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As the XBLA season begins we have our first game that can be considered well executed. Scarygirl is a 2D side scrolling platformer, although many of the levels are structured to have branching paths that give off more of a 3D winding view and feel. Based on Nathan Jurevicius’s graphic novel the game finds Scarygirl making her way from level to level fighting enemies that range from axe-chucking lunatics in a brightly colored forest, to giant neon orange rats in the sewer of the Bad City. All of these levels bring you to a finally face-to-eye patched face with the notorious Dr. Maybee. The premise of Scarygirl is nothing impressive but all of the elements that bring you to that final showdown are executed in at least a fairly well done fashion.
The platforming elements of Scarygirl are tight and you will generally never find yourself repeating the same spot of a level over and over again because of ill-placed blind spots or controls flaring off and causing you to feel less in control of your character. That being said one of the glaring issues with the more difficult platformer pieces was the over sensitivity of everything Scarygirl does. Rather than a double jump, like in most platformers, Scarygirl can shake her tentacle arm (Did I mention she also has an eye patch?) around furiously and cause herself to hover in midair to reach new heights and vantage points.
The combat is solid when fighting smaller groups of enemies but when you are faced with a screen full of foes the combat shows its weakness. It becomes more of a desperate struggle for survival then actually having any control over the situation. That being said, only a small handful of those situations will come up during the course of the story and they are acceptable for the product as a whole. The co-op is a nice addition to the title and does not hamper the experience because it is a join and drop system where nothing else needs to be done in order to continue progression.
Where Scarygirl excels is the excellent soundtrack and over the top visuals. Visually when viewing Scarygirl you could swear they let Tim Burton remake Cinderella while keep everything as twisted and multi-colored as possible. The character seems to be the only thing that does not radiate some type of light throughout the entire game, even the sewers are multi-colored and eye popping.
When you roll all of these elements together what do you have? A middle shelf platformer that will find its niche with fans of the graphic novel and flash game that became a sensation. Does it do anything special or unique? Not outright but it does all of the side scrolling mechanics in a manner that keep the experience feeling fresh from the scary beginning to terrifying end.