You’re not likely to find a game like Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit anywhere other than an internet flash cartoon. It prides itself on its dirty language, obscene amount of gore, and wacky sense of “I don’t give a damn” humor. Sega and Arkedo’s romp through Hell and back has self-awareness and adult jokes out the wazoo and some of the craziest death animations this side of Madness. Hell Yeah! would appear to be prime success for the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, networks that are launching points for digital titles that possess style to burn. But Hell Yeah! just doesn’t know when enough is enough. Ultimately, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit can be summed up in one word: excessive.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit begins with Hell’s own Ash, a dead rabbit whose personal life is threatened when some embarrassing photos of him get stolen. Without any hesitation, Ash travels throughout a number of worlds to find the jerk who stole his photos and bring them to his own form of justice. Hell Yeah! wastes no time in poking fun at other video game series. Whether it’s an immediate Sonic the Hedgehog reference or the death tone that sounds suspiciously like something from a Mega Man game, Hell Yeah! always finds way to make the player snicker in joy. Not enough? Wait until you burn a monster alive with a fiery finisher, followed by a parody of Mortal Kombat. Though its story is downright irrelevant, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is very funny and extremely playful with its image at every self-aware turn. It’s a bit cheesy at times, but the jokes just work and work well.
But a funny game can only get so far. Disappointingly, Hell Yeah! has a number of very noticeable issues and the most immediate without a shadow of a doubt is the controls; they just feel too loose and unresponsive. Using Ash’s drill is easy enough with the shoulder buttons, but once firearms come into play, the game ends up being a messy juggling act. In order to use Ash’s guns, you must first aim using the right analog stick and then fire with the R2 button. It’s as clumsy as it sounds and is far less accurate when trying to take out swarms of enemies floating about the levels. Even the navigation controls are sloppy. Jumping and hovering has a sensitivity problem, which is made even worse during the on-foot sections. Performing a double jump alone is messy and lacks the tight controls for a platformer. There never seems to be any solid feedback when exploring the stages; ultimately, you never feel in control with Hell Yeah!, and that makes the game a real chore to play.
In the vein of the tried-and-true Metroidvania style of gameplay, Hell Yeah! focuses on gaining new abilities and revisiting stages for extra power-ups. Convenient teleportation stations keep the backtracking at a low, but confusing level design makes the issue a severe one. Levels are labyrinths of random enemies, annoying platform construction, and an abundance of insta-kill spike traps that appear in extremely inconvenient places. While the ability to zoom out and get your bearings is appreciated, it doesn’t hide the fact that Hell Yeah! is a game you will get lost in, and not in the good way. Mix in some crazy, but frustrating bullet hell influences and you’ll find the controls to get in the way of some otherwise steady mixes of genres.
The gist of Hell Yeah! involves tackling 99 monsters throughout and it’s here that Hell Yeah! definitely shines. While some of the monsters are simple, some even reused, discovering the move to take them out is remarkably rewarding. Some require top-notch shooting, others require some problem-solving. After whittling down a monster’s health, the finishing blow comes in the form of a WarioWare-esque minigame like reeling in a worm or stealing honey from a beehive. When successful, players get to witness some over-the-top death animations, from kicking an enemy into a soccer goal to summoning a giant microwave to cook them alive. These are hilarious and while some repeat, you can’t help but smirk at seeing Ash unleash a storm of Cupid arrows to finish off a foe. It’s in the monster design where Hell Yeah! really comes into its own.
Though the game has some unlockable modes and encourages back-tracking for new items, there isn’t much of a reason to revisit Hell Yeah! for another round. Weapon upgrades rarely make a difference in battle, although leaderboards will keep speed runners dashing through the labyrinthine stages. The game is also pretty short. Monster encounters don’t last very long, despite there being so many of them, then it’s back to getting lost in the levels. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit may lure you in with its gore, challenge, and insanity, but it’s not a game worth revisiting, regardless of your completion percentage.
Hell Yeah! possesses a bizarre style, one that echoes edgy multimedia packed with swear words, absurd humor, and plenty of guts to spill. The visual aesthetic is bright and colorful with plenty of quirky characters and surprisingly unique environments. The animation of Ash and the enemies around him is striking. However, Hell Yeah! once again overdoes it in the level style. There’s just too much going on in every stage. Backgrounds animate wildly, flashing lights and intricate animations populate every scene. This excessive amount of flair makes the game’s aesthetic feel more tacky than creative, more distracting than significant. Audio-wise, you’ll hear some crazy level themes, mixing techno and house for clubs with a serene ballad once you reach the cutesy stage. It’s charming and keeps the tedium at a welcome limit. Still, the entire aesthetic of Hell Yeah! capitalizes on the player’s tolerance for levels overfilled with action. If you can take the abundant flair, Hell Yeah! will keep you interested.
Everything about Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit feels like too much. The levels are too big and too confusing, the controls too sensitive and over-mapped, the graphics too busy and cluttered. While the aesthetic prides itself on that sense of all-or-nothing excess, the gameplay just feels like too much is going on and none of it is going anywhere. It’s disappointing to see a game with such unrestricted potential buckle under its own over-the-top ambitions, but that’s pretty much where Hell Yeah! is. It’s a crass and surprisingly potent piece of hilarity. However, once you’re struggling to control Ash through the confusing map of overactive lighting and background imagery, you’ll start to get tired of it all. It’s good for a laugh, but Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a game where even the most starved player will say, “I’ve had enough.”
Slick and edgy style | Entertaining monster design
It began with a hand-me-down Sega Genesis from his cousin and since then, he's been fascinated with video games. He enjoys the blissful platforming of the 16-bit era and the rich adventures of the 64-bit era. Favorite games include Metroid Prime, Banjo-Tooie, and practically every 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog title.
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