Many a game based on a movie or a comic has failed miserably.
Rushed and half-baked, it's clear right from the moment you boot up the game that 'Hellboy: The Science of Evil' is the poster child for a blatant attempt to cash-in on a critically acclaimed movie.
From the way below average visuals to the repetitive gameplay, there's almost nothing positive that stands out.
Not even the story is redeeming, feeling like it's just there for the sake of having one ? a backdrop for the laying to rest of the obligatory baddies.
The game's cut scenes are extremely shoddy and almost look like stop-motion video. One wonders whether this style was chosen in an attempt to capture a comic book atmosphere or simply due to laziness on the part of Red Ant Studios. And it doesn't even feature voice-overs! It's a wet blanket on the already soaked package, with the only positive thing being that you can skip them.
Seeing as the gameplay is not that great either (we'll get to that), the developers could at least have attempted to hide the poor gameplay behind great presentation.
Marketed as a game with adult themes, the enemies are supposed to be of the dark variety. But that gets lost among the bland, unimaginative character models (one could easily mistake this for a N64 or early PS2 title) and the same brown, green and red colour palette.
And don't hope that things will get better later on ? progressing through the game does not yield much change. If this was done in an attempt to create a depressing atmosphere, they succeeded.
If that's not bad enough, there are bugs all over. If the reason for having simple graphics was to devote more time to optimisation then that would have been acceptable, but unfortunately bugs are present en masse. From pop-up to graphical glitches, it's clear that 'Hellboy' was rushed.
Fog is another issue that plagues the game. In the few instances where you enter wide areas, the draw-distance becomes extremely short. While this is understandable on a game such as 'Grand Theft Auto' where there is a lot being rendered at a time, it's unacceptable for an action platformer that is bland to begin with.
While the combat is satisfying, the system is in need of tweaking. One expects an intricate and engaging combat system, but 'Hellboy's' is pretty basic. You don't require much skill other than button-bashing. And don't expect the bashing fun to last ? it soon gets very old. But, despite the lack of challenge using the combat system, it does allow one to dispatch foes with ease.
There is a decent inventory of weapons on hand ? often items lying around the stage can be used, such as rocks and broomsticks. In addition to the melee weapons, there is a variety of grenades for every situation. This is negated by the fact that there is no meter of sorts used to throw your grenades, with a fixed throwing distance being used instead. This would only be a small problem if one could control the camera, but unfortunately this is a large oversight too.
Though rated 16 and aiming for a mature audience, 'The Science of Evil' struggles to gain that identity, with the game playing out like a children's version of 'God of War'. This design decision will no doubt alienate both adults and children as the dark content and simplistic gameplay don't mesh well.
The AI in 'Hellboy' is not anything special, with the only tactic really being a bunch of enemies crowding in on you. It gets used very often, but eventually one learns that bashing and dodging away is a very effective answer to this tactic.
Multiplayer consists of your usual modes such as death match, but the real question is whether you'll find anybody to play against.
'Hellboy: The Science of Evil' is yet another example of what happens when a movie-based game is squeezed through a quick development period to cash in on its much better screen cousin. And in this case, I would not recommend renting, let alone buying it.