Bullet Witch Review
ďThatís great, it starts with an earthquakeÖĒ The end of the world as envisioned by REM is also the start of the apocalypse in Bullet Witch. From a large earthquake on the West Coast we move on to a Middle East war, a plague which turns its victims into homicidal maniacs, and finally to a demonic invasion led by an army of zombies with very bad aim. Iím not one of those gamers who feel that the story is a big part of what makes or breaks a game, but I think itís nice if the story at least makes a smidgeon of sense. The demonic zombiesí unexplained appearance is just as odd as that of the gameís protagonist, the titular Bullet Witch. The Bullet witch dresses like a dominatrix, possesses amazing magical powers, walks around with a completely impractical and unwieldy broom-shaped gun, and has taken it upon herself to gun down every last zombie thatís now walking the Earth. All of the disbelief that must stand suspended in the wake of this set-up could be borne by some killer underlying gameplay Ė after all, itís all about the gameplay as far as Iím concerned. Unfortunately, the gameplay has its own host of problems to deal with and isnít a lick of help in propping up the ludicrous story.
The problems begin with controls. First of all, the broom gun is ridiculous. It takes Alicia (the Bullet Witch) a long time to pull it off of her back and get it into position to fire, and she has an annoying habit of putting away the gun after a couple of seconds if you donít fire it constantly. You can aim the gun in a zoomed view for greater accuracy, but the zoom literally zooms things in by only a couple of feet. And then you have the aiming reticule which turns red when you have an enemy in your sights even though this is no guarantee that your bullets will actually hit the target. Bullets regularly miss their mark thanks to very spotty collision detection that also lets you survive explosions right in front of your face and kills you instantly when something explodes down the street. Itís all pretty random and pretty darn frustrating.
The spell system suffers from its own set of interface issues. To cast a spell you must first bring up a spell ring with one of the bumper buttons and then hit a button corresponding to the spell that you want to cast. Since there are only four buttons on the controller but more than four spells in the game, you may have to cycle the bumper a few times until you see the ring that has the desired spell on it. While youíre doing all of this menu browsing the action around you continues, so itís quite possible that youíll take a lot of damage while looking for your spell. Since youíll generally want to cast your spells while in combat this is a real problem Ė so much so that itís easier to just eschew the whole magic side of the game and rely on your big broom gun. Sometimes youíll just have to use one of your powerful spells to take out a big target, though, and this leads to another problem. Take the lightning spell as an example. You need to aim this spell at a target and pull the trigger to unleash it. You then get to watch some cool effects and your target explode into flames. The problem is that if you move before launching the spell it gets cancelled. This forces you to stand out in the open while making your way to the third spell ring, selecting the spell, lining it up, and then pulling the trigger. Doing this while trying to face a tank is brutally frustrating, to say the least.