Dementium II (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 30.10.2009

Review for Dementium II on Nintendo DS

Dementium: The Ward was the first Nintendo DS outing for US developer Renegade Kid and was lauded for its impressive graphics engine that seemingly pushed the portable system to its limits, certainly bettering anything else seen on the platform in the first-person genre at that point. By the time the game reached European shores, any major issues found in the US edition had been rectified, but gamers were still crying out for a more well-rounded horror adventure on the whole. Now the team has churned out a follow-up that is said to blow the original out of the water. Cubed3 recently had the chance to play an early version of the game to see just how well it is shaping up...

William Redmoor, who also featured in the first title, wakes up in a mental hospital, groggily shakes his head and is informed by the nurse that he is to be kicked out due to lack of space in the facility. As he stumbles along he sees flashes of evil beings, torturous events and generally disturbing scenes. He then finds himself trapped in a prison cell with an odd room-mate, mumbling away to himself in a strange language. Upon finding a postcard left on his lower bunk, actually written by himself stating that he should get out of there as soon as possible, the scene fades and refocuses to William being in a warped version of the same cell. Now there is blood all over the place, a twitching skeletal figure strapped to the wall, and a busted cell door. This is where the player takes full control, moving the main character around with the D-Pad and looking around by moving the stylus across the touch-screen. A simple tap on the down arrow found in the lower-right part of the screen makes him crouch, whilst the arrow above it makes him jump over obstacles (double-tapping also results in a jump). The walking pace is incredibly slow to begin with, as in Square Enix's Nanashi no Game, but, also similar to that title, the shuffling speed can be upped to a gentle trot by double-tapping on the D-Pad. Switching between items has been made much easier; a tap and drag action is used to select the item icon at the bottom and slide the stylus across to the appropriate item in the inventory screen that appears. Attacking is achieved by tapping on either the left shoulder button or the right, depending on whether you're right or left-handed.

The game is masterful in its purposely perplexing nature, swiftly drawing players into a great state of confusion, switching between standard prison settings filled with crazy prisoners and armed guards to the dark, dank, blood-filled sections that are littered with monsters and highly disturbing sound effects and voice-over work. The in-game music bolsters the mood perfectly as well, regularly jumping from eerie, haunting piano-style tunes to fast and frenetic beats when an enemy comes charging towards you. There's also plenty of gurgling noises and loud bangs and clangs thrown in to up the tension levels. There is, thankfully, more than just a gruesome setting - there is plenty of substance, with a pleasing back-story to Dementium II. Whilst knowledge of the first game is not a prerequisite, as you progress further various scrawled messages and hospital notes can be collected, providing more background information on William Redmoor and how he was transferred from Cowling State Hospital for the Criminally Insane where he had been charged with murdering his wife and suffering from a psychotic break. Those that have played the first outing will find the additional information about Redmoor intriguing, whilst newcomers will still be able to enjoy the ride.

Screenshot for Dementium II on Nintendo DS

Visually this sequel is leaps and bounds ahead of Dementium: The Ward. Whilst the underlying engine appears to be the same, the range of character models and superior animation added this time round makes for a far more realistic experience, helping to suck the player into the twisted world. Sure, some of the textures may be the same in different areas, but far more effort has gone into creating a wide variety of monsters and human characters. In general, from the time put into the game so far, Dementium II is certainly proving to be more of the same, but better in almost every way. According to a Press Release that publisher SouthPeak Interactive sent with the early release the game is: twice the size of the original, has a totally overhauled save mechanic that removes the annoyances of the previous check point system (saves are done via swirling red screens found in convenient places), and features a flashlight that can be held at the same time as a weapon (only certain weapons - a sledgehammer requires two hands, for instance, whilst a pistol can be held at the same time as the torch), which certainly warrants a huge sigh of relief for those that found the first game so frustrating when having to quickly switch between the weapon and light all the time. To aid with progression, rather than having a map hidden on a separate screen, the player is presented with a real-time mini-map which highlights passages that have already been explored, as well as locked doors, so keeping an eye on where you have and haven't been is no longer a chore. Finally, special new weapons are available to help open up new areas, and the inventory system has been revamped so all First Aid packs and ammunition can be stored in it, while energy is saved for later rather than being used immediately upon collection or left on the ground when unneeded.

As players delve deeper into the game, they find out that William has had brain surgery and something spilled out of his mind during the operation, resulting in the two worlds split throughout the adventure. Elements such as this are explained by nicely rendered cut-scenes that are impressively voiced and oozing with ambience. Even in the early stages of play, developer Renegade Kid has attempted to keep gamers on their toes. For instance, the first boss encounter is a large beast that runs around an enclosed arena, leaping up and crawling along the ceiling before dropping down and lunging at you before leaping back upwards and drooling foul liquid onto the ground, which then spawns small creatures that snap at you whilst you dash about trying to avoid all the dangerous elements. This type of intense scenario is a great feature, but highlights how the controls can be rather fiddly at times. Although perfectly suited to the more sedate moments, when trying to double-tap the D-Pad to run, plus repeatedly bashing the L-button to attack, more often than not the DS will start to slip from your grasp, only making matters worse in dire situations. However, clearly practice makes perfect and a steadier hand starts to come more naturally later in the game. Throw in more accurate weapons than the initial blunt knife, such as a pistol, shotgun and even flamethrower, and any initial control concerns become slightly alleviated. No doubt on the two higher difficulty levels on offer (Easy - Normal - Hard) the game will test the resolve of even the most hardened veteran. But on the whole, despite minor gripes about the controls, Dementium II is definitely looking like a highlight for the start of 2010.

Screenshot for Dementium II on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Dementium II is already shaping up to be a much improved experience compared to that of the original - even surpassing Renegade Kid's other recent DS title, Moon. Currently the team is hoping to get it released early in 2010 in the US, and with any luck Europe will not have to wait too long this time round for what looks to be the best horror DS title in the Western world (Square Enix - where is Nanashi no Game?). Keep a close eye on this one…


Renegade Kid







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I felt let down by the first one (I bought the US copy, don't know what the EURO versions like), but I still wouldn't mind picking this up. I'm living in hope that they've learned a few lessons since the first one.

Nice write-up Adam! I really wanted to get the first one, but those nagging issues I heard people complaining about put me off. It's sounding like this is coming together much better - definitely on the radar now!

I'm pretty sure Dementium deserved a sequel, I thought the mere ambitiousness of the title on the DS warranted a sequel. I'll be purchasing the second one, mainly to support the developers.

Our member of the week

The save system and quick change between flashlight and weapon were the two biggest flaws in the original IMO (aside from the screwed up map in the US version, i dunno about the Euro one though).

And then there's the redundancy of the environments. If they manage to pull this one off, then to me they pretty much corrected all the major flaws from the first one... wich would result in me investing the money in this game Smilie. So if people at Renegade Kid are reading this, please don't miss this time.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Trepe said:
I felt let down by the first one (I bought the US copy, don't know what the EURO versions like), but I still wouldn't mind picking this up. I'm living in hope that they've learned a few lessons since the first one.

Anyone can feel free to correct me on this one, but didn't the Eu release of Dementium 1 (after a looooooong delay) get a spruce-up in regards to spawning enemies, controls etc?

The good thing is that Renegade Kid listened to all the feedback it received from its user forums and tried to implement as many of the requested changes as possible.

That's what all developers should be doing!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

this is a awsome game and i might get it because it is ACE and can someone tell me how to put a picture on plz

( Edited 09.11.2009 08:07 by jigsaw )

Da noob who cnt tell his name (guest) 07.03.2010#8



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