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Killer7: PS2 review review: Killer7: PS2 reviews

Strange doesn't begin to describe Killer 7. Think of a James Bond film directed by David Lynch from a script written by Yoko Ono and watched while in the middle of a very high fever, and you're getting close to this title's strangeness.

Randolph Ramsay
Randolph was previously a member of the CNET Australia team and now works for Gamespot.
Randolph Ramsay
3 min read

Strange doesn't begin to describe Killer 7. Think of a James Bond film directed by David Lynch from a script written by Yoko Ono and watched while in the middle of a very high fever, and you're getting close to this title's strangeness.


Killer7: PS2 review

The Good

Innovative and original. Will have you thinking (and scratching your head). Can be quite challenging.

The Bad

Limited gameplay controls. Plenty of load screens. Can be extremely violent and confronting.

The Bottom Line

Kudos to Capcom for delivering the strangest and most original game of recent times. Its gameplay may leave some feeling cold, however.

And it's not a pleasant Pikmin-style strange either. Killer 7 is unsettling, gruesome and packed with so many layers and hidden meanings it's sure to give those ardent enough to finish the game a headache as they try to understand what it was all about.

Killer 7 is a game all about mood and ideas. In many ways the actual gameplay is forced to take a back seat as Killer 7's increasingly surreal (not to mention politically loaded) story unfolds, complete with its cast of odd characters and grotesque situations.

The game follows the adventures of a group of assassins known as the Killer 7, who are apparently just different manifestations of the one man's personality. Harman Smith is confined to a wheelchair, but his seven other Smith personalities are much more active and each sport different abilities -- Dan Smith can charge his gun for extra powerful shots, Kaede Smith can see through illusions, Coyote Smith can unlock doors, Con Smith can fit in small passageways, Kevin Smith can turn invisible and Mask De Smith can use a grenade launcher to open new passageways. Garcian Smith is probably the most important, as he has the ability to resurrect any fallen Smith.

The Killer 7 are hired to tackle Heaven Smiles, a group of terrorists acting as suicide bombers. The Heaven Smiles are for the most part invisible, with the only clue given that they're around being a short, maniacal laugh. Luckily the Smiths, after scanning an area, can see any nearby Heaven Smiles and dispose of them. The Smiles themselves are quite eerie -- looking like severely burned humans, there are several different types of Smiles. Some will shamble slowly towards you, others run, while others act as spawning points for more Heaven Smiles.

Adding to the game's eeriness are the numerous strange characters you'll come across, many of whom are ghosts from the Killer 7's past. Each of these ghosts speak in an off-tone gibberish (with subtitles provided, of course) and will give you hints and tips about what's coming up -- although these tips are often quite abstract. They also pop up quite regularly, breaking the flow of the game in many instances.

The gameplay itself is quite basic considering the effort the developers took in developing story and mood in Killer 7. Movement is basically restricted to two directions -- forward and back -- with players having to choose which direction to go in cases of a juncture. All of the combat is done in a first person mode -- pressing L1 scans for Heaven Smiles, while the left joystick and X button are used to aim and fire at enemies. And that's all the gameplay boils down to. Sure, there are the different abilities of each Smith thrown in, but the major skill you'll need is in targeting Heaven Smiles accurately while in first person mode.

There is plenty of puzzle solving to be done in Killer 7, although for the most part these just involve finding the right object or objects to proceed into a new area. These glorified 'key hunts' usually means a lot of back tracking in other games, and Killer 7 is no exception. You'll also find areas or puzzles that are meant for a specific Smith to solve -- luckily, the game gives you the ability to swap Smiths on the fly.

Despite the simplicity of the gameplay, Killer 7 still presents a decent challenge, thanks to the variety of Heaven Smiles you'll face and the numerous bosses you'll encounter. But Killer 7 is definitely a title that won't excite those purely looking for action -- it's pacing is too erratic, and the way the game mechanics limits what you can do can be frustrating at times.

But adrenalin isn't what Killer 7 is about -- we applaud the game for its innovative take and outlandish pretensions, as it's something you don't often see in today's sequel-oriented gaming world. Killer 7 mixes art with gaming, and while the result veers more strongly towards art than a smooth gaming experience, it's still one to savour for those wanting something new.

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