Let's face it, most reality TV sucks. If there's one thing that would interest me in likes of Big Brother, it would be a mass load of zombies (see Dead Set if you want to know what I mean). Add in a large dose of The Running Man and you get Cryo's 2000 action game The Devil Inside.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Cryo Interactive. Their games are often impressive to look at with interesting premises but for every great game they release, there's more that are close to unplayable. The Devil Inside thankfully is not one of them, perhaps in part to sharing some talent with Alone in the Dark. It is a very fun third-person shooter with a B-movie sensibility and tons of pixelated gore.
You are Dave, demon hunter and star of the "hippest reality show on the entire west coast". An evil mass-murderer who was executed the year before has escaped from hell, taking many cursed souls with him. He's taken refuge in a Hollywood mansion with a spooky reputation named Shadow Gate, which just so happens to be perfect for your ratings. Send them all back to hell in the most entertaining of ways to keep the show on the air.
You're not alone in your quest to entertain. Back in the safety of the studio is the host, Jack T. Ripper, who will keep you updated with how satiated the crowd is. A cameraman will stick close to you to capture everything, no matter the danger. At certain moments you can even summon the game's namesake, Deva. She is a powerful devil residing inside of you (see what they did there) whose magic abilities cause extra devastation. She's also a massive crowd pleaser.
The first thing you'd want to do when you boot the game up is change the controls. The default keyboard config is awkward as all hell with movement and strafing being at opposite ends. Factor in the use of a mouse and this setup requires three hands to use effectively. I simply changed it to the modern standard of WASD movement and most issues disappeared.
I say 'most' for a reason. If there is one major negative that cannot be fixed it's in the aiming of your gun. I found the mouse to be a little too twitchy, even on lower sensitivity settings. It not so bad as to break the game, but it does invite some frustrating moments. There is a red laser to see where you're aiming, but finding it in the first place is difficult particularly in the outside sections. Not all weapons require the pointer though. There are several close-range weapons such as a buzz-saw which unleash some beautifully gory kills.
Enemies are re-used often throughout the game, but what is there is great. They range from your basic shuffling zombie, a crawling deadite severed at the waist to a little old lady hunched over a walking stick. All of them react differently depending on where you hit them. You can shoot off limbs, heads or even blast massive holes in their torsos. Once their dispatched the burst into flames which is harmful to both you and other enemies. It's a useful tactic to target one enemy and lure the rest into the flames to conserve ammo.
Sometimes the police will help out but they're not exactly LAPD's finest. Your not penalised if one of them bites the dust. The biggest assistance you'll receive is from the devil inside of you, mainly because you control her directly. She also has the ability to collect the souls from her dispatches foes in a similar way to the Soul Reaver games. She is working in direct cahoots with Beelzebub himself who's a little angry that so many souls have escaped his domain.
As is standard for most Cryo games, the graphics are pretty good. The odd use of sprites for plantation prove its age, but this is mostly noticable in the exteriors. Go inside the mansion and everything stills looks pretty stunning. The support for high resolutions not too common at the time helps.
The Devil Inside is simply a fun experience. It's not to deep but the dark satire and extreme zombie gore (not to mention the occasional nudity) make for a show that I'd definitely tune into.
To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber will run natively on modern systems. Tested on Windows 7.
The Devil Inside is © Cryo Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me