Reviewed: July 15, 2008
Released: June 24, 2008
It is time to fight fire with fire! With creative direction from the Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and movie director Guillermo del Toro, it is your turn to control Hellboy and save the planet in Hellboy: The Science of Evil. Hellboy has discovered a world domination plot by the Nazi and focuses his efforts to stop them at any cost. As the story unfolds you will get to fight new villains and uncover new weapons in your attempt to save the planet. With an original story from the comic books and animated series, unleash all of Hellboyís superhuman abilities to stop the evil Von Klempt from taking over the world.
This game has no surprises for you. It is a generic super smash melee game. You go through each level beating the brains out of lifeless enemies with no difficulty. Like any other game you go through, you have themed levels with enemies that fit the level. In the cemetery you have little skeleton creatures, the oasis you have mythical warriors, and in the deepest caves you have mutated frogs to deal with. The only time you have any difficulty with any of these is when you are surrounded by a lot of them. You donít have a block button, or at least the manual and tutorial donít tell you and I didnít just magically come across it, and your attacks do take some time to perform so you open yourself up to take some damage.
On display in the top right and bottom right corners are some important icons to pay attention to. In the top right hand corner is your life, magic, and rage bars. The top row shows you how much life you have. You can take some big hits and not lose a whole lot. There is a level where you lose your demon powers and when you get hit it takes more out of you until you regain your powers back. Under your life bar is your magic bar. This bar goes along with your bottom icon.
You pick up magical items throughout your travels and hold onto those in your inventory. When you use one of these magic items you use up some of your magic. Your magic bar gradually refills itself allowing you to reuse your item again and again. Then under your magic bar is your rage bar. This fills up while you fight. I will tell you it fills up very slowly. When you do finally fill this bar all the way up, you can unleash your demon fury. This allows you for a short time to double your damage and really pack a mean fiery punch. As we talked about earlier, your inventory icon is on the bottom right hand corner of your screen. This display shows you how many special grenades you have, allows you to call upon earth forces, use special statues, or even amulets that steal life from others and give to you.
Like any other game you have standard light and heavy attacks that are performed by hitting the triangle or square buttons. You can use different combinations to put together some wicked attacks to get style points to allow you to get more spirit shards (we will get to these later). Later on you will have to navigate through puzzles during combat. One puzzle deals with throwing enemies into something to get it to disappear. To grab or pick up something you will press and hold the circle button and then press it again to throw your object. Just like the movies you have the greatest gun in the world, the Samaritan. This gun packs a really big punch and will help you take out any opponent. The only problem with this gun is the limitations of ammo. You can only hold 10 bullets at one time. It is realistic but with all those pockets it would be nice to have some extra bullets put aside.
This game has a God of War feel to it but is nowhere close to being as cool or exciting. You have the camera follow you from behind. If you decide to change your direction and come toward the camera it pulls back and gets a great look at the front side of you. You do have some blind spots here and there during combat sequences that become a problem but you can easily look over that due to the amazing scenery. After you get to a certain point of annihilating a boss or sub boss you have an icon prompt for you to hit when you right next to the enemy. This is soon followed by a cut scene of you finishing off your opponent.
Now this is the first PSP review I have done and I didnít know what to expect in this category. I didnít have great expectations going in and that might have been the reason why I really liked what I saw. There are some great level designs that words really canít describe. I donít mean this in an amazing kind of way. It is just unique and I never would have thought this game would get so detailed in those regards.
One problem is lighting. You have some blind spots here and there that we mentioned earlier, and with dark levels it is hard to see the contrast and area you are suppose to go next. Some of the enemies blend in too much or disappear into the scenery and you canít move on until you destroy them all. This is not a huge problem or a problem that occurs often. It just happens sometimes in places that pull you back into combat and really get you frustrated defeating them again and again. Also, all of the cut scene were animated and didnít flow very well.
I was really excited when I found out that Ron Perlman was going to do a voiceover in this game. Sadly, you only get to hear it in the console games. There is absolutely no voice over in this game. Only grunts and moans as you beat up or get beat up. You quickly become tired of reading the dialogue and having to hit the X button to move on and read the next line.
You do have great background music that really sets up what is happening in the game. You have really deep dramatic music that gets your heart racing during fighting scenes and even more dramatic music for boss fights. Then you have great scenery music that just adds to the game and little noises here and there to make you feel like you are Hellboy.
The big bonus here is that with this game you have a free ticket to see Hellboy II. Also, there are lots of unlockable features including interviews with Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Ron Perlman. You can unlock these features by collecting spirit shards. There really is no replay ability unless you want to unlock everything. I played straight through and I unlocked everything but four items.
I really had little to no expectations going into playing this game. I do like the fact that the focus was more on the animated series and not the movie. You have a more comic book feel to the game. Hellboy is much skinner in this game than the movies and it makes him seem more supernatural due to his size and strength.
I was a little disappointed with the length of the game. It was about an hour too short. This game is geared toward a more adult audience so wouldnít it make sense to go with a longer game that you know the target audience would be able to handle? Another problem I had was that the bosses were a little too easy to defeat. Almost everyone I fought was defeated in the first go around and it only took two tries to beat the final boss. But overall this game was much better than I ever thought it could be. Add a big fan of the series and a free movie pass and this game is almost a must have for any Hellboy fan. If you are the average gamer, it is not a bad buy at $20 but not much more than that.