the four characters to warrant making a choice.
The graphics are okay, but nothing really to write home about. What’s really unforgivable though is the sound. While the voice acting is mediocre at best, what really grates is the abysmal audio quality, which is so bad, it makes even Space Taxi
sound good. Added to which, there are only a few stock phrases that your character and enemies keep repeating endlessly throughout the game, over and over.
Unfortunately, even with the co-op aspect, the endless tedium of the enemy hordes means that there's not that much to keep you coming back for more. You might play through a couple of levels, but if you actually manage to persevere through all 18 levels, a feat that's going to take you seven or eight hours, you deserve a medal.
The only thing Joe is going to learn from this game is how to turn the volume down. Back to waiting for Left4Dead
then, I guess.
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