Have you ever dreamed of being a kaiju and rampaging through the city destroying everything in your path? Do you want to save the environment by crushing humanity under your feet? Terror Of Hemasaurus is a side scrolling city smasher that lets you do just that.
This is the latest game from Loren Lemcke, a one-man army of sorts hailing from Finland who seems to have a penchant for extremely violent retro-style games. His previous titles are Super Blood Hockey and Over 9000 Zombies! to give you an idea.
Story – Hard Hitting Humor
Terror Of Hemasaurus is is darkly humorous, revolving around the very real issue of climate change which it addresses through quirky and entertaining dialogue.
The game kicks off at a climate change debate and pulls no punches. As the debate progresses, there are the ominous creaks from the glacier in the background which eventually loses a large chunk of ice. This particular iceberg just so happens to contain a monster – that’s you.
The first people to discover this monster are a group of eco-terrorists who see this as an opportunity to shake things up through death and destruction. They give you the task of destroying cities in an effort to get the general population to change their ways using some twisted logic – however, just like in real life, things are not that simple.
Art Mirroring Life
There are greedy corporations (Pollutacorp in this case) that benefit from the status quo, and obviously the authorities are none too happy about the destruction you leave in your wake. The in-game media only cares about how many views and clicks they are going to get by broadcasting the carnage.
While the story is hilariously self aware and indulgently silly at times, there is a realistic and poignant thread – the commentary about how humans are destroying the environment, especially with fossil fuels. We have the technology to make the necessary changes to save our planet but instead we devote huge amounts of resources to weapons development.
I feel like Terror Of Hemasaurus will stick with me for a while. It’s the kind of game that not only entertains – it makes you think about how humanity as a collective doesn’t seem to have an appetite for making the necessary changes to save our planet, both in-game and in life.
You will likely have some very mixed emotions as you play through Terror Of Hemasaurus. On one hand, you will enjoy playing dominos with buildings, while the strong themes play on the back of your mind. It goes deeper, deconstructing and analyzing this theme but talking about it too much may put us in spoiler territory.
Are you doing the right thing? Is this going to make a meaningful change? You are a monster, you only know what you are told. It’s only a video game, right? The developer Loren makes a cameo in the game, sharing this sentiment. I’ll leave it up to you to find out how it ends for him.
Final thoughts on the story – it’s charming, witty and terrifying at the same time. Terror Of Hemasaurus doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it does have a timely and thoroughly entertaining story to tell.
Gameplay – Smashing!
Terror Of Hemasaurus is a sidescroller that puts you in the shoes of a giant monster. The controls are easy to learn – you can either use the D pad or the left analog stick to control your monster, while the 4 face buttons are mapped to various actions, namely jump, kick, attack, and eat.
Jumping allows you to climb up and down buildings. You can also do a “butt-stomp” attack which gets more powerful the higher up you get. Climbing to the top of a building and executing this attack is a fun and effective way of bringing them down.
Holding down while pressing kick allows you to pick people up. You can throw them in the direction of your choice, or alternatively you can eat them if you like. Throwing people into helicopter blades can help you take them down, or you can use them as projectiles to kill onlookers who are peeking out of their windows and get a nice kill streak.
You’ll Get A Kick Out Of This
Kicking things is even more fun – you can kick crowds of people into the air, which can result in a fiery rain of blood and destruction. Kicking fleeing vehicles is also great for taking down annoying helicopters and they also leave a nice big hole in any building they hit.
Mechanically, it is a very satisfying game to play. damaging buildings in a certain way allows you to control the way they fall to a degree, enabling you to create a chaotic and deadly domino effect.
In arcade mode, you are occasionally given challenges which gives the gameplay a nice variation – one level, for example, will task you with destroying only red buildings, while another will ask that you don’t destroy any buildings at all.
Visit New And Exciting Places – And Destroy Them!
The bonus levels are fun and challenging, too. Typically they will only have a single building in them and challenge you to accomplish a certain goal – I don’t want to spoil these, since they were some of the most fun and challenging levels to play.
There are 4 playable monsters that each have a unique special ability. This adds a level of variety to the gameplay, but I found some abilities more useful than others – I particularly favored Salamandrah for the delightfully destructive fire breath, while Clocksloth’s ability to slow down time wasn’t quite as fun. That said, I could see it being useful when enemies were raining down in their hordes.
You can play in co-op mode with up to 4 players either in Arcade Mode or Endless Destruction, the latter game mode taking you from city to city as the difficulty incrementally increases. I can picture myself jumping into this game for some mindless destructive action from time to time – it’s a good one for those days where you can’t stomach a massive open world or intense story with a quest log as long as your arm.
Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to try the co-op mode but I imagine this game would be even better with a friend. See how many levels you can clear in endless destruction mode or blast through the story – you can finish the latter in a few hours.
Graphics and Audio – Guts And Glory
The vibrant and colorful pixel art is both beautiful and easy to process. This helps a lot when buildings are collapsing, things are exploding, and enemies are shooting at you all at once. Terror Of Hemasaurus can be extremely chaotic in the best way, especially if you love some irreverent pixel gore.
I did encounter some infrequent dips in the framerate. The PS4 is still a relatively capable piece of hardware but things do get pretty crazy. You might think the pixel graphics aren’t all that demanding, but the sheer amount of chaos and destruction is impressive, pushing the PS4 to its limits.
The soundtrack is as delightful as the visuals, composed by Shawn Daley who is also a terrific comic artist. There are 21 tracks in all, each uniquely flavored chiptunes, varying in pace from upbeat and frantic to more ominous numbers. The title theme is particularly memorable, something of an earworm in fact.
I reviewed Terror Of Hemasaurus on PS4. The review key was provided by Digerati.