Evil Dead: Hail to the King

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Evil Dead: Hail to the King

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Groovy! NOT!
Genre: Survival
Horror
Platforms: PlayStation
Sega Dreamcast
Microsoft Windows
Release Date: PlayStation
NA: December 5, 2000
EU: June 22, 2001

Sega Dreamcast
NA: December 20, 2000
EU: June 22, 2001

Microsoft Windows
NA: March 28, 2001
EU: June 22, 2001
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Publisher: THQ
Franchise: The Evil Dead
Next Game: Evil Dead: The Fistful of Boomstick


Evil Dead: Hail to the King is a survival horror game developed by Heavy Iron Studios and published by THQ. It is the second game based on The Evil Dead franchise and is considered to be one of the worst ones in the franchise (the others being 1984 game based on the first film released for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, and the 2011 runner game for iOS titled Evil Dead: The Game). This is Heavy Iron Studios' first game they developed.

Plot

The game takes place eight years after Army Of Darkness movie, following the good (theatrical) ending. Ash is suffering from nightmares about Necronomicon and Deadites. In attempt to help him, his fellow S-Mart employee Jenny takes him back to Professor Knowby's cabin, so Ash would face his demons and finally move on. But their plans get ruined by Ash's possessed severed hand which plays Knowby's audio diary with incantation of Necronomicon, causing hell to break loose again. Jenny gets kidnapped by evil forces and then Ash's evil twin exits the mirror and knocks Ash out. After waking up, Ash goes to the workshed and gears up, ready for another battle against evil.

Why It Sucks

  1. Gameplay-wise it was obviously made to cash in on popularity of Resident Evil and other games which had similar gameplay. However, developers didn't consider various aspects of such gameplay style and its mechanics, releasing a clunky and frustrating mess in result (see below).
  2. The reason for Deadites and other evil forces of Necronomicon being awakened once again is so poorly thought, that it feels like developers didn't even want to think much on it. So, despite still being alive all that time, Ash's possessed hand played the Knowby's audio diary only to make Ash mad after seeing him again? Really?
  3. While it is good to hear Bruce Campbell voicing Ash, he properly voices him only during cutscenes. In the game Ash rarely comments on things, mostly you have to read the text which appears on screen. The other sounds voiced by Campbell during gameplay are Ash's grunts when getting hurt and a couple of taunts, which sound bland. What's especially bad about this is that unlike in the movies, Ash acts kind of bland, rather than sporting that typical cocky humorous personality of his, though he makes a few good jokes in the game.
  4. Speaking of Ash and cutscenes. His model in CGI-cutscenes barely even looks like him, unlike his in-game model.
  5. The game's map is really annoying to use, since usually instead of helping, it only makes navigation even more confusing. For example, when following certain path, you expect to end up there, where the path is supposed to lead to according to the map, but end up in absolutely different place. It can also be blamed on poor location design, which doesn't help either.
  6. Very unfair difficulty, which is not just misbalanced, but actually heavily misbalanced. Most enemies do a lot of damage and usually appear in numbers. The worst offenders being floating-torso Deadites which appear almost everywhere you go, constantly respawn and are even able to trap you in narrow places. Most weapons are weak and Ash's chainsaw prosthetics are nearly useless, unless you have fuel for them, but it runs out really fast. Bosses are hit-sponges. Add to that tank controls, terrible camera, badly designed frame locations, limited supplies and you get a really frustrating experience.
  7. The only way to save your game is to use the save tape item found in Knowby's cabin on audio diaries which can be found in a few locations. While it's a normal feature for a Resident Evil-esque horror game, due to the confusing environment and swarms of enemies combined with frustrating difficulty, it turns into a huge pain in the ass.
  8. Very short and repetitive. It can be completed in two hours and even then it's because of tedious enemy and boss fights, which just drag on and on.
  9. Disappointing ending.
  10. False advertising: Game's trailers, screenshots and even TV commercial showed Ash having boomstick (the nickname of his iconic double-barreled shogun) from the start of the game, while actually you start with an axe and Knowby's pistol, which are both really weak weapons. The shotgun itself can be found only in the house of Hellbillies (undead rednecks).
  11. Very little enemy variety.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The game has moments and places which are creepy and unsetting.
  2. The sequel - Evil Dead: The Fistful of Boomstick, while having it's own flaws, still came out better. Probably because it was developed by a different company.
  3. Some enemies and bosses have pretty interesting and imaginative designs.

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