Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)

Developer:Arkedo|Release Date:2012|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Today on Super Adventures I’m having a go of Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, a game with an exclamation mark in its title.

Yeah yeah, I know I’ve been playing too many modern titles lately, games that have a thousand reviews floating around the internet already, but my Steam backlog won’t clear itself! Also modern 2D platformers are interesting to me, because it’s kind of an undead genre at this point. Time and technology left this style of platformer behind, they were pretty much done (well, barely kept alive on GBA life support). But they’ve since risen from the grave and they’ve been doing pretty well for themselves for a few years now.

Some of them are made to replicate the style of classic 8-bit or 16-bit titles, with pixel graphics and retro gameplay built on the principle that the old platformers are still actually pretty awesome (and cheaper to make). Games like Shovel Knight, La Mulana and Super House of Dead Ninjas definitely fit into this category as they're designed to give gamers a rose-tinted trip back to the early 90s.

And then there's the other type: 21st Century platformers straight out of a parallel universe where the genre never fell out of popularity and carried on evolving. Games like Little Big Planet and Rayman Legends that would rather show off flashy visuals and new ideas than take you back to the past. I'm thinking Hell Yeah! likely fits into category B.

(Click any picture and it'll get bigger, but not as big as you want it to.)

Damn, I've never been pulled over by the Qwerty Police before. I wonder if they're any relation to the 30 FPS Framerate Police...

Anyway it's irrelevant to me as I'll by playing with my Xbox 360 controller.

Alright, I've started a new game and our hero is currently emerging from portal inside a coffin that’s also an elevator (with teeth). The game's slid a floppy disk onto the screen to assure me that yes, it has autosaved, I won’t be losing any of the progress I’ve made up to this point.

I like this heat haze effect wibbling all over the screen right now; it goes well with the animated fire flickering across the background and the deep rumbling sound of distant explosions. No music, just fire and explosions. No clue to what I’m doing here either as the game didn't show an intro.

I suppose I’ll walk over to the right and collect some golden floating rabbit skull tokens then.

Hey, it's a plot!

I only managed to take a few steps before I was suddenly confronted with this dialogue box. Turns out the game has some kind of story to it after all, about a dead rabbit called Ash who's apparently having minion problems. Someone's stolen some of his most private photographs and now he's on a mission to end everyone who's managed to catch a look at them. The dialogue doesn’t come with voices, but skeleton rabbits shouldn’t be talking anyway so I’m fine with that. Those ears sticking out of his skull are already pushing it.

Man, this guy really reminds me of someone. And maybe someone else too.

Ash is like 40% Max from the Sam & Max games, 60% Prince Laharl from tactical RPG Disgaea, and 98% skeleton. He's an arrogant immature vengeful bunny with a predilection for violence and a tattered red cape hanging off his shoulders. I am cool with this.

I can’t kill anything, but I sure can go to the right and jump over things, with these rabbit skull tokens marking my path. Apparently they’re what counts as currency down here, so I feel inclined to grab all of them along the way.

Also I can double jump, which is always appreciated but entirely useless to me right now.

Hey, I’ve found a gross looking tutorial octopus butler holding a heart sign and yelling 'blah' to get my attention. It seems that he and Ash already know each other, well enough to know that he was drinking last night.

Nestor's also well versed in game mechanics and is happy to show how the zoom out function works (though I bet he can't explain how a skeleton rabbit can get alcohol into him).

There you go, camera is zoomed out. This also pauses the game so I can stare at the view for as long as I like, planning out my next move. Which in this case will be jumping down that pit over there, marked 'safe' by the row of shiny rabbit skulls coins.

The conversation with Nestor also revealed that Ash here is the Prince of Hell. So that’s... different.

Ash is the Prince of HELL, Laharl, you're the Prince of the Netherworld. That's totally not the same thing. Also half the folks reading this likely haven't even heard of Disgaea, and half of those that have haven't played it! So you're just confusing people now.

Huh, a locked door with a big block of impenetrable crystal in front of it. The plot thickens! Now I'm a dead rabbit with a hangover who can't get to the exit.

