Gather ’round, ghouls and boys. Extreme Exorcism is an 8-bit ghost-busting arcade adventure that tests your ability to exorcise (rid) pesky ghosts from a haunted mansion. And with Halloween just weeks away, now might be the perfect time to brush up on your skills, or hone them further. If ghosts frighten to you, please move along. Otherwise, continue reading to learn how Extreme Exorcism puts you in the shoes of a badass ghost hunter.
A typical exorcist may rely on a combination of things such as bells, candles, or books to help them draw out evil spirits. Extreme Exorcism takes things to the next level. Instead of using random objects, you’re given access to 20 no-nonsense weapons — each unlockable as your kill count increases — to perform exorcism duties. That’s what you call making your presence known. Weapons range from simple single-shot pistols to hard-hitting shotguns to blazing fireballs, and spawn randomly throughout different areas of each stage. My favorite was the handgun that fired massive bullets across the screen, as shown below; it’s a bit slow, but it sure gets the job done for those who can master its prowess.
Just because you have a big arsenal of weapons at your disposal doesn’t mean your exorcism duties will be easy, however. At the start of each game, you’ll choose to play as one of four exorcists: Mae or Sylvia Barrons, Ace Blade, and Mikoto Itako. Your goal for each level is to take out the Crown Ghost — the ghost that wears a jeweled crown atop its head. Once you do, a new round starts and all the weapons reset. And with each new round, the difficulty increases as normal ghosts join in on the action. All ghosts are green, so it’s sometimes difficult to figure out where the Crown Ghost is mixed in among the others. Each exorcist can equip up to three weapons at once, with all three firing at once, too.
As each round resets, ghosts mirror every move you made during the previous round. This is where the challenge comes in: If you go ballistic with weapons, you’ll find yourself dodging your own firepower on the next round when the ghosts mimic your previous actions. You only have three Hearts to achieve a minimum score to unlock the next level, so while rounds aren’t timed, Extreme Exorcism quickly becomes a game of strategy, quick reflexes, and some luck. Crown Ghosts will net you ten points, while normal ghosts are worth one point. Depending on how quick you are, it’s entirely possible to take out the Crown Ghost within a second or two after each level resets.
In Arcade mode, nine spooky rooms — each themed after a library, bedroom, kitchen, attic, etc. — await your arrival with five levels each. Design varies enough to keep things interesting and later areas introduce wind, fire, and ice mechanics that add to the fun and challenge. The final room, the Alter, is where you go toe-to-toe with a massive demonic beast. Afraid to confront evil alone? Extreme Exorcism supports 4-player local co-op gameplay. In addition, up to four friends can compete against one another in a local Deathmatch mode or solo exorcists looking for additional replay value can participate in 50 challenge levels — each with specific rule sets and difficulty. When the game launches on Thursday, it will incorporate online leaderboards, according to the developer.
If you’re looking for a fun retro-styled arcade game that sends you on a ghost hunting spree with plenty of high-powered weapons, and offers you a decent amount of content, Extreme Exorcism might be up your alley. It took me roughly three hours to complete all 46 main levels and the first ten of fifty challenges. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to bustin’ ghosts any time soon, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the game. It was entertaining and I always found myself with the Wii U GamePad clutched between my hands shortly after putting it down for a rest.
Extreme Exorcism, originally developed by Golden Ruby Games, is ported and published by Ripstone Games. It launched in the North American and European Wii U eShops on September 23, 2015 for $12.99 and £9.99, respectively.
Review copy provided by Ripstone Games