Let me tell you, I've had a real ball-ache of a day. I woke up this morning with a killer headache, with no idea where I was. This pretty nurse tells me that I've just had brain surgery, but that I can't rest up because they need the space for someone else - that's the NHS for you! Anyway, these two guys in riot gear dragged me back to my room where my crazy-ass cellmate was babbling a load of scary gibberish.
Things got worse from there. I found a postcard that I apparently sent to myself (never a good sign when I do this), warning me that I had to escape. Then everything went a bit mental, and someone redecorated the hospital with this unsightly peeled-bodies-and-rusty-chain motif. All day I've been hounded by these freaky guys with mouths in their chests, and by these ugly worm things that squeal like babies. Thank God I keep finding painkillers all over the place; I must have chowed down eight bottles, and now I'm tripping my tits off...
Oh well, at least I have Dementium 2 to cheer me up. Unlike their film-based equivalents, video game sequels tend to be an improvement on their predecessors - and the new game from Renegade Kid is no exception. Indeed, that's a massive understatement: the Texas-based developer has taken everything that was good about the first game and made it even better, resolving the few flaws that were present and then throwing in a whole load of new tricks. And on the basis of the two chapters I've played so far, I'd say this could easily be one of the best DS games I've played all year.
Like the first game, Dementium 2 is a FPS survival horror that finds you battling demonic abominations inside a run-down hospital. The player takes the role of William Redmoor, a damaged and possibly schizophrenic hero who's just "had some work done" at Bright Dawn Treatment Center. It was eventually revealed that the whole of the last game took place inside William's head, but it soon transpires that real life is just as nightmarish, if not worse. Are you crazy, or is there a good reason why everything has gone all Silent Hill? We just don't know yet, but to find the truth you'll need to fight your way through a new set of freaky-looking nasties.
In broad terms, Dementium plays in exactly the same way as the last game - kill lots of monsters, search every room for health and ammo, and occasionally solve a puzzle to access the next area. It's a classic survival horror template, but the big draw here is quality. My last preview covered a lot of the changes to things like the inventory and save systems, but with hindsight I didn't make a big enough deal of how great this game looks and sounds. If you want an easy point of comparison, you need only look at the Chest Maws - the zombie-like creatures with vertical jaws on their torso. Last time around they were merely an odd-looking threat; this time they're genuinely nasty. When they open their massive gobs you can see a rotting heart lurking inside the chest cavity, and when they stumble towards you they move with a creepy, juddering motion.