Published by: Other
Review: Illbleed was made for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 by Sega, Crazy Games, and AIA. This game shares developers and art with another Dreamcast title, Blue Stinger. There are even some of the same power-ups.
Illbleed is an action horror game, not a survival horror game. Supplies can be plentiful if you play your cards right, and ammo never runs out. This fact does not diminish the difficulty as much as you would expect.
To begin with, this game is very B-movie inspired. You play as the members of a high-school horror movie club. Eriko Christy, our protagonist, was given some free passes to the horror amusement park Illbleed as a prize for an essay contest. The other members of the club can't wait to go, but Eriko has no real interest. However, when they don't come back, Eriko heads in alone to find her friends.
The game play consists of navigating through the different attractions, each themed on a specific movie. The movies are of course unique to the game and not inspired by any existing films. These attractions are filled with traps and some monsters.
You have to maintain your stamina (hit points), heart rate (let it get too high and you'll pass out, or even have a heart attack and die), bleeding, and adrenaline. The traps you'll encounter will damage you in different ways. Some will just shock you, some will hurt you and make you bleed, some will do a combination. You have to clear these traps to make it through and even have a minimum to clear for making the grade on some levels. You can detect traps and monsters by using your six senses. As you near certain hotspots your senses will activate through a sort of pulse effect and you can activate your "Horror Monitor" to investigate the hotspot and attach a marker to it. If there is a trap there you don't get harmed and get a boost to your adrenaline. Using the horror monitor and marking hotspots use adrenaline. You also get adrenaline back from killing enemies. If you mark a hotspot that proves to be an ambush you get double the value back in adrenaline.
Each level has a cash prize for clearing it. Meet the grade (minimum health levels, time taken, traps cleared sometimes,) and you will get the full prize. Come up short and your prize money decreases.
You use the money to heal up at the emergency room and improve your stats . You have to find items that allow you to perform the upgrade operation within the attractions, so exploration is your friend.
Now, on to grading the game: This game is a LOT of fun. Sometimes it's frustrating, most notably the boss battle for the first level, but things get a lot better after that. I give it a fun factor of 4.5/5
Controls take getting used to and the jumping sucks. Combat works pretty well. I give the controls a 3/5 but leaning strongly to a 2.5. The deciding factor for me was how well the dodge mechanic works and the fact that you can hit enemies when they're down.
Graphics definitely look like this game was made in 2001. No one's mouths move when they talk, and some of the angles are jaggy. Especially hands. Otherwise the colors are vivid and great, the animation and movement is superb. I give graphics a solid 3/5. For the time the game was made these were good, and the coloring and animation holds up today.
Sound is very good. Music is moody, atmospheric and above all fun. It even borrows that one song from Full Metal Jacket that's all spooky. You know the one. 4/5 not perfect but very good.
Replay value is moderate. There are three endings that you get through logical means. Ending #1 when you don't save quite everyone, ending 2 where you save everyone, and ending three where you have already gotten ending 2 and save no one so that you get the bonus boss battle and ultimate ending. Also, when working on ending 3 Eriko's clothes get torn up and she gets battered and bloody so that by the end she is wearing mostly bandages and is 98% nude.
Overall, being a Dreamcast lover this game is admittedly one of my favorites. Others find the controls too difficult to work around and give up on the first level because of the insane difficulty of the first boss. It does get easier and much more fun after that. I won't spoil anything this time because it really is a lot of fun the different things you do each level. Each level is different in a very real way. This has my full Seal of approval. I give it overall 4/5 pickles. It is great but flawed. I would love to see some one pick this up and make a sequel for the current systems. I don't see it happening though. Much like Eternal Darkness 2 and Shenmue 3, it's just never coming.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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