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Hellboy: Asylum Seeker. The horror, the horror!


A few years ago, a close friend of mine got me a PC game for my birthday. ďThat was nice of him,Ē I thought until I saw what it was. It was Hellboy: Asylum Seeker. Now to be honest at first I didnít know a lot about the game, but the fact my friend had left the price sticker on the box was damming enough.


Now for those of you not versed in the UK monetary system, let me explain. Thatís 99 pence, 1 pence short of a pound. Now check your financial news channels to see what thatíll get you in your own currency. Right now thatíll get me $AUS 2.28, which ainít too shabby. My friend then goes ďI know you like Hellboy, and Iím cheap, so we both winĒ.

Well tonight, I installed Hellboy: Asylum Seeker and played it for the first time. Here are my findings.

1. Ok, I can at least play this on a decent resolution. 1,024 x 768 ainít too shabby (for my PC anyway).
2. Sweet Jesus! Who came up with these controls? The now standard WASD + Mouse controls are a great combination, so why does this game start off by using the direction keys and a seemingly random assortment of letters for the controls? A for run, W for use, C for attack? Thankfully I change them to something less bizarre.
3. Ok, we go to a cut scene that appears to be a zoom shot of an old man whose mouth doesnít even come close to matching what heís supposed to be saying. Then I realise itís a constant loop and that the camera just changes angles a couple of time. The musicís a bit loud and I canít work out whatís being said. Anyway, we leave there and one of the BPRD team members (or are they BPRD, itís not made explicit and theyíre just people wearing jeans and grey jackets. One of the team investigates something in some random graveyard and is promptly killed by some undead thing.
4. Hellboy and Sara (what, no Liz Sherman?) turn up at the graveyard. Sara goes on ahead and Hellboy decides to check out stuff here. The entire area is minuscule, with one obvious exit. After checking two random doors I get inside a mausoleum and push some buttons that are on all graves these days. The big gate opens and I got through.
5. Incidentally, Hellboy sounds like Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince Of Bel-air.
6. As I walk through, hands burst from the ground; Zombies! The stand up and Hellboy punches them. Now, if you know a little about Hellboy youíll know he has a regular arm and hand and that his right hand is a massive stone fist that he uses to fuck up Nazi scientists and frogmen. Now what would you punch a zombie with? This game goes for the former and thereís not even a combo; just the same weightless jab that pushed the zombie back without actually harming the undead bastard, at least it seems. After about a dozen punches, I get tired of this and just decide to walk to the next gate.
7. Go through the gate. Thereís Sarah, telling me without moving her mouth that Peter is dead. Apparently, thereís a lot of blood about, which is a lie. Hellboy then proceeds to the only option available, an hourglass shaped save point. It saves with no hassle, which is a minor miracle at this point. From then itís into a shadowy church, inside which lurks some big, frigginí bird. Again itís with the punches. I die fairly slowly, but I resolve to try again with the gun. Again with no success.
8. I finish up and resolve never to play again.

In all honesty I donít get put off by games that I find frustrating at first; Iíll stick with them until I have at least a glimmer of reward (Pro Evo Soccer is the exception: every goal I score in that game still feels like a sympathy vote). Are there any good points to Hellboy: Asylum Seeker? Of course there is:

ē I didnít pay for it
ē The loading screens have genuine Mike Mignola Hellboy Artwork.
ē It does run on my PC

And thatís about it. Even if you find Hellboy: Asylum Seeker in the bargain bin, donít buy it please, even if youíre a fan. Buy the animated Hellboy adventures on DVD, that shitís much better. And pray to God that the forthcoming next-gen game will be semi-decent.
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About Alasdair Duncanone of us since 9:17 AM on 10.13.2007

Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, FPS and all kinds of games on the PC. Watch, as he adds more games to his Steam library with only the vaguest hope of ever playing most of his games.

Alasdair has been gaming since his mother bought a Commodore 64 back in the early 1980's. He adores Deus Ex, GTA Vice City, Team Fortress 2, Borderlands, Super Mario Brothers 3 and all those weird indie titles on Steam.

You can meet Alasdair at places like PAX where he tries to convince people he isn't a) drunk or b) Irish.

Plus he crave attention via the following:

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Objectivity: Are We All Just Fanboys
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