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Larva Mortus

Score: 60%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Meridian4
Developer: Rake in Grass
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

Larva Mortus is an overhead point-and-click game with a cheesy horror movie theme. It really doesn't claim to be much more than this so it's difficult to criticize.

With the top down view, it can be difficult to tell what some of the monsters are supposed to be. Bats are pretty straight forward, but some of the zombie or skeleton creatures are a little difficult to make out. You probably won't care about this too much with the pace of the game. All the same, don't expect spectacular end-bosses or intricate level design. Still, there are some pretty decent fire and smoke cloud effects. There's also the strange random effect of a large face or a ghostly pair of eyes coming straight out of the screen toward you. I guess this is supposed to keep the player jumpy, but it just feels really weird.

Larva Mortus is infused with a bit of artwork during its sparse cut scenes. These are short scenes with animation that usually amounts to no more than a slow zoom on a dark and dreary scene. Again, it's nothing compelling. Music and other sound effects are equally cheesy and generic, though the repetitive death cries of enemies can be satisfying on some level. The story is the most basic pared down elements of the horror genre as well: treasure hunters find an artifact of some evil portent, end up with curse, monsters arise, etc.


Gameplay:

Larva Mortus sets you in the steps of a generic monster hunter who hunts very generic monsters. There are a lot of unsurprising, but satisfying weapons as well. You've got revolvers, shotguns, gatling guns, and even the traditional broadsword if you wish.

Aside from its lack of originality (or perhaps because it sticks to well-worn concepts), Larva Mortus is a pretty addictive and fun little game for a little while. Rooms get filled with various bugs and monsters and you mow them down in whatever style you enjoy most. In fact, it's not very hard to use the basic sword weapon exclusively if you really want to. Of course, this speaks to the level of thought required to play.

Occasionally, some different goals are thrown in. There are regular people trapped in some of the dungeons that you must rescue. You rescue them simply by running over them. Some dungeons have set numbers of special enemies you have to dispatch (though chances are you'll just "accidentally" kill these guys along with the rest of the enemy crowd before you realize it). Other than that, there's nothing else going on here. There's no multiplayer, no real strategy beyond "circle and shoot," and no other major draws.


Difficulty:

Even at its highest difficulty, Larva Mortus is pretty manageable. If you take your eyes off the screen, sure, you're a puddle of blood. But it's relatively easy to dodge the dozens of enemies and their projectiles if you're just paying attention.

There are even some power-ups you can obtain to make things easier. There's a fast walk power-up to speed up your movement, armor, and health. Add this to the fact that you can also level up your character's stats and there's really not much to keep you on edge here. This is more akin to an addictive causal game than a difficult shoot-em-up.

One thing that would probably make Larva Mortus more difficult would be a higher number of enemies on screen. It's not that there aren't many now, but it never seems overwhelming. A good circle and shoot pattern will usually be all you need to manage the crowds here, but putting more enemies on the screen would probably mean a need to tweak level design beyond the small square rooms that make it up now.


Game Mechanics:

Larva Mortus is played with keyboard and mouse. Movement is controlled with the keyboard and aiming and shooting is controlled with the mouse. Aside from weapon selection with the keyboard, that's pretty much as simple as you can get. The classic controls work, and Larva Mortus plays as smooth as you could imagine.

There was a graphical glitch that wouldn't allow the game to be played on dual monitors. At least, I had to disable my second monitor before the graphics would display in an ungarbled format. Unfortunately, time spent on the developer forum couldn't solve it. But once the game was running, there were no real problems with the graphics.

You can't go into this game expecting complexity. It's got a classic arcade game feel: it's simple, and it's addictive. But you're going to get pretty much the entire game within about 5 minutes of play. Since there's no real pull to keep you coming back to this game, it would be wise to find a demo, even before you make this small of a purchase.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows XP/Vista, Processor: 1.5 GHz Processor, Memory: 256 MB RAM, Graphics: DirectX Compatible 128MB Graphics Card, DirectX(r): 9.0c, Hard Drive: 55 MB of Available Hard Disk Space, Sound: DirectX Compatible Audio Card
 

Test System:



Windows XP, 3.20 GigaHertz Intel Pentium 4, 1 GB Ram, RADEON X850, Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS

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