May 3, 2007

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Bullet Witch (360)
Cavia, 2007
By Glenn Given production@hippopress.com

Is your average third-person shooter not quite goth enough? Then Bullet Witch is the action title for you. Strike that, Bullet Witch is for nobody because Bullet Witch is stupid.

If Bullet Witch has one thing going for it, itís that things blow up all purty when they get in Aliciaís (your overly sexualized goth mistress) way. Ichor splashes from enemies with abandon, barrel upon barrel of explosives are strewn about the city for your hail of fire to ignite and, oh, lookie, somebody parked a tanker full of gasoline right next to that mob of monsters.

But the boom doesnít stop there. In time youíre bringing massive scaffodlings down in cataclysmic crashes, summoning meteors to Armageddon your foes and whipping up tornadoes to whirl baddies over the rainbow (and by over the rainbow I mean into a wall of bullets). When youíre not hexing geists (evil spirits who have possesed bystanders) with your decidendly non-wiccan spellcraft, youíre blowing holes through them with a broom. Yes, thatís right, your broom is also a gun! Get it? Broom that turns into a gun? Bullet. Witch. Bullet Witch. GET IT?!? Actually your broom is a collection of guns, a broom shotgun, a broom machine gun, a broom sniper rifle and a broom Gatling gun (which, correct me if Iím mistaken, but isnít that really just another machine gun?).

And here is where everything goes downhill (Iím sure you thought that we were already at rock bottom what with the broom/gun thing). See, shooting in Bullet Witch is frustratingly hard. There is a criminal lack of target lock making any attempt at aiming a herky jerky affair. This is made even more obnoxious when you are tasked with protecting NPCs who wander moronically in and out of your field of fire. Enemies will often clip through walls and corners, making your tactical maneuvers fruitless, which doesnít really matter much anyway considering how decidedly sluggish you are. Since you will spend most of the sprawling levels walking forward with broom-gun ripping full bore you wonít often try to dodge. Even when you do attempt an acrobatic side-step, you will find that its effectiveness is negligible as throttling back on the firepower is a poor strategy. And did I mention the lifelong companion of third-person action games, poor camera control, also gets a healthy amount of screen time here? Mmmm, oh yeah, who doesnít love being shot by impossible-to-see off-screen opponents? I know I donít.

Somebody got paid to make this and if the gaming public is stupid enough to buy Bullet Witch then those people will be paid to make Bullet Witch 2. Break the cycle of sucking. D ó Glenn Given