Evil Dead: Regeneration is the latest attempt at making an enjoyable game based on the cult B-movie horror classic staring Bruce Campbell. While the Evil Dead movies have never been applauded for their cinematic brilliance, they were fun entertainment at its best. The games have simply been rubbish, offering very little of the enjoyment that the movies deliver in spades. Regeneration is along the right tracks but suffers from too many problems to win over anyone other than the most hardened Evil Dead fans.
The game starts with Ash (Bruce Campbell) in a cabin in the middle of the woods. A bunch of deadites show up and Ash must take them out with his trusty shotgun and chainsaw (attached to his now handless right arm). After disposing of the deadites he is arrested for murdering innocent people, before being sent to an insane asylum due to the ridiculous nature of his 'apparent' story. It just so happens that Dr. Vingo is carrying out experiments with the Necronomicon (the Book of the Dead) in the basement of the asylum and all hell breaks loose. During the mayhem Ash is freed from his room and it's up to him to take on the evil forces at work.
Played from a third-person viewpoint, gameplay is exceedingly simple. As Ash you need to kill all the deadites you see, and this is done through a number of weapons. You can carry a gun in your left hand (I like to use the shotgun) and the right hand can hold (although not literally due to a lack of hand) items such as a chainsaw or spike. Used in tandem the weapons work well, and guns never run out of ammo. This makes the combat rather easy, but is obviously designed to prevent ammunition shortages from ruining the game.
Once an enemy is weakened a green mist will surround them, indicating that they can be finished off. Ash can then perform a finishing move to put the deadite out of its misery. There are only a handful of these moves, but they are pretty entertaining, and should please fans of the movie series and anyone with taste for gore. Ash can also harness his rage to become a faster, stronger, demonic version of himself. Collecting orange balls from fallen enemies replenishes your rage metre, and while it can come in handy on occasion, enemies rarely pose too much of a threat to the standard Ash.
Some variety comes when Ash's sidekick Sam appears. Sam is a half human, half deadite dwarf that Dr. Vingo was using in his experiments. Sam can't permanently die (he comes back as soon as he's killed) so he can be used to take on enemies (Ash can kick him around to make him go where you want) and even jump on top of larger enemies and control them. Other sections require you to protect Sam from deadites, and on the whole Sam brings some diversity to the game.
Even though combat is simple, it's entertaining for the short time the game lasts (six hours or so), but there are too many problems for this to be anything other than a mediocre game. Enemies do little other than charge at you, and lack the intelligence to go up stairs. Bugs and glitches crop up throughout the game, and the overall presentation is rather poor. The visuals are basic and lack detail, and the game lacks music for most of its duration. It doesn't stoop so low to be considered a typical low-budget title, but it's close.
Evil Dead fans will have to wait a little longer for a game to do their beloved series justice. Regeneration features some enjoyable combat, but is let down by poor presentation, short play time and predominantly uninspired gameplay. Fans will no doubt appreciate Campbell's work as Ash, but that alone doesn't make the game worthwhile.