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Intro & Characters

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Analysis

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by Kurt Kalata - 2005

Killer7 (キラー7) - GameCube, PlayStation 2 (2005)

Japanese GameCube Cover

American GameCube Cover

European PlayStation 2 Cover

Japanese PlayStation 2 Cover

One of the standout moments in Killer7 is the gateway that leads you into a boss battle. The room is a simple, straight line with only two doors, a set of stairs, and a few lights on the ceiling. As you can see in the picture on the right, it's not exactly a particularly exciting room. It is, however, a delightful optical illusion - are you running through a narrow corridor, encased by brown walls? Or are you running on top of a platform floating over a gigantic brown abyss? The music is a pulse-pounding rave that would sound more at home in a Mega Man game. Like most dance music, it serves the purpose of getting you pumped up for a big battle, but it clashes stylistically with the rest of the soundtrack. On several levels, the music is telling you that something unexpected and amazing and really fucked up is about to happen.

And all of this is a tiny, tiny room.

From a gameplay perspective, you do nothing in this room. There are no bad guys to shoot, no puzzles to solve, no mazes to navigate. You hold down the "A" button (or whatever button it is in the PS2 port), you sit back and watch your character walk down the stairs, then you exit. It's easy to scoff at these segments are pure show, crazy bits thrown in for the sole purpose of being crazy.

Which is, for all intents and purposes, the same criticism leveled towards the entire game.

Killer7 (GameCube)

There hasn't been any game in recent memory that has inspired such mixed reactions. Capcom, along with producer Shinji Mikami and director Goichi Suda (codename: Suda 51) have crafted a strange love-it-or-hate-it game. I'm not going to bother sifting through various media sites and trying to give quotes as to why Killer7 is so drastically hated upon, but the game is simply persecuted as a case of "style over subtance." That isn't entirely inaccurate, but at the same time, it misses the point - it seems to suggest that the game is all about being showy and ignoring the gameplay.

Obviously, one of the big draws of Killer7 when it was announced was the graphics. All of the characters have intentionally low-polygon models - we're not talking Virtua Fighter here, but certainly not too detailed - but instead makes incredible use of shadows. It's easy to pick out the triangles in their faces, but the overall aesthetic creates a deliciously moody atmosphere. Even more impressive are backgrounds. While also simplistic in design, Killer7 bans all texture maps from its world and instead uses some creative shading to pull off some incredibly cool effects, most of which involve some gorgeous juxtaposition of colors. But it's really the characters - or, personalities, as it were - that make the game.

Characters

Harman Smith

Harman is the leader of the Killer7. Although he carries an extraordinarily powerful sniper cannon, he's bound to a wheelchair, and thus doesn't see much combat. He's been at odds with Kun Lun for decades.

Garcian Smith

Garcian is the only personality that's really seen by the outside world. He rarely goes out into battle though - whenever a character is killed, you send Garcian into the field to retrive their head and resurrect them. If Gardian is killed, it's Game Over.
Quote: "I told you, I'm a cleaner. I feel no remorse for seeing dead bodies. To me, it's just cold, rotting flesh."

Dan Smith

Dan is one of the most badass personalities, a brutal killer who wields a revolver and isn't afraid to use it.
Quote: "I feel my blood rushing through my body. Yes, this is it. The feeling, it's coming back to me. The sensation of killing. The doom and darkness. The dark streets. They're CALLING me. Calling me to the ultimate ring!"

KAEDE Smith

The only female member of the Killer7, Kaede runs around barefoot in that fancy, bloodstained dress. She has a sniper rifle, and can break down hidden barriers by slitting her wrists.
Quote: "I've changed my makeup. Did you notice?.....ah, men. They never notice...these kinds of things..."

Con Smith

Con is a fast, little blind kid. His sensort powers can detect hidden passageways, and he's the only member that can crawl into small spaces. Con is the fastest member of the team, and wields dual pistols.
Quote: "Fuck you!!"

