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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: SouthPeak Games
Developed By: Psyonix Studios
Genre: Action Shooter
Players: 4 (online:12)
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: August 5, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia for the Xbox 360 is one of the most unique top-down shooting action titles to grace this generation of games, let alone the last generation. Battle for Suburbia featured one-to-four player zombie bashing action on a massive scale utilizing four distinctive characters to help tell its story. The cast of characters include a 15 year old super geek (Zack), an anorexic Goth girl (Carrie), a skater (Andy), and a blond bombshell by the name of Jennifer. Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia was all about a city that has been overtaken by a horde of monsters, and itís your job to eliminate the monsters, while finding out what happen to all the people of Suburbia. Whether playing by yourself or with friends, you often found yourself dealing with bizarre, yet unique situations that often got out of control. Sure this game had its own share of shortcomings like any other game, but what separates this title from others was that this game just kept you coming back for more.

After its release, SouthPeak Games decided to bring Monster Madness over to the Playstation 3 console. Looking at the current track record, ports of Xbox 360 games just donít seem to translate correctly, resulting in bad ports or delayed releases. But what seems to separate this title from the typical ports is the fact that they utilized a different developer and the developer actually cared about their project. Instead of simply porting Battle of Suburbia, Psyonix Studios remixed the entire game, giving birth to Monster Madness: Grave Danger. To understand the scope of the changes, Psyonix Studios did away with any extraneous events, the single-player over-the-shoulder camera, and all the scattered collectible parts have been placed into red tool boxes.

Not stopping there, Grave Danger's boss battles have been refined and redesigned, making them more entertaining and engaging. The use of a character-specific attribute system has also been incorporated to keep the characters unique, while providing new and twisted abilities. The controls have also been remapped for optimal performance and response, thus eliminating little quirks like pressing down on the right analog stick to jump.

Looking at the visuals, itís easy to see than Psyonix Studios wanted to improve on Battle for Suburbia with Grave Danger. Character models, though simplistic in presentation, are rather detailed and fluid in their motions. Each of the 70+ different types of monster boast distinct visual characteristics, whether it be their body language, hair, body type, etc. No two monsters look exactly alike, which is refreshing to see in a horror game. The atmosphere within Grave Danger is very engaging, often times catching you off guard with its unique musical score or the funny sayings that the characters speak during battles.

Cutscenes are also presented in a unique fashion. In between sections of a particular level, the game will que up a cutscene, which showcase either a new enemy or a pending boss battle. Within these cutscenes, the action is present like in old Hollywood movies of the 1920s and 30s, but with a sepia hue to them. There are also cutscenes from time to time that are displayed like pages out of a comic book. With voiceovers within the backdrop of the animated pages, this unique take on cutscenes is rather refreshing to see considering most games go with either in-game graphics of CGI visuals.

Grave Danger also features a four player online/offline co-op mode, which allows gamers without friends, the chance to live out their dreams and a zombie fighting unit. Within the several online battles I have taken place in, there was no lag at all and I found the experience to e on par, if not battle than the single-player campaign. Taking things to the next level, Monster Madness: Grave Danger also features new visually impressive challenge levels (exclusive to the PlayStation 3) that range from killing 120 monsters as quickly as possible, or simply just surviving an onslaught of enemies for as long as possible. There are even four difficulty levels for witch to play the game. For those who own Battle for Suburbia, you may tackle the harder difficulty levels (Horror or Madness), while newcomers would want to stick to either Thriller (normal) or Childís Play (Easy).

If you are looking for a title that has tons of action, humor, and a diverse roster of monsters, looks no further than Monster Madness: Grave Danger. Whether you are playing online or offline, this game is packed full of unique objectives and over the top battles that keeps the game interesting from beginning to end. For those who havenít went out and bout this game yet, itís only $39.99 and well worth every single penny spent.


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