App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Update (2011-07-07): So just as this review was posted, an update (ver. 1.1) was released which addressed a good many of the control issues. The shotgun still feels a bit inaccurate, but the jumping is much, MUCH better. The axe's speed has been increased as well, making it a much more useful tool for Deadite mulching.
Ah, Evil Dead. Sure, everyone loves and quotes (constantly) the second and third films in the series, but the original doesn't get as much love. Granted, Evil Dead 2 is really a remake of the first movie so most people probably feel they don't need to bother with the other one, but without The Evil Dead there would be no Ash, no Deadites, no boomstick and certainly no chainsaw hand. Maybe it's because the original hardly gets any love that Trigger Apps decided to base a game on it. Or maybe it was easier to negotiate the rights for it because it's not as popular. Whatever the reason, Evil Dead is now an iPhone game. A cute, fun, flawed and rather gross iPhone game.
For the unfamiliar, Evil Dead follows the exploits of Ashley Williams (a.k.a. Ash), his friends, sister and girlfriend during a weekend trip to a secluded cabin. They find a book, unleash some demons and start to get picked off one-by-one. Thankfully the whole thing with Cheryl and the trees is only mentioned briefly (don't ask), but even without the amorous arbors this is still a fairly gruesome tale. Friends turn on each other, people get possessed by Kandarian demons, limbs get hacked off and gore literally covers the screen. Needless to say, this one's a 12+.
Evil Dead manages to capture the look and feel of the first film quite well, even with the cute and stylized visuals. Most of the levels follow the basic plot of the original, including forcing Cheryl into the cellar, a showdown with a possessed Linda and destroying the Necronomicon to name a few. However only the first chapter, Autumn Horror (comprised of twelve levels), follows the movie. The second chapter, Winter Nightmare (with eighteen levels), is an entirely new side-story in which Ash returns to the cabin and attempts to resurrect his lost loved ones. It doesn't go well, naturally.
Unfortunately, some of the enjoyment Evil Dead fans will glean from this game gets dampened thanks to spotty controls. Aiming with the shotgun doesn't feel very fluid and will often result in several shots missing their make before a target is finally taken down. Even worse is the inability to aim accurately with the axe as it merely swings (in an arc) in the direction Ash is facing, resulting in a lot of misses even when standing right in front of an enemy because he's facing just a little too much to the right. It's not great, but the platforming segments are by far the worst offenders. Jumping from one rock (or block of ice) to another successfully takes way too much lining up, and even then there's about a 50/50 chance Ash will end up in the drink. These segments are mercifully kept to a minimum and missing a platform won't result in an instant death, but that doesn't make them any less awkward.
Even with the somewhat glaring control issues I still had a lot of fun with Evil Dead. I imagine being a fan of the series helps a lot, but it's also a pretty good game at its core. The stylized look is well done, it follows the movie almost perfectly and I love the idea of wiping Deadite blood and guts from the screen manually, even if it is a gimmick. And while the controls aren't great, they aren't so bad that they make the game unplayable. With a little tweaking, and maybe the ability to switch between weapons so as to conserve shotgun ammo, this could be a great game. As it is, it's still an enjoyable romp for Evil Dead fans.