Playforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PC
We Used: PC
I have my suspicions that most people would stay six-hundred and sixty-six (666) feet away from a game with such a foreboding title. Fortunately, I don’t scare all that easily. So I had no issues giving indie title Extreme Exorcism a whirl. I came away pleasantly surprised with its frenetic, “kill or be killed” pace and its retro-cool pixel art style that sets the spooky tone rather well.
You’re a guy (or girl) who is tasked with cleansing various areas of a conveniently platform-esque haunted house that is infested with specters. Even though that is a pretty basic concept, it is quite absorbing. Your protagonist (selectable from four avatars that all play pretty much the same) is an exorcist that doesn’t employ the typical arsenal of holy water, crucifixes and prayers to do battle with evil spirits, but rather uses machine guns, swords, mines, bombs, rocket launchers, and harpoon guns to send the undead straight back to Hell. You can carry up to three weapons at a time and they are usable simultaneously, which can make for some cool attack combos.
Having all this firepower at your fingertips may seem like it would make this title a cakewalk, but, of course, there’s the catch. The ghosts, round after round, use the player’s own patterns of movement and previously collected weapons against them. As long as there are just a few ghosts on screen it’s fairly easy to eliminate them, but as soon as the number rises you’ll find yourself in the middle of some hellacious crossfire. Therefore, strategy elements are key here as you need to think about what weapons to grab and how you are going to use them against enemies employing your own techniques against you. This is the coolest element of the game and a slick feature implemented by Golden Ruby Games.
Some negatives here are that Extreme Exorcism can be completed in just over two hours, including the end boss. After that, Deathmatch (local, up to four players) and Trials (mini-missions, as it were) add a few hours of additional gameplay. There’s also not much variety in terms of the enemies you’re blasting (only two, realistically) and all of the stages/environments are single-screen with no vertical or horizontal scrolling…which makes it hard to shake the impression that this experience would fare better as handheld and/or mobile release, as it is not something that necessitates a beefy PC or console.
Extreme Exorcism is designed as if it were a 25-year-old coin-op or 8-bit game, and I don’t say that as something derogatory in any way. The title is what it is and doesn’t try to be anything other than a fun, platforming blast-a-thon where “JUMP” and “FIRE” buttons are all you need to have a good time. And you’ll never hear me complain about that.