There is not a lot of effort needed to describe Kingdom Of The Dead. It’s a first-person shooter, with a cool black-and-white-but-with-colours-here-and-there aesthetic, and… that’s about it. But what’s important is that it’s a fun FPS, with extremely satisfying headshotting, and a decent amount of challenge.
The setup is a fair old muddle. You seem to be some sort of private eye, I think? But you also have Liono’s Sword Of Omens, and it can talk but almost never does. And then you solve “cases” from a folder on your desk, but the cases are just shooting a bunch of monsters and then having the same boss fight against a giant worm at the end of every level. Yeah… But forget all that nonsense, because the missions themselves are set in large, interesting levels, with lots of entertaining gore, and some nice, old-school fast-paced antics.
The black-and-white hand-drawn look of the game works very well, especially with how it uses splashes of colour to highlight key objects, or better, to splatter red blood all over the place. There’s a handful of readily available weapons, plenty of ammo to be found, but contrasted by a relative paucity of healing potions. Health is the commodity you most need to worry about, and increasingly so depending on which of the three difficulty levels you pick at the start of a mission. The first offers a decent amount of challenge where success is likely, and then it gets harder from there.
The boss fight with the worm is never any good, and highlights the game’s main failings: here the need to circle around a space has you bumping into everything, frustrated by the field-of-view, and offered very little challenge. Shoot at it, don’t let it slowly lumber at you, the end. In other places, it’s a touch glitchy, with enemies stuck in walls here and there. And it needs a lot more work on its controls – for me I can’t play with the keyboard if my controller is plugged in, which is naff.
There’s no depth here, no sense of ambition to do anything novel with the genre. But it’s just a good time, and picking out super-long-distance headshots is never not satisfying. Don’t expect to have your life changed, but do expect some 90s-ish FPS entertainment.
- Dirigo Games / Hook