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TOKKarl77
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id="cnetReview" section="rvwBody" data-component="indepthReview"> Strange doesn't
begin to describe Killer 7. Think of a James Bond
film directed by David Lynch from a script written by
Yoko Ono and watched while in the middle of a very high fever, and you're getting close to
this title's strangeness.

And it's not a pleasant Pikmin-style strange either. Killer 7 is unsettling, gruesome and packed with so many
layers and hidden meanings it's sure to give those ardent enough to
finish the game a headache as they try to understand what it was
all about.

Killer 7 is a game all about mood and ideas. In many ways the actual gameplay is
forced to take a back seat as Killer 7's increasingly surreal (not to
mention politically loaded) story unfolds, complete with its cast of odd characters and grotesque situations.


View full gallery The game follows the adventures of a group
of assassins known as the Killer 7, who are apparently
just different manifestations of the one man's personality.
Harman Smith is confined to a wheelchair, but his seven other Smith personalities
are much more active and each sport different abilities
-- Dan Smith can charge his gun for extra powerful shots, Kaede
Smith can see through illusions, Coyote Smith can unlock doors, Con Smith can fit in small
passageways, Kevin Smith can turn invisible
and Mask De Smith can use a grenade launcher to open new passageways.
Garcian Smith is probably the most important, as he has the ability to resurrect any fallen Smith.



The Killer 7 are hired to tackle Heaven Smiles, a group of terrorists acting as suicide bombers.
The Heaven Smiles are for the most part invisible,
with the only clue given that they're around being a short, maniacal laugh.
Luckily the Smiths, after scanning an area, can see any nearby Heaven Smiles and dispose of
them. The Smiles themselves are quite eerie -- looking like severely burned humans, there
are several different types of Smiles. Some will shamble slowly
towards you, others run, while others act as spawning points for more Heaven Smiles.


Adding to the game's eeriness are the numerous strange characters you'll come across, many of whom are ghosts
from the Killer 7's past. Each of these ghosts speak in an off-tone gibberish (with subtitles provided, of course) and will give you hints and tips about what's coming up
-- although these tips are often quite abstract. They also pop up
quite regularly, breaking the flow of the game in many instances.



The gameplay itself is quite basic considering the effort the developers took in developing story and mood
in Killer 7. Movement is basically restricted to two
directions -- forward and back -- with players having
to choose which direction to go in cases of a juncture.
All of the combat is done in a first person mode -- pressing L1 scans for Heaven Smiles, while the left joystick and X button are used to aim and fire at enemies.
And that's all the gameplay boils down to. Sure, there are the different abilities of each Smith thrown in, but
the major skill you'll need is in targeting Heaven Smiles accurately while
in first person mode.

View full gallery There is plenty of puzzle solving
to be done in Killer 7, although for the most part these just involve finding the right object or
objects to proceed into a new area. These glorified 'key hunts' usually means a lot of back tracking
in other games, and Killer 7 is no exception. You'll also find areas or puzzles
that are meant for a specific Smith to solve -- luckily,
the game gives you the ability to swap Smiths
on the fly.

Despite the simplicity of the gameplay, Killer 7 still presents a decent challenge,
thanks to the variety of Heaven Smiles you'll face and the numerous bosses you'll encounter.
But Killer 7 is definitely a title that won't excite those
purely looking for action -- it's pacing is too erratic,
and the way the game mechanics limits what you can do can be frustrating at times.


But adrenalin isn't what Killer 7 is about -- we applaud the game for its innovative take and
outlandish pretensions, as it's something you
don't often see in today's sequel-oriented gaming world.
Killer 7 mixes art with gaming, and while the result veers more strongly towards art than a smooth gaming experience, it's still one to savour for those wanting something new.


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