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Run Like Hell – Second Opinion

Erin Bell's picture

Mike did an excellent job of pointing out why Run Like Hell doesn't quite work as survival horror. The experience is decidedly more Star Trek than Aliens, and there's nothing wrong with this except that the game's dabbling with survival horror elements comes across as wanting (and failing) to be Aliens instead of simply being content as Star Trek.

As Mike said, all pretence of tension fades away early. Ammo is not only plentiful but unlimited in certain weapons, and an abundance of health regeneration items throughout the game means that the gamer is never concerned with dwindling resources.

The weapon power-ups are an interesting idea, but again compromise the survival horror atmosphere. It's easy to quickly build an arsenal of supped-up guns capable of felling even the most powerful alien mutation with a handful of shots. The consequence is that enemy encounters are treated as short, unevenly balanced firefights.

Unlimited ammo and nifty weapon upgrades are two examples of Run Like Hell being at odds with itself, since they work well in the context of a sci-fi adventure while simultaneously contradicting the conventions of survival horror. Imagine Resident Evil with bullets on every street corner, or Silent Hill with James and Heather wielding rapid-fire pulse rifles modified to +20 damage instead of struggling inexpertly with crude iron bars or rickety, unreliable shotguns. If the game is too comfortable, the tension disappears along with the "survival" portion of survival horror.

Run Like Hell's music works well when synched with cutscenes, but is less effective in-game where it tries to suggest a forced tension at odds with the existing atmosphere. When set next to the subtle, brilliant work of Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka, Run Like Hell's soundtrack of various horror strings clichs simply doesn't hold up.

I echo Mike's feelings about the first-rate voice-acting, which, besides Henrikson as Connor, includes Kate Mulgrew of Star Trek: Voyager fame as Dr. Mek, and Brad Dourif (The Lord of the Rings) as the scientist, Fred. Unfortunately, the worthy story is often compromised by lazy execution. There are the usual elevators and doors that spontaneously break down and re-activate whenever the plot demands it, and the slew of non-combat tasks that involve finding keycodes to unlock doors and panels.

The story is interesting, the characters engaging, and the gameplay is sometimes dull but rarely the cause of active frustration. Run Like Hell is, as Mike said, a decent though uninspired sci-fi adventure. Rating: 5.5/10

Disclaimer: This review is based on the PlayStation 2 version of the game.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox   PS2  
Developer(s): Digital Mayhem  
Publisher: Vivendi Universal  
Genre(s): Horror  
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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