hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: Dementium: The Ward

3:01 PM on 10.31.2007 // Colette Bennett

Yesterday was a grand day. I got a little brown box delivered to my door. Looking at the label, I noticed the Gamecock logo and squealed with glee. This could only mean one thing: My much-anticipated copy of Dementium: The Ward had arrived. I quickly wrapped up my work for the day, settled onto my sofa with cat and headphones, turned out the lights and prepared to immerse myself.

Before I begin my review I have to stress something for the readers: Playing this game without headphones is a crime. I played it for a few minutes without just to get a feel for it, and I can say with all surety that this title can only be experienced fully with your ears plugged directly into all the amazing detail of sound within. One of the most effective things a game can do is take you completely out of the world around you. By using sound and music to perfection, Dementium does just that.

Hit the jump for the full review. 

Dementium: The Ward (DS)
Developed by Renegade Kid/Distributed by Gamecock
Released October 29th, 2007 

So in case you haven't been scrutinizing every news tidbit about this game as I have, I'll give you the lowdown. You awaken in a deserted hospital with no recollection of why you are there and very little memory of who you are, and must explore the darkened hallways for clues about what's happened. Sound familiar? If you're a horror game junkie, you've already fought foul nurses in Silent Hill's Brookhaven hospital, so you should be right at home in this setting. As excited as I was to play Dementium, my inner skeptic couldn't help but put her two cents in: Would a horror FPS work on the DS? Why would I play this over a Silent Hill title? Can the DS handle the graphics?

While Gamecock is distributing this title, it was actually created by Renegade Kid, an indie company formed by industry veterans Gregg Hargrove and Jools Watsham. They've been making games for over 14 years, but Dementium is their first independent offering. Cheerleaders of the indie innovators, will you please stand up? This one is for you, and by you I also mean me. (Clears throat and shakes bloody pom poms for emphasis.)

The controls for this game are an absolute pleasure. You use the stylus to look around (FPS point-of-view) and the D-pad to move. Shoulder buttons allow you to flip through weapons (sadly, there are only a few to be had in Dementium) and attack your foes. Character movement is fluid and is considerably more pleasant than the famous "difficult to control" characters of many major survival horror titles before it.  Luckily, you can use the nightstick as a way to defend yourself from the undead without using ammo -- there's lots to be had at first, but as you progress, both it and health become more of a challenge to find.

You might be busy bashing baddies, but regardless the sound and music in Dementium will surely catch your ear. As soon as I plugged in my headphones and got to playing, all my doubts about compelling horror on a portable platform were gently quelled. While the limits of the DS don't go unnoticed in Dementium, they are easily forgiven in favor of intensely atmospheric sound. Each slither and gutteral gurgle is crisply realized, and the soundtrack has a sense of minimal appeal that really sets the tone, leaving you with a feeling of melancholy disconnection from the real world. 

Speaking of enemies, it's been ages since I had a real reaction to an enemy in a horror game. They tend to be pretty generic, whether it's a stumbling zombie or a headless beast groping at you. Encountering the maggot-like creatures of Dementium actually made me curl my lips away from my teeth in disgust, and for this horror veteran, that's a real feat. The sounds they make are terrible, and even mulltiple encounters with them didn't reduce my revolted reactions. A word of warning: The bosses start hard and get harder. I know that's the way the structure is supposed to go, but you'll see what I mean after the first boss wipes the floor with you five times.

One of my few complaints about Dementium is the way the save feature functions. The game's story is split into chapters, and the game allows you to save at the start of each chapter. The chapters are fairly short, but after completing several tasks and trekking halfway across the hospital only to be murdered by a disembodied flying head, you are forced to start again at the beginning of the chapter. A few deaths later, I was frustrated enough to have to take a break from play until the next day. It would have been nice to save your progress a little more often, although fans of old school titles may actually enjoy the retro taste of the save structure.

Overall the game is a pleasing experience and should delight fans of horror, FPS or quirky indies. There's nothing like Dementium for the DS out there, and for me personally it's always a thrill to see the first game of its kind for a portable make a debut. These are the types of titles that we remember years later as benchmarks, and I think Dementium: The Ward surely has a crack at that status. Don't forget to play it in the dark!

Score: 8.5/10

Verdict: Buy it! 

Photo Gallery: (3 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Colette Bennett,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7bzKWOeSVn4[/youtube]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -