What’s your idea of Hell? Is it Fire & Brimstone? Maybe it’s something more personal in a similar manner to the eternal punishments of Hades? Or maybe it’s being forced to listen to the same 6 songs again and again and again? (That version exists by the way, it’s called Capital Radio) Whatever your idea of Hell I bet it’s never involved a Skeleton Rabbit exacting revenge on 100 of his minions!
Welcome to Hell Yeah! This is a version of damnation like no other. Created by Arkedo Studio, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit places you into the emaciated body of Prince Ash. His Royal Dead Bunnyness has a dark secret, he suffers from the same affliction as Ernie from Sesame Street, he loves his Rubber Duck. During one particular bath time Prince Ash is snapped by a paparazzo playing with his yellow plastic friend. The photos make it onto the internet, or whatever Hell’s version is, IE6 probably, and soon garner 100 views. When Ash finds out he swears revenge on those that posted the pictures and those that viewed them.
Hell Yeah! is not a complex game, it’s not full of moral choices, it’s not full of agonisingly long cut scenes , but what it is full of is fun. Each level of Hell is beautifully designed and animated, the 8-bit-esque soundtrack provides tunes to slaughter to, the cheesy ‘muzak’ between levels is annoyingly catchy and the humour, for the most part, is spot on!
When you first start the game you are defenceless, that soon changes when you run into your assistant Nestor, as this provides you with one of your father’s modified jet packs. This spinning wheel of shredding flesh is your default weapon as getting up close with enemies makes them go splat.
Most enemies in the game will be smaller annoying types that populate Hell, as you progress through the level you will come across the minions that have viewed your photos. They may attack you straight away, they might not even realise what they’ve done, some may even run away while calling you names; whatever their actions your response is simple: Kill Them. At the start of the game your killing is limited to using your Jetpack/Saw thing, but soon you’ll find other ways including Gatling guns and grenade launchers. When you have reduced their health to a minimal amount you’ll enter a small mini game, these mini games usually involve pressing one or more buttons at the right time, once done they trigger a finishing move style scene, these can be a Shark shaped missile being fired at the enemy, an 18 wheeler truck turning them into road kill or my personal favourite, a T-Rex bursting through the scenery and removing the offending minion of their head. There is an endless variety to these finishing moves so it’s very rare to get bored of seeing them.
Killing isn’t everything there is to do either, there’s also shopping and a lot of customisation. You’ll pick up loot as you work your way through each level which can be spent at shops either on better, faster weaponry, more health, or on hats! If you’re so inclined you can turn Ash’s spinning wheel into a Homer Simpson style doughnut or give the Prince of Hell a Village People style makeover. That’s not all, once you’ve made your enemies meet their maker for a second time they will be sent to The Island, not the Ewan McGregor move – though I’m sure that’s in Hell too, it’s actually a labour camp! Here you can set enemies you’ve killed to menial tasks such as mining, cleaning, dredging the harbour etc, these tasks aren’t just fun, they can give you more money, health or find secret items. All the better for you!
So is Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit a perfect game? Almost. The control scheme can be tricky to get on with especially later when you have multiple weapons and suddenly find yourself changing weapon when you wanted to jump. Some of the humour, especially one particular running joke, gets old very quickly and it will only take you a few hours to work your way through 100 enemies and once that’s done there isn’t much replayability, but saying you don’t really need to play the game twice is not the same as saying you shouldn’t play it once because you should!
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a fun romp through one of the best looking versions of Hell I’ve come across. It’s a good platformer with some great ideas and its tongue firmly planted in it’s cheek. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is available now on Xbox Arcade and PlayStation Network. The game is free on the PSN for PlayStation Plus members.