This is the story of man, a hero to the downtrodden, a protector of the weak, a wearer of a purple thong, and, most importantly, a dispenser of justice – like, really, I’m not kidding here, he dispenses justice, like a… soap dispenser, or something. More on that later. The hero is question is named DeathSpank, a mighty adventurer on a quest to find a rare and powerful artefact, and to “dispense” as much justice as he can along the way.
The reason he’s looking for this artefact is largely unexplained apart from the fact that he was told to do it by some red-haired woman he didn’t really know, and he even admits that he wasn’t really listening to a word she said, but it seems like the kind of thing a hero would do. This ridiculous premise should give you some idea of what to expect from the rest of the game. It’s an action adventure game bursting with that evergreen mix of fantasy of black humour. You’d think we’d be sick to death of that combination by now, but it’s like peanut butter and jam or fish and chips: it’s not particularly exciting but it’s something you can keep on coming back to without really losing your taste for it. Luckily, DeathSpank is genuinely amusing and good fun too.
The game is played from a locked-camera, overhead perspective giving players a good view of the action. There’s a large world to explore populated by inhabitants eager to reward DeathSpank for such heroic deeds as digging their house keys out of a garbage dump, curing their livestock of constipation, rescuing orphans (by stuffing them into a sack of orphans in his inventory), and so on. There are over a hundreds quests to do, ranging from simple fetch quests, to bounties, rescues, dungeon puzzles, item combination quests and so on. Along the way, DeathSpank will have to do battle with endless hordes of enemies, but luckily there are hundreds upon hundreds of weapons, items, magic gadgets, potions, food, armour and other junk to aid him against the forces of darkness. At first, it might seem like DeathSpank can simply mow down any enemy with any weapon of his choice, but as players progress, they’ll find that combat steadily becomes more involved. The crux of it is DeathSpank’s “justice” ability. Upon filling a purple gauge in the middle of the screen, DeathSpank can dispense it (hence: dispenser of justice) in the form of powerful special attacks with certain weapons.
The graphics are bright, cheery and wildly varied from one region to another and the jazzy music is funny in its own right. The voice acting is good and there are plenty of hilarious conversation trees to follow with the many characters DeathSpank will meet. So if you’re sick of getting your confidence crushed in Demon’s Souls, how about a nice, easy-going fantasy action game for a change of pace?