At least the music’s finally kicked in! Chugging atmospheric guitar isn't exactly what I expected, but it's exactly what I want. Here, listen for yourself if you want: YouTube Link.

Some games have springs to help you jump higher, others have little trampolines. Hell Yeah! has giant farting green butts adorned with heart tattoos embedded into its rocky floors. So now you know.

Uh... is that a slime from the Dragon Quest games mocking Ash from behind a crystal wall?

Oh duh, of course it's not; it's one of the blobs from the Puyo Puyo games! (The clue's in the name.)

Just leave him Ash, he’s deliberately baiting you. You think he wants to be trapped in there, dying of dehydration (or whatever it is Viking slimes die of)? His mockery is merely a clever ruse to get you to break him out!

Right, my next goal is to go find a digging machine apparently and man I really need to stop walking blindly into spiky things. In fact if I could just stop doing dumb things entirely that would be great.

Part of the problem is that the level's so hostile looking in general that I'm a little slow to pick up when things are an actual threat. I jumped up into one of those eyeball flies earlier thinking I might be able to collect it and that didn’t work out great either, though it hurt my pride more than my health bar. Or ‘BLOOOD!’ bar I should say.

(Looks more like a scarf bar to me though.)

Nestor my old friend! Funny meeting you down here... ahead of me.

He doesn’t have any new hints for us this time sadly, so it seems like the tutorial began and ended with the zoom out button. But to make up for it he's brought us Ash’s father’s pimping jetpack to use.

“Do want!” yells Ash, as he is a prat.


This isn’t a jetpack, this is cross between a motorbike and a circular saw… and a jetpack. I’m bouncing across the level, using my few seconds of hovering time to harass the eyeball bugs. Harass them right into a cloud of green bug juice.

This thing can cut through anything that gets close to its blade: enemies, spikes… even blue crystal walls like from earlier. In fact I think this path is taking me back over towards the caves I just came from.


You’ll never guess who I just ran into!

Who’d have thought the obnoxious Viking slime monster would have so much blood in him (and red blood at that).

Uh… what? The game's been interrupted by a boss-squeezing button-mashing minigame with happy ‘do do do do do’ music.

Fine, I’ll just hammer my controller’s (A) button then, it’s not like I wanted to keep it in good condition or anything.

Well there's one slime who'll never look at a photograph again (cause he's dead). Though I got a photo of him for my monster journal to remind me of all the fun times we had.

Oh wow, he really is from one of those falling block matching games, I was right! Also it has been confirmed: Puyo Puyo games contain a portal to Hell.

The next enemy I found looked like turd with a chainsaw but I drove straight into him regardless and this turned out to be the RIGHT MOVE as it's brought up a 'Beam-O-Blaster' minigame! Though my (A)-mashing finger is starting to think I've made a terrible mistake.


What does that say? “Blood and cute ~ let’s get it started ~ blood ~ let’s get it started”. Fair enough then.


ANOTHER minigame? I thought I was playing a platformer, but it turns out this is actually WarioWare.

To kill the third enemy I'll have to hit (A) when the spinning red wheel has put the eye directly under the skull, so the minigames aren't all about button mashing. They're certainly more elaborate in their presentation than a simple QTE.

Well that explains the what the locked doors are about. I have to defeat boss enemies, complete a minigame to finish them off, and when I've killed all of them in one area the exit door opens to let me through to the next set.

Now I just need to figure out how to get health back, because I’m spilling as much blood as I can, but my own BLOOOD! meter remains dangerously low.


I've received magical healing thanks to the buxom nurse fairies and their fountain of blood! It's a shame I decided to jump into it though, as now his regenerating rabbit body is floating in the way of the tongue sticking out of the shower head.

Oh damn, I just noticed the shower operator's own injury (I was kind of distracted by the eye and the bling). The physician should really think about healing thyself as her leg's kind of making a run for it.

Right, the next mini-boss I have to face is a floating electric brain, which is a bit of a problem as Ash seems convinced that “cool rabbits and electricity don’t mix”. The game assures me that shopping solves everything though so I’m going off to find a shop.


I found a shop.