Coyote Smith

Coyote is, as Sadler from RE4 would say, "small time", a petty thief who wears garish Hawaiian shirts while breaking locks. He's almost as fast as Con though, and reasonably powerful.
Quote: "You're fucked!"

Mask de Smith

Mask is a gigantic Mexican wrestler who never quite made it big. A big teddy bear at heart, he attacks with two grenade launchers, and can suplex barries into submission. His costume is upgradeable throughout the game.
Quote: "Yeah. I'll just set them on fire. Piece of cake."

Kevin Smith

Kevin is a mystery - he doesn't speak, he just throws knives. He can also turn invisible to avoid confrontations or bypass security systems.

Killer7 scores post-modern points for being weird, and it's really the supporting cast that drives this home further.

Iwazaru

His full name is "Wenzel Dil Boris the VIIth Iwazarskoff", and he's one of your best allies. Iwazaru is a funny little man, a stifled worrywort who's always looking out for his dear master in spite of his concerns. Rarely does he say anything useful however.
Quote: "In the name of Harman..."

Travis

Travis is the ghost of the first person Harman killed, and is oddly sympathetic towards his endeavors. Travis explains (or, attempts to explain) much of the plot. You'll often find him lounging around, wearing a variety of muscle shirts with odd slogans.

Yoon-Hyun

Yoon-Hyun was the original informant of the Killer7, until he was killed. Now he appears as a spirit during the missions like Travis. He is very polite, but only gives cryptic hints for the puzzles in the game - until the player shoots his mask, which then latches onto his face and makes him give more concrete advice. The drawback is that it consumes a ration of Thick Blood and turns him into a rude guy who gives the Smiths the finger with both hands and keeps insulting them every other sentence.
Quote: "I sell information, yes?"

Ayame Blackburn

Somehow related to the assassin Curtis Blackburn, Ayame is an anime schoolgirl who announces her attack with a magical girl display before breaking out her assault weapons and riddling your body with bullets.

Kun Lan

Kun Lan is established as the major bad guy, although that isn't quite the case. The leader of the Heaven Smiles, Kun Lan displays crazy supernatural powers - when you first meet him, he catches a bullet and rides it to the top of the Seattle Space Needle.

Samantha

There appears to be two Samanthas - a quiet, kindly maid who saves your game, and a crazy bipolar bitch who smacks Harman around before riding his handicapped pony.

Andrei Ulmeyda

A crazy Texan who starts his own cult and challenges the Smiths to a duel. In order to meet him, you'll need to collect various gashapon figures of Ulmeyda dressed up in various costumes. He is also somewhat evil.
Quote: "These dudes have got energy to spare! We're talking guys who beat off four times a day!"

Susie

Susie is the disemobied head of a very, very disturbed child who often recounts her psychotic tales with unfathomable glee. She also communicates through goofy emoticons and helps the Smiths by returning variouns "rings" that he's lost. She is, of course, quite weird. *O-^-O*

The Handsome Men

The Handsome Men are a parody of sentai shows like Power Rangers. Created by the comic book artist Trevor Pearlharbor, The Handsome Men are actually assassins, and their written exploits often foreshadow their upcoming crimes.

Much like the game, the soundtrack is an eclectic mix of styles - most of the time, you'll hear moody electronica, but there's a few ventures into jazz and rock, as well as the boppy techno piece previously mentioned. Masafumi Takada and Jun Fukuda have proven themselves capable to creating incredible music that suits the trippy nature of the game perfectly. The voice acting is surprisingly excellent, which is good, because their quality can make or break a game like this. It's all in English, even in the Japanese version - however, the American and European versions have more distorted voices over the ghosts, making it much harder to make out anything that they're saying. While I have yet to hear it myself, apparently much of the dialogue was a grammatical, Engrishy nightmare.


Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)

Killer7 (GameCube)



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