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Joystiq hands-on: Deadly Creatures (Wii)

Zack Stern

Deadly Creatures has both kinds of critters: creepies and crawlies. In this Wii action/adventure, gamers swap between a scorpion and tarantula, moving through claustrophobic settings. I played an in-development version at a recent THQ event, and the title has an interesting concept, but I wasn't hooked by the limited area I explored. Hopefully the plot and fun-sounding other settings will change my opinion with the game's Fall release.

In the beginning of the game, players see the aftermath of a man wildly claiming that a scorpion and tarantula blew up a gas station. Your control flashes back a day before that event, and the game's story leads up to that moment.

Developers compared Deadly Creatures to Bad Mojo, but the connection was loose in the area I played. Bad Mojo appealed to me because players controlled a cockroach through human areas, but my scorpion-character demo was completely underground.

Gallery: Deadly Creatures (Wii) | 17 Photos

I scurried around with the control-stick, used trigger buttons with each hand to fire the left and right pincers, and flicked the Wiimote to swing the tail. I uncovered a few new techniques as I progressed, like dog-paddling the controllers to dig. The underground world was inhabited by pill bugs and other weak foes, but eventually another scorpion attacked. A gila monster charged in as the area boss. Those battles took longer, requiring more dodging and blocking.

The connected tunnels in the demo felt drab, giving a sense of thow the game was controlled but not doing much for my sense of the setting. But some of the underground effects held my interest, like a long, curved root that bent my perception of "up" and "down."

The areas that I didn't play sound promising. On the way to the gas station, the scorpion and tarantula move though weeds, a desert, a junkyard, pipes and plumbing areas, and eventually outside and inside human dwellings. Gamers alternate between one or the other creature depending on the area, and the story is supposed to cohesively combine their experiences.

I look forward to seeing more of Deadly Creatures, since it has a fairly unique concept. Hopefully the additional, creative-sounding areas will help the game find its mojo.

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