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Backlog Reflections | killer7

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During the Gamecube days, Capcom was on a streak! But was killer7 more weird than they could handle?!

Prepare for the Bizarre

Throughout the years there have been many games that have surprised me, in one way or another. Metal Gear Solid, for example, blew my mind when Psycho Mantis was able to predict that I liked to play Azure Dreams. Or that there was a whole new inverted castle to explore in Symphony of the Night if you defeated Shaft in just the right way!

But, there are few games that truly baffled me, and left my mouth agape while I stared at the television screen. And killer7 by the infamous Goichi Suda, was one of them. It was a game that introduced me to storytelling styles and themes that I hadn’t seen previously. At least in games. Its overall strange execution had me intrigued and would become the catalyst for my fascination with all of Suda51’s future work.

On a Streak

Back when killer7 was released Capcom was, in my mind, kind of hitting their stride again. Games like Viewtiful Joe, the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4 were really putting the company back in the public eye. And not only that, but they were also showing their fans that they could broaden their horizons and try new things. Even with some of their most popular franchises! Well, I’m not sure about everyone else, but those games at least put them back on my radar in a real way. I’m a Capcom fanboy after all.

However, it was really the success of Resident Evil 4, that had me more willing to try whatever Capcom was putting out there next. So when I saw their announcement of killer7 I was cautiously optimistic. It was certainly unique, what with it’s low poly, cell shaded look and the whole “on rails” shooting gallery gameplay. Unfortunately though, critics didn’t really see the appeal. Stating it was too linear or that the storytelling was a little too “off the beaten path” and “edgy” for its own good. Unbeknownst to us, that’ll pretty much set the stage for what to expect from Suda in the future. His stuff may be a bit hackish and edge-lordy, but that’s part of the charm! It’s like watching a b-movie. You expect it to be awkward and campy, that’s the point!

My Mind Was Made

Anyways, I didn’t let those criticisms deter me. I also had the benefit of being able to rent it, so I could try it before I bought it. So I made my weekly trek to the rental store and picked up a copy to try for myself. Within the first 15 minutes it was apparent why the game was so divisive. It had a very neo-noir vibe where you follow the story of a group of assassins called the killer7 who are the manifestations of the various personas of a man named Harman Smith. And from mission to mission you’ll follow them through various assassination attempts on increasingly bizarre characters and uncover a downward spiral of conspiracies and plot twists!

Then to top off the mind-F of a story, the gameplay was very straight forward. But, despite all that, its overwhelming weirdness and uniqueness intrigued me! So I kept on playing. And by the end of it, killer7 left a lasting impression. So much so that I bought the exact same copy I rented from the rental store a few years later after they closed their doors. And to this day, I’ve tried to keep up with all things Suda51. 

Which makes me wonder, do you have any experiences with Suda51’s games? If so, which have you played, and which are your favorites??