With Halloween coming up, Microsoft probably saw it best to release their new spooky game somewhere close to the Holiday. One of the biggest reasons why we have all been hearing about this title is not that there is a lot of hype surrounding the game itself but the fact that Rare is developing it. Without any further ado I present to you Rare’s first title on the Xbox console. It’s Grabbed by the Ghoulies, a spooky little beat-em up title that unfortunately doesn’t quite have Rare’s magical touch to it.
It’s pretty interesting that Rare’s first title would be such a different title that really does some different things that haven’t been done very often. It is nice to see that both Rare and Microsoft are willing to put out some titles aren’t always on the normal side.
The story starts out with you (a young man/boy named Cooper) and his girlfriend getting caught in the rain and found Ghoulhaven Hall for some quick shelter. Upon reaching the entrance of this massive mansion, Cooper’s girlfriend is snatched away from him, and it’s now Cooper’s job to go rescue her. There is one problem this large mansion is inhabited by tons of monsters (imps, mummies, spiders, ect.) and you will have to deal with them along the way. The story is told through a comic book structure, and at first it is quite nicely shown, but after a while I just got sick of how it really slowed down the pace of the game.
The gameplay mechanics in Grabbed by the Ghoulies is reasonably simple and straightforward. The game works basically the same all the way through, you walk through a door, the door closes behind you, you complete the objective, and you walk through the next door. The objectives are usually pretty simple. Most of the time you are just killing all the enemies, and then you will be rewarded by going through the next door.
There are a few things Rare has done to these levels that have made them not as simplistic but rather help spice things up. The first part is the ability to use objects in the environment as weapons. This kind of gives you the true beat-em up feel when you smash chairs and other objects lying around over monster’s heads. Also found in many of the levels are powerups which can be used for your advantage throughout the levels. These powerups range from one hit kills to automatically passing the objective. On the downside you are always needed to watch out for the bad powerups that can make completing objectives that much more difficult.
There are a few big problems that hold Grabbed by the Ghoulies back from being as good as it could. The first big problem is the annoying camera that seems to get hung up a lot in tight corridors. It’s not an awful system by any means, but when there are a lot of enemies in one place it is not the best camera system to work with and can be overly frustrating.
The biggest thing that plagues Grabbed by the Ghoulies from the very beginning is the simplicity by in which it runs. At first things start out pretty good with some interesting ideas, and some easy fun gameplay, but it stays with that scheme (with only a few quirks along the way). This not only becomes repetitive but it just gets boring, there is only so much you can take of this simplistic approach before your going to be wanting more. I am not saying that this is a horrific game, because in fact it’s not, it is just a game that could have used some more elements to make it a more lasting and enjoyable experience.
Rare and graphics have always gone together, so whenever Rare comes out with a game you know it’s going to look good, and this once again holds true with Grabbed by the Ghoulies, because it is really one good looking game.
The graphics of Grabbed by the Ghoulies are not going to win any awards or get a whole lot of attention, but what they will do is show that even the simplistic games can look good on the Xbox. The look of Grabbed by the Ghoulies is pretty unique and really is quite nice. The character models have a nice cartoon style look that really is quite unique, and is very nicely detailed. The environments of Grabbed by the Ghoulies are also quite nicely detailed, and although it takes place in the mansion, there are still a lot of different types of rooms that help try not to keep things looking the same.
Overall the great thing about the Graphics is that they are just very nicely done and aren’t hard on the eyes. In fact it is also nice to see that they didn’t go with the normal every game look but went for a unique look, in which I commend Rare on doing.
Like I mentioned earlier this game is a little too simplistic for my tastes, but for a while it was quite fun. It is a beat-em up title in which you can use objects from around the environment, and that is always fun. But unfortunately that fun doesn’t last throughout the entirety of the game, which is why the score is much lower than it could have been.
It was nice to see a game that didn’t fall on the line of the typical games being released lately. Unfortunately the game doesn’t do enough to really stay interesting throughout. There are some good things going on in the game, which is why I would recommend it for a rental but probably not a purchase.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.