Originally released on the standard DS in 20XX, Dementium was unusual for its time; a first person horror game on the DS! It was quite the cult classic from cult classic specialists Renegade Kids and now here it is spruced up with a few tweaks and nicer visuals ready to download on your 3DS.
As it’s a horror game, you’re dumped into a hospital completely defenceless without much in the way of explanation. Terrible things have happened. Blood and ruin dominate your surroundings and eerie groans of nasties aren’t far away. Fortunately you begin to pick up weapons and tools rather quickly. First is the flashlight which you’ll be using most of the time since the areas are pitch black. Not long after you’ll pick up truncheon, a pistol, a shotgun and quite a few more later on. Naturally these are weapons to take out the numerous monstrosities that plague the hospital. One of the scariest aspects of the game is the combat because in order to fight off the enemies you need to switch out your flashlight for your weapon and as a result you need to fight in almost complete darkness. It’s tense. Even with your handgun and shotgun, you need to fight in close quarters because you can’t see too far in the darkness.
Whether it’s intentional or not, the combat is actually quite clunky especially with the early melee weapon you acquire. Swinging to attack always feels rather weightless and you don’t really know if it will connect or not because the hit detection feels quite off. Judging the distance of where to attack from is quite difficult because if you leave it too late you will take damage. I often found myself taking damage almost at every encounter which was a little annoying, especially near the end game. I could have used guns but one of my biggest fears of horror games is running out of ammunition before I need it the most. My advice is don’t worry about it. Ammunition is plentiful, as are pills to restore your health. On the normal setting the game is almost apologetically generous with its supplies, which as a coward, I’m not complaining about. Dementium has different difficulty settings for you to choose if you want more of a challenge.
Enemies vary up nicely as you progress through the chapters of the game. You begin just warding off your standard zombie type enemies that will shuffle towards you. You’ll soon come across more creatures such as big ugly worms, screeching medusa heads, venom-spitting crawlers and more. One issue is that some enemies are such a pain to kill, especially the smaller ones where your accuracy needs to be spot on. This is where the clunky combat rears its head again and to be honest, I just ran past a lot of them. It was less painful.
You’ll even run into some boss battles every now and again. Thanks to the already awkward combat, boss battles are by far and away the most difficult thing in the game. If you beat a boss on your first try you’ll get a pat on the back and a thumbs up from me. Bosses are faster, more persistent and a lot more difficult to avoid than the standard enemies you’ll be used to facing so it may take you a few tries. I actually liked the boss battles despite the spike in difficulty. They add welcome variety to the standard gameplay, even if they can be a little frustrating.
While the combat is awkward I actually really loved the exploring parts. You move in a very horror-esque way, but it feels natural. You walk with the circle pad and you aim with the stylus or the face buttons on the standard 3DS. I initially used the stylus as I thought it gave me more precision, but once I realised this game was compatible with the ‘New’ 3DS (and Circle Pad Pro) I tried with the dual sticks and it worked a treat.
The game isn’t just about mowing down enemies though. As a survival horror game you’ll be tasked with solving a few simple puzzles here and there, usually involving collecting keys or finding passcodes. It’s actually these slower moments that I appreciated the most, although I did feel there was a little too much backtracking which isn’t helped by the scenery.
The game does look fairly nice for a 3DS game but the locations often reuse assets so at times different locations look exactly the same and it’s pretty easy to be lost. It’s a hospital, so it’s understandable that there’d be uniformity to the building, but it doesn’t make for an interesting gaming locale. It’s only a minor complaint though.
I found the plot of the game to be very vague. There’s no real indication of what’s going on here, at least which I could find. There seems to be a creepy little girl you’re chasing after, as well as trying to survive and the bosses just appear out of nowhere, they don’t really have anything to do with the plot. I wasn’t expecting a fleshed out plot with over arching subplots or anything, but just something to keep you going aside the will to survive.
The music is nicely done, it’s very simple and atmospheric for the most part and at times genuinely creepy. I think certain environmental noises and enemy screeches, are a little too loud and often annoying rather than adding anything to the game.
Overall, Dementium Remastered is an enjoyable survival horror game. From what I’ve heard of the original, this one has ironed out a lot of the creases although there are still a fair few present that prevent it from being a must have title. I don’t see a lot of room for replayability and it’s not a long game at all so I think the current asking price is a little too much for some people, but I do recommend it if the price is okay for you.
– Lots of atmosphere
– Puzzles are simple but nice
– Repeated environments
– Hit detection can be frustrating, especially near the end