First Impressions: I swear to God the first press release I saw for this game used the word Resurrection in the title. Am I just crazy?
Sam Raimi's 1982 horror classic about four friends being trapped in the woods and being devoured by the forces of the evil dead is enjoying quite the renaissance these days. A remake is in development at Raimi's Renaissance Studios that he plans to hand off to a promising young horror director. A comic series (titled Army of Darkness after the third movie) has invaded comic shops and has been a huge success. Action figures line the shelves next to the comic books. Raimi himself has confirmed that Evil Dead 4 is finally going to happen. It's only the question of if it's before Spider-Man 3 or after. And finally, THQ has gone back to the film for a new game, Evil Dead Regeneration. Sometimes, it's good to be the king.
Regeneration aims to fill in the gaps between Ash leaving the woods after defeating the Deadites in Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and his storytelling status at the end of Army of Darkness. Until this point it's never been adequately explained what happened to Ash after those two nights in the cabin and his trip back to merry olde England. But really, eight people from the camp are dead and Ash is the only survivor. Emerging bloodstained from the entrance to the park and shouting "The woods came alive and killed my friends because of the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead)" is not going to win him any new friends.
But actually it will. Ash is tried, convicted and sent to the Sunny Meadows Asylum under the care of Dr. Vingo Reinhard. Dr. Reinhard is very interested in Ash's experiences in the woods and in the Necronomicon. You see, the good doctor knows all about the Necronomicon and the Kandarian spirits (Deadites) that awaken when someone reads from its passages. With Ash's help he does just that in his Frankensteinian attempt to combine the occult with science and technology. That never works out well. Except that one time the monster sang and danced.
But anyway, naturally this overruns the facility with monstrosities that Ash will (again) have to wipe out single-handedly (literally). Like A Fistful of Boomstick, Ash will be able to dual wield weapons with a chainsaw or other implement locking into his right stump and any number of firearms in his left hand. Early sketches and production art show the standard complement of people possessed by the Evil Dead. Zombielike creatures with blood red eyes, tattered clothes and foul mouths. Scattered among these pictures is a bulldog creature that looks like a cross between the bulldog things from Doom and the Shriekers from Tremors 2. Other creatures of the night include cloaked Wraith-like figures and a few walking skeletons.
For the first time in Evil Dead history, Ash will have a sidekick in his fight against the undead. A three-foot tall Deadite midget is mad as Hell and he's not going to take it anymore. So he takes up arms (literally if the early sketches are any indication) and helps Ash in his battle to free himself from the prison. His role (hell, even his name) is unknown at this point, but if anyone remembers Whiplash he'll act much like the little rodent sidekick from that game. Setting himself on fire to better attack the Deadites or using his body as a battering ram, that sort of thing.
Really though, with the game still being very early, the best we can do is judge it on talent and there is at least one man behind the scenes who Evil Dead fans can trust. Like all of the previous Evil Dead games, Bruce Campbell is on board to supply voice work for Ash. Like there could be anyone else? He has also offered up his services to the development team to help create an authentic Evil Dead experience in Sam Raimi's absence. But next to Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell is the expert on The Evil Dead. Not everyone loved A Fistful of Boomstick as a game, but no one can question what Campbell brought to the overall presentation with his fantastic voice work as Ash.