When you think of Hell, what images pop into your head? Fire, lava, demons, blood rivers? Most games visualize Hell based on descriptions in the Bible. Games like Dante’s Inferno and Doom come as close as what we imagine Hell would be like. Well, if you were to see what Hell looked like in Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, most of you would be saying “sign me up!”.
Hell Yeah’s plot is one of vengeance and violence, and lots of it. After being crowned the new ruler of the underworld, the rabbit demon prince Ash plans a relaxing bath while nearby a paparazzo snaps a photo of him playing with his rubber ducky and posts it all over the Hellternet. Before Ash realizes what has transpired, 100 of Hell’s residents have already viewed the image. Seeing as there is no other means to undo the damage, Ash must now embark on a violent crusade to kill all 100 witnesses. And thus the story begins!
Right off the bat you’ll notice how colorful Hell is. It’s pretty obvious that Arkedo Studio chose to go a different route when choosing to display Hell. Trying to explain in words what Hell looks like in this game is like trying to tell your friends what it is that you’re looking at if you were to take magic mushrooms or acid, it’s that crazy. The art style for the levels of Hell resembles that of games such as Earthworm Jim or the old Sonic games that were on Sega Genesis, the former more than the latter. From the start you’ll see your typical version of Hell, bright red rocks flaring with flame and lava. As you progress, however, you’ll find yourself in different areas of Hell that are not so familiar. From going through a casino inspired area straight out of Sonic, to blasting off into the skies to a Galaga style space stage, you’ll find yourself eager to see the next area of Hell. For a place where the dead go, Hell is vividly detailed and animated with the cannon fodder obstacles that Ash goes through to reach his targets.
The monster designs receive the same level of commitment, as each of your targets look unique from one another, even if they are only screen for a couple of seconds before being blown away. There are a couple of repeats but even those only share some similar visuals, there’s still enough uniqueness to make each their own. One of the first monsters you go through is a turd enhanced with a chainsaw that really serves no actual purpose, and then you’ll encounter a starfish styled monster resembling Patrick from Spongebob.. only this one has 5 breasts. As mentioned, you do really only see them on screen for a few seconds, but you’re able to view them at your leisure in the Monster Index, which lists the monsters you’ve defeated as well as providing a little background for each one. You’re also able to view them on an island that serves as a metagame where you put them to work making items and even giving you gifts.
As you might have guessed, the goals are pretty straightforward: find one of the 100 and then kill it. The game does give you some choice on how you decide to kill the monsters. You can use your sawblade jetpack, which serves are your source of transportation, to rip through them, use an arsenal of weapons which house guns and several explosives, or go the classic cartoon route and drop something heavy right on top of them. When their life bar reaches its end, the games throws you into this Wario Ware style minigame. Sometimes you’re poking a bee’s nest, which causes them to swarm and sting your defeated foe to death. Another scenario has you in a 18 wheeler going through a Spy Hunter inspired minigame, dodging traffic to finally appear on screen running over your prey and then backing up over and over. Though the outcome always results in a bloody screen explosion, each of these is as satisfying as the next, and, in my opinion, the greatest thing about Hell Yeah.
At it’s core, Hell Yeah is a platform game, somewhat similar to games like Metroid, where you revisit areas of previous levels unacessable at the time. Most of the levels you go around in your sawblade jetpack, which handles amazingly well and precise. There are a few occasions where you’re on foot and forced to notice how naked the gameplay is without your jetpack. Thankfully, these levels go by pretty quick and don’t cause any real frustrations. The game does a good job to make sure that you never feel overwhelmed, as respawns are quick enough, should you meet your demise. If there is one negative thing it’s that the checkpoints occur in unusual random areas and not frequent enough — so you’re forced with some backtracking, which isn’t as bad as you’re powerful enough to just blaze right back to where you were.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Sega.