Oh damn, they’ve gone full Saints Row! This shop music (YouTube link) is exactly like something you’d hear in a Saints Row shop; I've walked into parody of a parody territory. The bouncing lowriders in the background are a nice touch.

Most of the inventory is locked away right now, but I can choose to buy hats for the Prince, skins for my death wheel, or missiles to kill electric brain mini-bosses from a distance. In fact I'm loaded so I can take all of them if I want! Doesn't look like I'll be investing in gun upgrades for a while though.

Hey, there's a rabid three-eyed helmet fly thing right next to the shop! I'll take this guy out with my new missile launcher while I’m here. To aim shots I use the right stick and then… oh, it says in the top right corner. If you don’t got a pad plugged in you can aim with the mouse instead.

The HUD implies that I’ve only got limited ammo but the gun actually regenerates missiles fairly fast, so I'll still have enough for the brain when I get back to him.


Huh, the brain's minigame is a quiz about the lifespan of dead rabbits? Can I phone a friend?

I've just figured out what this game reminds me of! It's got that same kind of 'fuck platforming, let's do something wacky!!' attitude of the Earthworm Jim games.

Earthworm Jim 2 (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Earthworm Jim 2 even has a quiz interlude of its own, except with questions that make no damn sense. Because the EWJ games put trying to be weird and funny over trying to be fun to play, while Hell Yeah! just seems terrified of losing the player's attention for even a moment.

Hell Yeah! doesn't bother with that 'lives' business either, and reloads the last checkpoint whenever I get my dead rabbit killed (which the game even admits is a "WTF?!!").


Oh damn, there's a real boss coming after me now, and I can tell he's serious as he has his own health bar.

He started off by hovering back and forth, shooting out targeted flaming skulls, firing himself across the floor like a cannonball and generally getting in the way. Meanwhile I was trying to aim missiles with one hand and get myself elsewhere with the other.

Once I'd gotten enough hits in the floor exploded, dropping us both down into stage 2 of the arena where he switched to new attacks. See I told you, proper boss fight.

On the ground floor I found a pair of convenient gun turrets, and the boss found out that when he soaks up enough bullets he explodes with enough force to leave behind a gigantic mushroom cloud. Didn't even need a minigame to finish him off this time.

I didn't mind that boss fight actually. It was dramatic and flashy, it had variety but gave me chance to react to his new moves, and most importantly of all I got through it without taking a scratch and that makes me feel like I'm good at games!

Well okay I got one scratch near the end when I didn't evacuate the turret in time, but that was a pretty tame starter boss really.


I'm through to the next stage, and I've just collected the gun I need to break through those unbreakable crystal walls on the previous stage!

It looks just like a pulse rifle from 'Alien' because movie references are kind of like jokes, except with less effort required. I guess I need to reach a teleporter first before I can get back to the Volcano Zone and blast those walls and I've a feeling I'll be waiting a while before they're introduced.

It's probably for the best that I can't go back actually, because it takes forever to drill through this crap with the pulse rifle. Plus I can only fire for ten seconds at a time before the gun runs dry and I have to wait five more for it to reload.

Oh, I can just switch back to the rocket launcher and use that instead! Much faster.

I'm up against 'drill shielded' enemies now so I can't just drive into everything I see any more. Pulse rifle works great on them though.


Okay I didn't see this coming. For killing my 10th monster I now get to visit... the Island!

Here I can dispatch defeated enemies to various parts of the Island to do my sinister bidding. Which right now is mostly mining money and getting me extra life. It's being really vague on what that actually means though, because it's not like I carry health kits in this and I doubt it's going to increase my BLOOOD! bar.

I can go into locations around the Island and watch the minions do their thing, but to be honest I'd rather not know what the turd chainsaw and rabid fly do at work. I'm going back out to the 'platformer game' bit of this platformer game.


Now the bosses are getting more boss-like, with attack patterns and armour plates and moving platforms to shoot them from. Well some of them anyway, others are just one-hit jokes.

