Hellboy: The Science of Evil

The first thing it’s important to point out is that Hellboy: The Science of Evil is not a hideous game-of-a-film for Hellboy: The Golden Army. The fact that the two titles have been released more or less simultaneously is just, one suspects, a mere marketing ploy to shift units of the game. No, it’s important to point out that Hellboy:TSoE is, in fact, a hideous stand-alone game.

I’m a fan of Hellboy, so I was initially thrilled to get to play as Big Red and generally kick ass and smash things with my big stone hand, but then the game loaded and I just wasn’t so thrilled with it. Gameplay is simple, you’ve got light punches and heavy punches and jumping-ground-trembler punches. That’s pretty much it. You can grapple things, which is great for pulling the (explosive) heads off little critters to use as make shift grenades and there’s a gun. The gun is fine unless you’re aiming it yourself… and that’s where the problems start.

Whoever looked at this game and signed off on the camera angles wants a damn good kicking. The person who then looked at the game, and the camera angles, and then thought “hey, why don’t we stick a kind of manual aiming system in” wants to be taken outside and torn apart by horses. The aiming sucks. You can use the right stick to move an aiming reticule around the screen, but the game also decides what you’re aiming at. Quite often these are not the same things as you want to aim at. Take level one for instance (and boy, you know it’s going to be a good game when you have a gripe with the first level), you’re in pursuit of a witch. You chase said evil-doer through a murky forest to a murky graveyard where the murky witch flies around. You then have to throw things at the murky witch using the dodgy aiming. This little section wound me up so much I had to actually leave the game for a few days before I could bring myself to do it again.

As you may have gathered, I don’t hold much sway with the graphics either. Everything throughout the first level is really dull and dingy. It may be my screen, but I’ve never had any problems before so I’m pointing the finger of blame firmly at the game. I know it’s a long established tradition, dating back at least as far as Mulder and Scully, that all paranormal things happen in the dark but really, folks, give me some light. A flaming torch here and there would be nice. Just something that’s not a shade of grey or brown would be good. What is the opposite of dynamic lighting? Is there such a thing as dynamic darkness? The graphics do improve in later levels, but you are left wondering why the developers chose to make the first level as dull as it is.

The game’s story involves Hellboy’s nemesis, Nazi Hermann Von Klempt’s plot for world domination. It never really pulls you in, as the ingame narrative is quite weak and even the voice talents of Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones (Hellboy, Liz and Abe respectively) fail to make it much more enjoyable whether playing it through on your own or with a friend over Live.

Oh yes, folks, there’s a multiplayer co-op mode which, when I have been online, no-one seems to be playing. The co-op mode lets you play as Liz (Hellboy’s fiery on-off girlfriend) or Abe (the psychic fish-guy) as well as Big Red, but the fact that you can’t play through the single-player mode as either of these characters (even as a reward for finishing the game) makes me think that someone only worked a half-day when developing the online features.

My initial impressions of the game have, basically, clouded any judgement I may have of it as I progress further along its murky, linear game play. I haven’t, as yet, come across anything that’s made me think I was completely wrong, but occasionally I feel I may have been a little too harsh in my early assessment. Sure some of the levels are quite generous with the colour, but are you really going to play that far to find out? As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been asking myself if I would play on if I wasn’t reviewing it. I can safely say that if Hellboy had come to me as a rental it would be going back the day after, based purely on my experiences with the first level.

First impressions really do count!







16 responses to “Hellboy: The Science of Evil”

  1. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    I fully expect you to get 1000/1000 for this game, Geofortean.

  2. Jake avatar

    You can only get 900 tops at present as the other 100 (listed on the achievements as secrets) relates to (apparently) some DLC. Also I will struggle with the multiplayer as no-one else seems to have this game, and I’ll struggle with the single player because it’s crap! 🙂

  3.  avatar

    How is can you write a review and no have finish the Chapter 1 in Single Player ? just eye balled you gamertag ! o/1000 ! or do you use more thang 1 profile ? just asking

  4.  avatar

    What my brother was trying to say above is ” How is it you can write a review on a game and not have finish the Chapter 1 of the game in Single Player ? I have just eye balled you gamertag ! and it said 0/1000 ! or do you use more than 1 profile ? just asking ” sorry for his bad spelling !

  5. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    Well, this looks like it is going to turn into an interesting conversation. (I swear that wasn’t me, Jake)

    Interesting point though, how long do you give a game before you pass judgement? To be fair, Hellboy as a game doesn’t really reward continuous play by giving you upgrades or new moves or anything. It’s really a case of walk, hit bad guys many MANY times and walk further. The levels are too long. The levels look crap. He takes too long to pull his revolver out of his holster and shoot. Sound is rubbish. All in all, a terrible game.

    Take Jake’s word for it, this game is awful.

  6.  avatar

    well its a test make it past level 2 then bitch till then ! shut up !
    the games no the best but its not the terrible game that everone whos played it for all of 5 min say it is ! its ropey ! but by no mean is it unplayable cam need work and in co-op liz needs work big time ! but as a fan i found it hard but it did have some good moments !

  7. Jake avatar

    I do have an offline account that I play online as well. As for how long to give it – would you want to put a lot of time into something that doesn’t engage you from the get-go? The review is my opinion, and you’re entitled to disagree but I never said it was unplayable. I said it was crap. Big diff. I’d like to think I’ve played enough games over the last 20 odd years or so to be able to spot a duff ‘un.

  8. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    Wow, Anonymous. You are giving me permission to bitch? But only after I have gone past level 2? I actually feel really childish even responding to this. But I will do. I’ve got to level 5 on co-op on this game. To prove it, I have an achievement for getting an artifact on level 3, one for finishing level 3 and another for doing a level on co-op.

    Can I bitch now? And just to back up my man Geofortean, he never said it was unplayable. He said it was rubbish. It was rubbish after 5 minutes. It was even worse after the 4-5 hours I have spent on it.

    As a matter of fact, I’ll say that it is probably THE worst game on 360. And I give you permission to check my gamercard. I seem to have played all of the terrible games on the 360. This game is worse than Avatar, Dragon Ball Zero, Naruto, NBA ballers, Rumble Roses, Prey, Jumper, Eragon, Beowolf, NFL Tour, The Darkness, Overlord, Call of Juarez, BulletWitch, Bionicle Heroes, King Kong. Even worse than the X-men game.

    Phew. I feel better now.

  9. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    Er, I meant I have an achievement for completing level ONE, not three. And I suppose that you will have to take it on faith that I have done another 2

  10.  avatar

    Anonymous what worry will that ?

  11.  avatar

    more to the point whats wrong with the darkness ? and prey ?

  12. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    What’s wrong with those games? Well, the greatest lie those games told, is convincing the world that they are decent games.

    But that’s just my opinion. And the good thing about opinions is that you don’t have to take them on board. I tried those games and I did not enjoy the experience. I really wish I hadn’t bothered. But no need to be offended.

  13.  avatar

    you a mario fan right ! a got it !

  14. Jake avatar

    I think this is probably more of a discussion for the forum, guys.

  15. Vice Destroyer avatar
    Vice Destroyer

    I knew a person like you that seemed to have no respect for other people’s opinions. Your name isn’t Benjamin, is it?

    For the record, I have decided that you’re not worth the effort anymore. Mario fan, indeed.


  16.  avatar

    Benjamin no sorry ! that ant me ! but he sounds like a good man ! and mario fan how a no that ! go grow a set ! wee boy ! get a grip !

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