killer7 (Nintendo Gamecube)
As soon as I'd hit on this advent calendar concept, I knew exactly what game I'd be playing on December 7th. It didn't matter that I've played it before; it didn't matter if there were other games out there that would fit. I was going to play killer7, simple as that.
I wrote a review of this for Way of the Rodent. I thought I'd have a quick re-read of it before writing this, and was stunned to see that I wrote it in August 2005. Is it really that long since I first played this? Apparently so, but it still feels as fresh every time I play it as it did then.
Hey, where are you going? Wait for me, I'm lost!
killer7 is in the top three most mental games I've ever played. It really grabbed me the first time I played it, but although I've had a copy sitting here for a while, it's been a fair bit of time since I played it. And that's just wrong, because a game as entertaining, intriguing and insane as killer7 demands to be played, or more accurately, demands to be experienced.
Well, you certainly are. I'm not hanging from the ceiling in a gimp sui, so I'm a bit better off.
It's very much a Marmite game, is killer7. Nobody thinks "it's alright". They either love it or hate it. I've learned this from many a discussion over the years. For me, everything hangs together in such a brilliant, freaky fashion that it makes for a videogame experience like no other.
Mmmm, blood. Very useful stuff, you're going to need as much as you can get...
The plot is mental. I'm not going to roll it out here, but if I say that you play as the physical embodiment of an old man's seven assassin personalities, you know you're not dealing with a conventional videogame. And when a man in a gimp suit, a man that you killed on a previous assignment, drops down and offers advice, it's obvious that you've gone way, way off the wall.
... although you're not supposed to spill it down your dress, Kaede!
killer7 is not set up in a way that is immediately accessible. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty much an on-rails shooter with something of a choice of routes. That doesn't sound too exciting, but it's the way it's presented that makes it stand out. The graphic style is stunning and unique, all strange angles and odd colours. It's tense... when the creepy "Heaven Smile" enemies are closing in on you and you're struggling to get a shot on target, you'll feel your nerves start to go. The game itself is bizarre... part shooter, part detective story, with its crazy characters it's interesting from the off and never lets its grip loosen.
You OK, old man? How'd you like a nice cup of tea?
There's so much more I could say about the game's plot and the storyline, but that makes for dull reading when you could be playing and experiencing it for yourself... by far the best way to get the flavour of it. As far as I'm concerned, killer7 is a twisted classic. It's a game that I'll never sell... I'll always want to pick it up for another play at some point. It's not for everyone... there's no way it could be. But it's original, funny, dark, bizarre and, if you do get into it, great fun. Playing it again for the blog has been a joy, and has reaffirmed my love for this intelligent, arty masterpiece.