Last updated on August 9th, 2015
Video games are nowadays one of the most important products of the entertainment industry, ever since PONG, these kind of games have been a success. First by adding a certain level of interactivity in a “movie” so to speak, but it wasn’t long before video games began to govern the market and even outclass certain movies thanks to this interactivity between players and the game. However, with this kind of popularity, video games also received the downsides of movies. They had a limited budget and if the game was successful, more sequels would be made. If not, the game would’ve been probably locked in a vault and the key thrown in the ocean. Now, there were also some movies that were really good, however, they didn’t gain enough money to compensate for the budget, that’s when it’s sad. I see many good movies never see the light of day again because of their poor gains, the same goes for games. Many games like Okami and The Saboteur often received little attention because of nearly no advertising of the game. Instead that money was spent on the quality and polish of the game, in fact those games were great, too bad they were locked up soon after release. But one of those lost gems that interested me most was a game called killer7…
Killer7 is game like many others made by Suda51, (Ignore the name and move along please.) and is probably the game that improved his career. Without Killer7 we might have never even got games like No More Heroes and Shadows Of The Damned. Killer7 was also the game that Suda51 first released outside of Japan and while receiving its share of criticism. Its popularity allowed Suda to remake previous games and entirely new ones, but let’s start with Killer7. It’s is a unique game, in fact, it’s so unique I can’t even give a proper genre for it, but I guess It’s a hybrid between on rails shooting, adventure styled gameplay and tons of action. Naturally that all sounds good, but Killer7, in my opinion, was never about gameplay. You could consider it a “style over substance” game, but saying isn’t actually correct since it also underestimates the interesting gameplay mechanics. The setting is also unique. Killer7 takes place in an alternate future where world peace was achieved. However, in order to prevent terrorism governments all around the world removed the public use of the Internet and airplanes, instead we have giant highways to allow travel to other states. Despite these efforts a new terrorist group is born: The Heaven Smiles, a group of naked people who have bomb organs instead of kidneys, laugh a lot, are invisible and their main attack is to suicide bomb you.
Okay this is beginning to sound ridiculous isn’t it? Remember that this is a Suda51 game so please bear with me. Anyways the only person who can kill these Smiles is called Harman Smith, an old man who has a serious medical problem that allows him to transform into seven assassins at will. These killers are called the Killer7 by reporters, but in the Government they are most commonly known as The Smiths. This plot might look simple and uninteresting, but there is more to it. During the 7 Levels in the game, you can find certain items like carrier pigeons and ghosts that tell you more about the backstory and lore in the game. Not only is this storytelling mechanic interesting, but it allows for more interpretation of the story in the game, no interpretation will be the same, in my opinion, the plot is about Japan and U.S relations, but I won’t say too much or I’ll spoil it. But now I’ll start with the gameplay. In Killer7 you hold one button to move in preset paths, you have NO freedom in this game, you can only occasionally choose Hallway A instead of Hallway B but that’s it, you can’t explore that brown door near you because the game won’t give you the option to.
- Oh great and mystical door, what secrets do you hold?
But it’s not like this decision damaged the game in any sort of way. You can still have a blast by popping up Smiles full of lead and listening to the bits of dialogue hidden here and there. One of the most innovative ideas in Killer7 was the experience system. When you defeat enemies you gain two types of blood: Thin Blood and Thick Blood. Thin Blood you use to regenerate health and activate special abilities. Thick Blood you use as experience points. The thing is that you actually have to work in order to earn Thick Blood. You do that by dismembering enemy body parts or by hitting weak points on Smiles. You don’t have enough Thick Blood? You die, simple as that. This game is also brutally hard. Even on Normal Mode, it takes only two to three hits from enemies (Or explosions) to kill one of your seven personas, luckily it’s not Game Over yet as you can choose a unique persona called Garcian Smith who can revive personas by cutting off their heads and stuffing them in his suitcase. This is not a risk-free tactic though, Garcian has a weak pistol with only five bullets per magazine and his above than average health doesn’t make up for it. also if he dies it’s really Game Over and you need to restart from your previous save point.
- Shoot the weakpoints or suffer a painful death.
Killer7 also has some excellent sound tracks; it’s a mixed bag full of electronic tracks, jazz and more interesting tunes. Killer7 in the end is a cult classic in my opinion, it is often judged as a mere on the rails shooter and accused of improving style more than substance, but I think that Suda51 found a perfect balance between gameplay, plot, character development and style. It’s a pity that this beautiful game will be locked in the vault of Capcom, never to be touched again, but while I loved the game, I don’t think it really needs a sequel. I’d still love to see it untouched and left as one of the greatest works of art in gaming.
- Thank you for reading this article! Now DDDIIIEEE!!!