Still, I have to go through a finishing move minigame either way and if I screw that up I'm going to take damage and get kicked out to replay the last 10 seconds of the fight again. Minigames are no joke, if you screw up on low health they can kill. Fortunately the penalty for ultimate failure is having to reload the last save game, and if there's one thing the Hell Yeah! loves, it's saving the game. Any opportunity, any excuse and it'll slide that 'saving game' floppy disk back out onto the screen.


Right now I'm here where the rabbit face is, but I want to be down there where the yellow circle is. Lucky I've got this map really or I wouldn't have a bloody clue how to get there. Uh... am I taking the top route or the bottom route?

I wouldn't say the game wants to be Metroid, but the levels do seem to be getting a bit more complex, with a bit of backtracking involved. You can see how areas were gated off until I'd killed a certain number of enemies.

The top route is blocked by instant-death fire jets, but that's nothing that a few conveniently placed boxes can't solve. I'm not sure pushing blocks a few meters forwards counts as puzzle solving, but the game's likely building to something more fiendish. Probably.


Damn, I nearly had it that time!

Ash's spinning blade jetbike and guns have been confiscated on this level by order of... himself, as no weapons are allowed in the Jail Zone, but someone forgot to send that memo to the minions! I have to kill enemies by leading their own defence turrets into cooking them, luring them into fighting each other, tricking them into charging at spikes and dropping crates on them.

But Hell Yeah! can't even take all my stuff away without giving me a new ability in the process, so now I've got a rebounding wall jump to bounce me up narrow gaps! Seems like I could be stuck writing about new game features right until the end boss, so I'll quit now while I'm still at a semi-reasonable number of screenshots.


Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is kind of a hard game to judge after an hour or two of play because it keeps shifting and evolving as it goes. Just when you're getting comfortable with how it plays, it throws a spinning sawblade jetpack at you, then an aimed rocket launcher, then a wall bouncing jump, then a charged dash move...

It's like a cross between... Symphony of the Night, Earthworm Jim and WarioWare. Except not really. Wait, throw Jazz Jackrabbit in there as well for its indie charm, plus a touch of Gunstar Heroes seeing as the game's been more about unloading ammo at bosses than navigating tricky platforms. I wouldn't say its been challenging up to this point though. A few fights gave me some trouble but not to the point I was pulling hair and yelling at my controller, and checkpoints are frequent.

Humour's subjective so I can't promise you that it's funny, but I respect its enthusiasm. Plus I like the (microtransaction-free) customisation options, even if Ash is so small on screen it's hard to even tell that he's riding a doughnut with a Santa hat on. I'm also impressed that the minigames and finishing attacks have been unique for almost every enemy I've come up against. I'm sure they'll start to come around again on later levels, but I think I can cope with launching a shark into space to signal a satellite to commence orbital bombardment more than once.

Basically the plot of Sharknado 3.
If I gave games a score I'd have to deduct 10% here for it only giving you the one save slot and erasing it when you start a new game... but I don't give scores so it's safe. Still though, more games should add multiple profiles or save slots. The designers of Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country and Super Metroid all thought they were a great idea, just because we live in a future of personal Steam accounts and Gamertags doesn't make it any less true.

But yeah this isn't crap. In fact I'd go as far as saying that it's pretty good, so far anyway. Worth a look.

I'm giving you next to nothing to go on for the 'next game' clue this time, but I bet someone will still guess it on day one. Leave a comment if you feel like it, I always appreciate feedback.


  1. Replies
    1. Damn, I should've bet that someone would guess it in less than an hour. Maybe I can still get away with editing that in...

      But yeah, the next game will be Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.

  2. "Also half the folks reading this likely haven't even heard of Disgaea, and half of those that have haven't played it! So you're just confusing people now."
    You know that there is Disgaea anime, right?!
    I think not much people know it, so i'm not helping to clear people's confusion.

    1. Half the folks who've played the game haven't even heard about the anime and half of those that have haven't seen it!

      I know that Disgaea must be fairly popular, considering how many sequels and spin-offs it's gotten, but I didn't want anyone reading to feel like they were expected to know who Laharl is.

    2. Sudden Quiz: Among those people, which ones are you?

    3. I'm in the 1/16th of people who HAS seen the anime, in its entirety. Though I can't remember any of it.


Semi-Random Game Box