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Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review

by Diogo Miguel October 12, 2012

It’s nearly the end of 2012 and Sega continues to demonstrate its commitment to the digital gaming market. The publisher decided to back a rather bizarre title, from French developer Arkedo Studio, a few months back. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is certainly not the typical platform adventure. But will this work to its advantage or is it better to hope it goes straight to hell?

Hell Yeah is unique in the sense that it feels so different to similar offers out on digital platforms. It’s almost as if it was developed as a tribute to the heydays of the sixteen bit era. There are lot of platform sections to get stuck into.

Most of the time is spent on a wheel that Ash uses. It is practical since this wheel can break through crystal obstacles and enemies. What’s so special about it is the fact that it will open up new paths. However, the wheel needs upgrades in order to break some obstacles. It’s a subtle way to ensure that the player progresses through the game at a steady pace.

Ash also had access to a vast arsenal of weapons. Each is obtained by earning money and buying them from the shop. It’s easy to fire each weapon since it makes use of the left analogue stick to aim and right trigger to shoot. Certain weapons do more damage to some enemies. It’s even possible to use special weapons during certain sections.

Perhaps the best sections in Hell Yeah are the ones where Ash isn’t inside a vehicle. These mostly consist of Ash being on foot, and so more vulnerable to enemy attacks. He is not able to rely on wheel attacks. This means players must work hard to try and find other ways to defeat enemies without wheel weapons. This is classic platform hopping at its finest.

Most enemies require a different way to defeat them. Some are defeated in a traditional way by making use of the various weapons. Others will make the player think outside the box. It’s moments like this that make Hell Yeah worth playing.

Defeating the special monsters will mean having to go through a mini-game. Some of these aren’t too clear since Hell Yeah is usually more preoccupied with looking stylish. However, it’s still amusing to get through each and see the over the top animations.

There is no denying that Hell Yeah is a visual treat for those that play it. Each world has a different theme. At one point the character is in a psychedelic world where hippie flowers are happily dancing around. Other worlds will even take the character to deep space and a dark prison. There’s even a world which might make the player want to gauge his/her eyes out, due to the cuteness overload. It’s this sort of unique design that makes Hell Yeah stand out amongst the many platform titles out there.

It’s not just the fact that the visuals feel unique though. They are also highly reminiscent of the sixteen bit heydays. It’s almost as if the 3D era never came and Hell Yeah is part of an alternate world where 2D game are still the norm. Everything look intricately detailed from the various wonderfully bizarre creatures found to level props. It’s certainly interesting to witness some of the sights Hell Yeah has in store for players.

However, at times it feels like it also suffers from trying too hard. There are moments where the player is asked to perform unusual tasks. The problem is that these tasks aren’t exactly easy to understand. The lack of proper instructions will more often confuse players, and leave them wondering what to do next for a short period of time. Challenging the player is fine but doing it so it makes it look more stylish, doesn’t always work out fine in practice.

It’s expected but the story for Hell Yeah is bonkers. For starters Ash is a dead rabbit who must slay a lot of monsters. Obviously the reason behind it is so he can get back X-rated photos of his special bath time with a very lucky duck – who just happens to enjoy S&M. It’s certainly a special story that’s not typically seen in a video-game. It shows in the witty dialogue between Ash and some of these monsters. Shame it’s not possible to skip dialogue quickly after dying and having to go through it again.

The dialogue and other text is ripe with questionable and somewhat childish humour. It’s not for everyone though, since it will take a twisted sense of humour to appreciate it.

The shop isn’t just used to buy weapon upgrades. There are various disguises to buy in the form of masks and wheel decals. More become available to buy with progression, which is a great way to ensure there is something to look forward to.

Another interesting idea is an Island where all monsters defeated are sent to. This island is like a labour camp where monsters must work for Ash. The player can set which resources to focus on obtaining. It’s an unique way to make the main character Ash stronger. Allies in levels will also help with healing and guiding the player during certain points.
One of the highlights in Hell Yeah is the soundtrack. Every world has its own music track that fits with the theme. The hippie style world for example has a relaxed music that sounds right.

Hell Yeah is certainly an interesting journey into the mind of French developer Arkedo Studio. It has a lot of unique ideas that work. However, it sometimes favours style over functionality and the player ends up taking longer to figure out the way.

Hell might be full of good intentions, but Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit has plenty of good ideas that work just fine. Hell Yeah is another successful step into the digital market for Sega, and a fantastic effort from Arkedo Studio, that will leave gamers eager to play it from start to end.

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