In Run Like Hell, you play as an explorer who has ripped off some artifacts from an island populated by hungry cannibals. But if they catch you, they’re not going to send you back to mother in a cardboard box; they’re going to make you their next meal.
You hit the ground running, and the idea is to leap over obstacles in your way. These include bamboo cages, pits, rocks, ledges, bees– oh, you may as well assume that everything on the island hates you and wants to trip you up. And once you trip, the cannibals will gain significant ground. If they catch up– well, you know.
This is what Uncharted would look like with gun control.
You rip through several locations on the island, including jungles, beaches, and the cannibals’ village. Run Like Hell’s heritage hearkens back to the likes of Robot Unicorn Attack, though the varied environments make for more devious traps and dangers.
Moreover, Run Like Hell provides you with some items that give you a fighting chance at escape. By collecting “Adrenaline” power-ups, you can hoard bursts of speed and use them when the natives are nipping at your heels. Similarly, “Lightning” icons will call down bolts from above and set the natives back a bit. By combining bursts of adrenaline with well-timed jumps, you can launch yourself away from trouble and really turn the tide in a level. It’s nice to have a bit of strategy mixed into a genre that usually relies on reflexes and luck.
Run Like Hell also boasts OpenFeint capabilities, and its endless mode is perfect for anyone who wishes they could just be fed running games intravenously for the purest, longest adrenaline rush. Seems a little dark though, doesn’t it? Running until you’re finally caught and consumed?
“To Serve Man”
The game balances out its grim theme with fluid cartoon graphics and beautiful backgrounds. There are, however, some unfortunate stereotypes going on in the visuals: The game’s pursued protagonist is white, and the cannibals are spear-carrying, gap-toothed black Islanders with bones through their noses and a taste for human flesh. Obviously, game developers don’t set out to offend people– they just want to make good, fun games, and Run Like Hell is a good, fun game. But it’d also be nice to see the industry pick itself up and move on from ’50s-era cartoon caricatures.
Admittedly, it feels hypocritical to say, “This game has potentially offensive themes– but hey, pick it up! It’s great!” Ultimately, that’s up to the buyer. Run Like Hell’s enemy designs leave something to be desired, but as far as run-and-jump games go, it’s solid.