Dementium: The Ward

Now this is a turn up for the books – a gory first person shooter for the DS, which is not only impressive to look at, but doesn’t play too badly either, with valid comparisons to Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Manhunt. The US version was let down by a sloppy save system and limited ammo – enemies respawn, annoyingly – but both these faults have been fixed for us Europeans, which almost makes up for the year we’ve had to wait.

As the name of the game suggests, the mysterious lead character has to navigate and escape from a twisted medical ward. At the start you’re only armed with a flashlight and a nightstick, but later guns – pistols and shotguns – become available. There’s also a notebook where you can jot down clues and passwords to unlock electrically sealed doors. It’s a shame that you can’t scribble over the maps to note where items of interest are, although the environments have intentionally been given stand out features so you don’t end up running around in circles. The only other gripes I have are minor, like there being too many locked doors and the inability to pick up and carry health packs.

The controls work well – aiming is done on the touch screen while the L trigger is used to shoot and switch the flashlight on and off. It’s not only the visuals that impress, but the satanic sound effects too – rain and thunder pelt down outside while the distressing cries for help echo through the hallways. For a slice of handheld horror, this is hard to beat. Particularly on the DS, where the only real alternative is the ancient Resident Evil: Deadily Silence. Or Imagine: Babies.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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