Golden Ruby’s Extreme Exorcism is what you get when you combine the single-screen baddie-bashing of something like Mario Bros. with the pattern memorization requirements of the most chaotic Treasure shoot ’em up. Toss in a throwback retro look and an Army of Darkness-style arsenal, and you’ve got yourself a game.
But there’s got to be more to Extreme Exorcism than that, right? Of course, and the power of Christ compels you to read on…
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One (Version Played)
Publisher: Ripstone Publishing
Developer: Golden Ruby Games
Genre: Kicking Ass for the Lord on a Single Screen
Release Date: September 23, 2015
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Like Father Merrin staring up at the apartment building in The Exorcist, players begin their journey in Extreme Exorcism just outside a haunted house. But rather than arm themselves with holy water and crosses, these exorcists are packing shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers, and ultra-powerful uppercuts. Dropping down into each level alongside a single poltergeist, players have to grab a weapon and bust that ghost.
Sounds simple enough, but things get much more complicated once the bell rings for Round 2.
Each successive round adds another ghost to the game… a “King Ghost” which expertly mimics your movements and the weapons you used. So if you picked up a shotgun in Round 1 and dispatched a ghost with it near the corner of the screen, you can position yourself near that spot in Round 2 to easily take out your regal doppelganger. But adding another ghost each round quickly turns the game into a chaotic whirlwind of platforming and gunfire. It’s possible to remember the pattern of every ghost, but it becomes mighty tricky.
Thankfully, you can call in some friends to help, as Extreme Exorcism includes a couch co-op option for up to four players. Of course, if you’d rather fight it out, a Deathmatch mode is also available.
Extreme Exorcism is built around repeating patterns, so the game does occasionally fall into a repetitive trap. But Golden Ruby was able to keep things fresh with more than 50 levels (each with its own quirks) spread across ten rooms and a truly inventive set of weapons. I never realized that shooting a ghost with a gun that fires bouncy balls could be so satisfying. I actually could have written that sentence any number of ways and “gun that fires bouncy balls” could have easily been replaced with a baseball bat, samurai sword, harpoon gun, proximity mines, or lightning bolts from your fingers. The extremely pixelated visuals helped as they gave each weapon a heft that they might not have had with a more realistic style. The simplicity of the graphics helped ensure that the game remained fast, and it was even a nice nod to the 80s heyday of films featuring paranormal investigators.
Extreme Exorcism also features a fairly extensive Challenge Mode that forces players to pop poltergeists with a variety of different rulesets. I’m a sucker for a good Challenge Mode, and Golden Ruby definitely delivered on that front. Challenge Mode truly is challenging and it requires some deft busting skills to complete them all.
This! Review! Is! Clean! Extreme Exorcism is a great way to while away an afternoon, especially if you’ve got a friend or three coming over. It’s a bit on the short side, but the game offers plenty to like if you’re a fan of single-screen arena platformers. Also, did I mention that you can shoot a ghost with a gun that fires bouncy balls?
Review Disclosure: A review copy of Extreme Exorcism was provided by Ripstone Publishing for the purposes of this review.