Developer: Renegade Kid
by: Nick Puleo
While horror movies have been around for ages, and in the past decade have had quite the resurgence, horror games rarely are able to give people the jump and scare that the movies are able to. Still many people find the thrill of the survival horror genre an admirable experience and while the handheld platform isn't exactly known for numerous horror titles, the original Dementium did a decent job for fans of the genre despite some quirks.
Dementium II looks to fix many of the things that plagued the first game - respawning enemies, a poor save system, and other numerous problems. Good news is D2 has a brand new save system along with checkpoints fixing the biggest gripe most had with the original. Difficulty was something else that turned people off in the original game, no longer do enemies randomly respawn when you backtrack easing that up. Despite being a sequel, D2 starts you with a fresh character strapped to a gurney in a psych ward at a hospital. Suddenly your reality is warped and you find yourself in a horrific pseudo-reality with monsters, torture, and a plenty of gore. You'll switch back and forth between the normal world and this demented world throughout the game, making you question your character's sanity.
Gameplay is a straight forward shooter, though ammo is always something you need more of. While the game offers 10 weapons, some require two hands - and on levels that are pitch black you'll need to decide if you'll give up the power of a two handed weapon for a flashlight and a single handed one. Each of the game's levels are capped off by a large boss encounter, one you'll want to conserve your ammo for.
But is Dementium II scary? Hard to say. Some of the audio effects, especially with headphones on, are quite creepy. Enemies giggle maniachly at you at times, and careful use of echo effects make you wonder if you're in the room alone or not. Still there was very few "jump" moments I found in the game. Graphically the game looks great, especially for a handheld title, with silky smooth frame rates and rarely a hiccup. Sure the gore was pixelated, and the enemies were a bit blocky, but it got the point across.
The full ride should take you about 5 hours to complete and there's a nice variety in the levels - snowy open areas and tight corridors are just some. I found i only wanted to play the game in small bursts, perhaps exactly what the handheld version of a game like this is designed for - and thanks to the fixed save points this worked perfectly. Dementium 2 won't win any horror film awards, but you still may find yourself sleeping with one eye open after a late night session with the game.