Killer7 (GameCube) Review

By Adam Riley 19.07.2005

Review for Killer7 on GameCube

Many will have only a vague memory of the 'Capcom 5', a set of games that were meant to be the lifeblood of the GameCube, helping it close the gap on the PS2 and stay ahead of the XBOX. P.N.03 (terrible), Viewtiful Joe (ported to the PS2), Dead Phoenix (cancelled) and Resident Evil 4 (superb, but delayed too much and announced for the PS2 just before the GC version's launch) were the first four. The last, and most delayed, was killer7. After all this time, was the wait worth it?

The world of killer7 is one at peace, with no terrorism or threats of any kind to be found. Airports and other such network terminals are rapidly being replaced by intercontinental expressways in the hope of reducing the possibility of a recurring menace. However, despite the US Government's hopes, a group by the name of Heaven Smile is intent on bringing down the United Nations World Security Treaty and causing the complete downfall of worldwide serenity. Therefore, in an attempt to combat this, the USA contacts the killer7 – a clan comprising of the seven most deadly murderers around – to use their special abilities to obliterate this dastardly, wicked and downright weird faction.

The strange thing about killer7 is that the presentation is probably the main focus of the game. Capcom has definitely gone for style over substance, but it really does help keep the level of the game extraordinarily high, rather than just plain, average and ultimately boring. Each of the characters proves to be extremely unusual in appearance and personality, all being dark, gruesome and wonderfully cel-shaded in a brilliant artistic way. Everything is so sinister – from the scarily empty locations that you move around to the totally freaky members of Heaven Smile who rush straight at you, ready to explode as soon as they make contact with you. Movement is in a Third Person viewpoint, but when taking aim to blow the enemy to pieces (in a lovely bloodbath way) a line of fire target pops up so players can aim perfectly (great for head shots…). This is by no means for the tame-hearted, so beware…

Screenshot for Killer7 on GameCube

Background music really does just that in killer7, basically fades away and becomes quite unnoticeable as you wander the sparse corridors of large buildings. But rather than being a negative point, the creepy-nature of the sound effects covers matters perfectly and actually adds to the spooky atmosphere. There is nothing more spine chilling than running through passageways fast as lightning only to hear a high-pitched shriek or cackle of a Heaven Smile suicidal member. It really does make you jump at times as you quickly scramble to get out your firearm and blast them away. Added to this, the voice acting proves both highly effective (when people are talking properly) or out-and-out unnatural (you will know what I mean when playing...). Overall this area is yet another aspect of the presentation that is pulled off in a very pleasing way.

Screenshot for Killer7 on GameCube

As has been mentioned previously, this game focuses mainly on the presentation side. In fact, it does this to such a degree that it has been reported that at one stage in the game's production, the creator stated that whilst the audio and visual styling side had been locked down to show the world one of the most curious titles in the best light, the final game engine and play mechanic had yet to be decided! That definitely left the hanging question of just how could a game work when it was built around the graphics / soundtrack? Surely this was a disaster in the making?

Well, surprisingly killer7 is somewhat of a triumph – if a somewhat retro-triumph. Movement is not carried out by the usual methods, instead by simply holding down one button you move forward, then tap in the opposite direction and hold the run button down again to go back. It works in a kind of 'point and click' fashion, with various directions becoming available as you move around. Reach a crossroads, tilt the control in the direction you want and continue to move – simple, yet effective. But you have to be careful, as if you just keep running aimlessly around you will end up in hot water, for round any bend could be some dreaded Heaven Smile agents. Forget for one second and that wicked laugh will be the last thing you hear before you collapse in a pile on the floor.

Upon hearing them, you quickly flick to a first-person viewpoint and must scan to locate them, then target and fire like crazy (preferably getting a lovely head shot!). If they get too close, bam, they blow up in your face (crazy…). As you blast away, their blood is automatically collected in one of three vials, which can be used to regenerate your energy, access special abilities or help out in various other ways later in the game. The abilities all depend on which of Harman Smith's killer7 you choose to play as, with the choice comprising of Garcian Smith (leader, using a silenced hand gun), Dan Smith (smart dresser, but aggressive, wielding a custom Magnum), MASK De Smith (former wrestler, use the Smith Special move and can fire normal, electric or gravity grenades), Coyote Smith (street thug, expert lock-picker, uses a custom revolver), Kevin Smith (albino, disappears when removing his sunglasses, professional knife-thrower), KAEDE Smith (the only female, summons deadly spirits by spraying blood from her wrists, has a sniper pistol) and Con Smith (blind, can see images with sound, lightning quick, shoots to kill with dual automatics).

Screenshot for Killer7 on GameCube

Using each character's different powers will help you through various parts of the game, either by solving something or killing specific enemies. But something that is also of vital importance is you and your brain. An example early on in the game is when you wander into a room with unlit candles and an air conditioner. The aim is to eventually get your hands on a Fire Ring to solve the problem. However, you must first turn off the air conditioner, or else the candles simply blow out straight away. The game's design is very intriguing and whilst the controls may seem rather backwards for such a new title, everything fits in with the weird style of the game anyway – so it is hard to really criticise too much!

killer7 has been criticised by several sources as being a little bit too short and unfulfilling, but in all honesty that is poppycock! If you are a really strong gamer then maybe you will be able to fly through a little quicker than most, especially if you have played games like Myst or the Zork PC series. However, most people will find that a fifteen-twenty hour mark is closer to the mark. The enemies might not be too difficult to despatch, neither the bosses, but the puzzles throughout will definitely leave a few people scratching their heads. This is really a game that will confuse the hell out of gamers, but the experience is a thoroughly satisfying one!

Screenshot for Killer7 on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

killer7 is one of those strange games where you either love it or hate it. Personally I find that the style is pretty damn amazing and the whole package just oozes quality. This is definitely one of the most outstanding games of this generation and something that nobody (under 18s excluded, obviously) should miss out on, even if just by renting.

Developer

Grasshopper Manufacture

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (4 Votes)

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

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