For a movie tie-in, Clash Of The Titans is a much more ambitious proposition than it may first appear to be. Despite taking a form that could never be described as unusual (what with its familiar duo of standardised core gameplay influences in God Of War and Devil May Cry) the way that it goes about paying homage is, for better or for worse, rather unorthodox. Considering the fact that it is a tie-in, and was clearly developed with a stressful studio deadline hanging above its development team, it’s a bit of a surprise to observe that the thing isn’t completely unplayable. The more time that you spend with it the more potent its bullheaded devotion to going its own way becomes, and serves to make it easily recommendable to a younger, and perhaps more undemanding, audience.
Fans of the recent film will certainly get the most out of it, as aside from a few side missions that deviate, it follows the movie’s plot almost to the note. However, some of its pleasures are distinctly tied to how old-fashioned it is, an actuality that makes it destined to polarize. When you’re wandering around one of the game’s hub worlds it doesn’t autosave, and you’ll have to approach a robotic barn owl to ensure that your progress is recorded. It also doesn’t look great – and the arid blankness of some of the detail-free environments (obviously a result of the inflexible development schedule) are reminiscent of a prior gaming age. This retro haze actually serves to remind you of the original 1981 version of Clash Of The Titans rather than the remake; a film that was dated even before its own release.
This oddball charm extends way beyond the visuals and gameplay, as the voice-acting is universally stilted into absolute oblivion by a cast of voice actors who are, shall we say, less than gifted. However, the pedigree of the development team behind it is nothing to be sniffed at. Game Republic is headed up by its founder Yoshiki Okomato, who was heavily involved in the creation of the original Resident Evil game whilst he was employed at Capcom, and is seen in Japan as the true father of the original Street Fighter II. Clash Of The Titans barely deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two – it doesn’t break a single solitary videogame convention for one thing – but it doesn’t shame them either.
There are a few segments of reasonably sharp platforming action to be had along the way, but the bulk of the game is made up of lucid combat, which although simplified to allow for a total of two root attack buttons, is actually surprisingly complex. In addition to the light and heavy strikes, you’re encouraged to perform a selection of context-sensitive ‘Seize’ moves, which can involve poaching weapons or extracting the game’s currency of ‘Soul’ from surrounding or downed enemies. Soul is used to reinforce the sub-weapons that you swindle from the more prudent enemies, which are in turn used to break rocks to earn collectibles or open up entirely new areas.
The inclusion of co-op play is a very nice addition (particularly in an action games like this, as they’re seemingly never optimised for co-op) and the duration of the campaign is neither excessive nor slender – it’s just right. Clash Of The Titans is dense, disposable and completely derivative to be sure, but also mildly entertaining, and is most aptly prescribed to younger gamers who aren’t yet old enough to sample the full-strength adult cocktails of God Of War or Darksiders.
Watch the Clash Of The Titans trailer…