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Overview

DeathSpank is a new title following the adventures of the thong-wearing warrior, known only as " DeathSpank." You control the titular character on his quest to obtain The Artifact. The game was developed by Ron Gilbert (creator of Monkey Island) in conjunction with Hothead Games and has been described as " Diablo meets Monkey Island" and includes an interface based on that of the SCUMM engine.

Story

As one may be able to guess about DeathSpank, the story is only barely-sensical. The game opens up with the coveted Artifact just barely out of DeathSpank's reach. After an appropriately lengthy prologue (or maybe a little bit longer), DeathSpank finally obtains The Artifact only to lose it to a group of the evil Lord Von Prong's Orque henchmen. The henchmen leave DeathSpank with no equipment (though the game feels no need to go for the "Left For Dead" scenario). DeathSpank reaches a nearby town, and after regaining a weapon and helping some of the townsfolk, the Mayor contracts our hero to recover a group of orphans that have gone missing. With his new, trusty Orphan Sack (that is, a sack which one stuffs orphans into for safe-keeping), DeathSpank sets out on the land (which include areas such as The Haunted Forest, The Enchanted Forest, The Turtle Lake, The Enchanted Forest Logging Camp, and many more) to help the downtrodden, rescue the orphans of the land, help the Mayor with his recycling campaign, vanquish Lord Von Prong, and, most importantly, get some loot!

Gameplay

A core of Diablo-esque action-RPG surrounded by dialog and puzzles ripped straight from a point-and-click adventure, DeathSpank is a great example of hybridizing two somewhat dissimilar genres. The meat of the game has you controlling DeathSpank using the left analog stick to move around in the environments while attacking with the face buttons and using items with the directional pad.

The particulars of which face button or d-pad direction corresponds to which action are configurable using the game's equipment screen. From here, the player will see on the right a list of items which may be assigned. The right side of the screen shows which items are already assigned.

The Justice Meter is charged as DeathSpank slaughters more and more of his enemies. This will allow him to perform special attacks with certain weapons. These weapons are identified by a purple circle behind the illustration in the equipment screen. When selected, a description of their special effect is supplied. By finding Runes, you can combine the special abilities of two weapons simultaneously to combine effects.

As DeathSpank searches for The Artifact, he will encounter many NPCs in need of assistance and marked by an exclamation point over their heads. By talking to these characters, the player will obtain a quest which will then be added to the quest log. The player may be asked to complete a simple task or solve a more intricate puzzle. Puzzles are often solved by finding and combining different items to create the desired results. Once the task requested by the quest-giver has been completed, DeathSpank will need to return to an NPC to claim a reward. In some cases, the NPC may have a new quest available once one has been completed.

The dialog when talking to NPCs closely resembles that of traditional point-and-click adventure games. You will see a portrait of the character on the screen along with text as they speak. At key points in the conversation, the player will have an opportunity to respond. A box will appear at the bottom of the screen with a number of possible responses from which the player may select. Dialog is often humorous and irreverent.

DeathSpank battles Sergeant Orque

The game proudly wears its' action-RPG designation on its sleeve in the form of random loot drops. As you kill enemies, they will drop items on the ground which you may pick up. The player will often find new weapons, armor, and trinket s which may be equipped to improve your character's performance and abilities. You may also find support items such as potions and food which are used for recovering health. One interesting twist to this system is DeathSpank's Lost and Found. Lost and Found bins are placed throughout the world where DeathSpank may retrieve items which were dropped previously but never picked up.

Loot/Equipment

As promised by the developers, DeathSpank features loot! And lots of it. However, the equipment found in the game lacks the depth of "perks" that rival games have. In other games, such as Diablo or Torchlight, it's common for equipment or weapons to have health/ mana regeneration stats or leech health stats or reflect damage stats. None of those things exist in the universe of DeathSpank. Armor in the game strictly increases the number of hit points of the titular character, while maybe granting some elemental ( Fire, Ice, Undead, Nature) resistance. With weapons, it's strictly about the physical (or base) damage plus whatever elemental bonus damage the weapon may have. This often makes the best choice for weapons and armor obvious throughout the game (there is even a button to automatically equip the best armor as it becomes available). All of the weapons and armor in the game can be seen on the character model.

Multiplayer

Sparkles provides some much-needed assistance of the magical variety.

If another controller is connected to the console, the game will prompt the player to press start to join at which point they will manifest in the game as Sparkles the Wizard. Sparkles is a limited character who may provide support to DeathSpank. He has a limited number of spells and abilities including a healing spell and can also pick up items which have been dropped.

Art Style

Much of the draw of DeathSpank is in its unique art style. It uses polygonal graphics with an overhead perspective. The world is almost spherical and unrolls and you proceed in any direction. Many of the details on the world are flat creating what has been described as a "pop-up book" aesthetic. Characters and environments are colorful and highly stylized. Filters are applied as DeathSpank moves to different areas to create different looks.

Trivia

  • It has an open world with with a similar spherical look to that of games like Super Mario Galaxy and Animal Crossing: Wild World.
  • The Canadian government funded the game.
  • Voice Actor Michael Dobson is featured as the voice of DeathSpank.
  • The 10 Runes, which are stored in your inventory, spell out DeathSpank.

Avatar Awards

This game features 2 avatar awards.

  • Unicorn Poop T-Shirt ( male / female) - Kill the twin dragons guarding the artifact
  • Dragon Hatchling - Complete Ms. Heybenstance's quest to save her dragon hatchlings.

PC System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 (or equivalent with SSE2 support) running at 1.7 GHz or greater
  • Memory: 1 GB of ram, 1.5 GB (Vista and Windows 7)
  • Hard Disk Space: at least 2 GB of free HD space
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon X1900 GT 256MB and the Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB cards; Shader 2.0 and 24 bit depth buffer support required
  • DirectX®: DirectX9 Jun 2010
  • Local co-op requirements: A controller is required for the second player

Mac System Requirements

  • OS: Mac OS X v10.5.8 or v10.6
  • Processor: Intel
  • CPU Speed: 1.8 GHz
  • Memory: 1.5 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB free disk space
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon x1900 or better / NVIDIA 8600 or better
  • Video Memory (VRAM): 128 MB or higher

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