The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Apr 06, 2011 10:09

Taking a winning formula and improving it can be just fine if done infrequently for any given series. The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile seems to be banking on this idea, taking the wild combat of The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai while adding new levels and new weapons. If you enjoyed Dead Samurai’s blend of slicing through hordes of generic enemies on your way to fight a powerful boss and then doing it again in several more stages, then Vampire Smile will offer that same kind of entertainment... only better.

The Dishwasher: Vampire SmileThe controls are largely as they always have been, with the left analog stick handling normal movement, the bumpers and triggers handling weapon equipping, and your face buttons being used to do a variety of lengthy and flashy combos to enemies that often end with blood spraying everywhere (make no mistake, The Dishwasher is a very violent game series). The right analog stick is perhaps the real key to success however, as it is what lets your character fly around and dodge attacks. Dodging isn’t just how you stay alive in the face of being surrounded by enemies, it’s important for navigating several stages and also necessary to complete some of your more powerful combos; you’ll often knock an enemy into the air and need to follow them to do the remaining attacks. It’s this sensation of impressive speed that makes the otherwise repetitive fighting in Vampire Smile enjoyable, letting it stand out from many of its peers.

While fighting is the main attraction, there is exploration to be done in each stage which may yield hidden weapons and items on your way to each boss. With any given stage being completed within five to ten minutes, this admittedly isn’t as grand in scope as most ’Metroidvania’ games but the idea is certainly similar. In contrast to many 2D platformers, the boss fights are not the best part of Vampire Smile; they are immune to most of your really enjoyable combos and beating them is simply a matter of having very good timing and pattern recognition. They hit extremely hard, but avoiding their attacks is easy if you’re alert so they honestly just serve as a distraction from the more enjoyable fights with regular enemies. Thankfully, the additional Dishwasher Challenge and Arcade modes offer several levels with little exploration and plenty of enemies to fight, and co-op play is also available in some cases.

Beyond this, the main theme of Vampire Smile is to give you more of what the last game offered. New weapons, new enemies, new upgrades, and just plain ’more, more, more.’ Several of these additions are fun, though they are just variants on what you’ve already been doing and repetition will set in sooner or later as a result. You will have had plenty of fun by the time this happens, however. In some ways, this may make Vampire Smile best suited to playing over several short sessions in order to keep things from getting old. Dishwasher: Vampire Smile definitely has a lot in common with its predecessor, but this is not entirely a bad thing. Getting more of the series’ fast paced, wild fighting style combined with general refinements, new weapons, and so on is just fine. If you enjoyed Dead Samurai and want more of what it offered, or think you would be interested in a very creative take on the ’fight your way through hordes of enemies’ style of 2D platformer, then give this game a look; its 800 Microsoft Point/$10 USD price is fair for what you get. 

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Our Rating for The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Review (XBLA)
6.5 Replay
Repetition will drag things down after a while, though the ability to unlock several arcade mode stages may keep you coming back for some time.
7.0 Graphics
Dead Samurai’s gritty comic-style graphics are carried over here, complete with exaggerated animations and blood sprays that tend to obscure your view. It looks good, but has some quirks that bog it down.
7.0 Sound
Basic but acceptable sound effects are joined by good music that helps get the player in a fighting mood.
8.5 Gameplay
Extremely fast combat with lots of flashy combos makes you feel awesome as you fight through hordes of enemies.
7.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Online and local co-op are offered, with the camera wisely zooming out to show both players as needed.
8.5 Overall
A straight upgrade to its predecessor, Vampire Smile is a lot of fun and worth checking out if you enjoy 2D platformers with frantic and flashy combat.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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