Iâ€™m in a dark room with a flickering light. I look down and find a silenced handgun in my right hand. I start walking towards a bright light at the end of the hall and suddenly I hear a wicked laugh. Acting on reflex, I point the gun toward the darkness only to hear more wicked laughter. An image of a monster flashes before my eyes just as I wake up. I am back in my room with a GameCube controller in my sweaty hands and the Killer7 menu looping on my television set.
In Killer7, you play as the seven personalities of a 65 year old man named Harman Smith. Each of the seven personalities has different qualities, styles and special skills. Killer7 is set in a world where war and evil no longer seem to exist, but a new threat has formed, the Heaven Smile, a terrorist group trying to disturb the newfound peace. The player must rid the world of the evil Heaven Smile in a compelling story that has many unexpected plot twists and cryptic messages hidden inside it.
The player gets help from a creature called Iwazaru, who provides tips, hints and background information in the game. Iwazaru pops out during the game and explains certain parts, such as new characters and background information on Heaven Smile. Harman Smith is the Master of Iwazaru, and each of Harmanâ€™s personalities will automatically get this title from Iwazaru as well.
The first personality you get to play in Killer7 is Garcian Smith. His weapon is a silenced handgun and this makes him one of the weaker characters when it comes to firepower. His special ability is Telegnosis, which is the method that all of the personalities use to reveal invisible Heaven Smiles. In addition, Garcian is the only character that can resurrect any other fallen personalities. Going as Garcian to the place where another personality died makes it possible to bring that personality to safety and revive him or her.
Kaede Smith is the only female personality of Harman and has an automatic pistol, which is equipped with a two step scope. This feature is especially handy for hitting critical spots on the Heaven Smiles for quick elimination. When the Heaven Smiles get close enough, Kaede can kick them to keep them off. Kaede has quite a gory special skill to reveal hidden passages and clear invisible barriersâ€”she can slit her wrists and spray blood all around.
Kevin Smith is a stoic killer, using knives as his weapon. Kevin never has to reload and can throw knives to fight long range. By taking off his sunglasses, Kevin can turn invisible and walk through lasers and past Heaven Smiles.
The fourth personality is Mask de Smith, an ex wrestler, who has double grenade launchers that can fire off normal, electric and gravity grenades. Being a wrestler, Mask can also head butt Heaven Smiles and throw them through the air, but he can use his skills against more than just Heaven Smiles; he can destroy parts of buildings as well.
Coyote Smith can jump exceptionally high and has a lock picking skill. The jumping skill makes it possible for him to leap onto tall buildings and enter via the roof without being detected by security. He uses a custom revolver to get rid of his enemies.
The sixth personality, Con Smith, is just a boy, albeit a blind one. His special hearing, however, helps him to visualize sounds, which he uses to see the areas. He has double automatic guns and can run faster than any other personality.
The final personality, Dan Smith, is the most brutal of the bunch. His weapon is a custom magnum that only holds six bullets, but he reloads the quickest of all. The special skill he has is the Collateral Shot. This invaluable skill uses blood to charge up a super shot that kills enemies in a single shot. The shot uses three blood vials; Mask, Coyote and Kevin have similar attacks.
The control scheme in Killer7 is controversial to say the least. The player doesnâ€™t have the freedom to walk around where he or she wishes, but instead has to walk along a set path with the A button, and do a 180 degree turn to walk in the opposite direction with the B button. Players can somewhat choose their own paths at certain intersections, where they have a choice of which way to go. These intersections can be at the ends of halls or near doors or people. Some gamers might be dissatisfied with this control scheme to say the least, but it provides some interesting features to Killer7, such as the fixed camera angles when running that provide a nice alternative to the classic third person camera. Using this camera in a game where you can move around freely, however, would make it almost impossible to play.
When holding the R shoulder button, the character goes into shooting mode, in which the player can press L to use Telegnosis to reveal any hidden enemies, press A to shoot and hold B to lock on to enemies. Using the D-Pad, the player can switch targets when using auto-lock. Later in the game, you can get a Critical Lock upgrade, which makes it possible to lock on to critical spots on Heaven Smiles for even faster assassination.
Visually Killer7 is absolutely stunning. The cell shaded graphics give Killer7 a comic feel. The special effects used in the game are very artistic and creative; upon killing Heaven Smiles, blood gushes from their bodies before hitting the floor and exploding into a colorful frenzy of dots. Explosions are not as traditional as you would expect and are often accompanied with tons of colors and stunning effects. In an industry where games seek to be more lifelike, Killer7 sets a good example of how it could be done gracefully without being very realistic. Killer7 is definitely not a game for the faint of heart. I got shock-scares numerous times, and parents should definitely not allow their kids to play this game. There are numerous sexual references, violent language and gore in Killer7 and that is another reason parents may want to keep this game away from teenagers.
The music in Killer7 is a mixture of the electronic and techno genres and this fits the style of Killer7. Sound effects like the gun shots are lifelike, and enough attention has been spent on effects like footsteps and other movement sound effects. An eerie, maniacal laughter appears when there are Heaven Smiles near so you can scan the area for them. Speech of the characters you meet throughout the game isnâ€™t in English but in some sort of muffled Killer7 dialect. This accentuates and complements Killer7â€™s quirkiness, and although you can understand some of the words that are spoken in this pseudo-language, you will have to read the subtitles to understand whatâ€™s going on exactly.
Every once in a while, the player will come across Harmanâ€™s room at an intersection. Inside this room, you save your game and read up on strategies or the story with Iwazaru. In Harmanâ€™s room, you can switch personalities in a very innovative way; instead of selecting the character in a menu, a television has to be switched on, and by flicking through its channels, you can select the different personalities. By switching to channel B on the television, you can create a special serum from thick blood you collect from Heaven Smiles to upgrade your characterâ€™s abilities and statistics.
Upon killing an enemy, Harmanâ€™s active personality absorbs the blood of that enemy. Thin blood is used to fill up to 20 vials, which can then be used for super shots by Dan, Mask, Coyote and Kevin by pressing the Y button a specific amount of times. The vials will become active and the super shot can be launched. Thick blood is used to create serum for upgrades, which is done at the television in Harmanâ€™s room. There are four statistical upgrades: Power, Speed, Critical and Waver. Power and Speed speak for themselves, Critical increases the chance of a critical hit and Waver reduces the amount of bobbing when aiming. Kevin will have Invisibility statistic that replaces one of the four standard upgrades and Mask will have Range.
Any lover of the action adventure genre should give Killer7 a shot, but a rental might be a wise choice first. If you have the choice, pick up the GameCube version, because it has slightly better graphics and less loading times (which you will be doing a lot of). The awkward controls, artistic visuals and original gameplay may not suit everyone, but those who like it will love it. Ultimately, Killer7 is both an interesting and creative game. The controversial control method needs some getting used to and may turn off certain gamers, but if you give it a chance, youâ€™ll find yourself intrigued with the game and its amazing story.