Title: Larva Mortus
Developer: Rake In Grass
Released: March 19 2009
Platform: PC Windows
Current Price: $9.99 through their site (also available on Steam)
Rating: Not Rated
In the end of XIX. century dark forces shade the world once again. A brave agent experienced in exorcism and combat comes to face the incoming evil and fight loathsome supernatural monsters and horrific spawns of black magic
Larva Mortus is very reminiscent of the types of games I liked to play way back in the early days of computing – usually on that little-known OS called Windows 3.1. While some in this day and age of heavy 3D graphics may find those early games unbelievably poor in quality, Rake In Grass has
managed to develop a fun-to-play action-horror quest and combat property. They’ve included many of the elements which make for a highly addictive and re-playable game – one which I thoroughly enjoyed playing. Okay, so I’m still playing it – but that’s an homage to the developers for the great job they’ve done.
First and foremost I would like to make mention of the soundtrack. It is extremely well-written and produced, and adds much to the spookiness of the environment. It is non-repetitive and won’t grate on your nerves after the first few minutes of play. One thing that I always check at the start of game play is the Options area. I do not usually like to play games in Full Screen mode on my PC, as I usually have other things going on at the same time. I was happy to see that Rake In Grass included that all important Screen Mode choice in their options, allowing me to play in a smaller window. For those who do not like gore in their games, it’s also possible to turn off the gore. I happen to like gore, so that control remained active.
The purpose of Larva Mortus is to send the player on a quest to find all of the pieces of a missing artifact which, if put back together and activated will unleash an untold horror on civilization. Nothing like adding a little pressure to the game. While is there a sort-of-tutorial-styled introduction, this intro is also used to level up your character. Levelling is required before the main quest can be
started; new level ranks are shown as a star over the Player Profile icon – and the screen also displays a text message when you have achieved the next level.
The developers have given the player a myriad of weaponry to use – from swords and crossbows to pistols, machine guns and my personal favourite, the flamethrower. Also on hand are sticks of dynamite for blowing up those pesky hordes. Almost every room also contains crates, barrels, chests and coffins which are destructible and contain items. Each of the weapons are easy to see, and have their “equip key” number listed next to them on the UI, along with the amount of ammo available. I also like that each equipped weapon shows how many bullets are available in the round before you need to reload. Or, you may want to reload sooner if there is a small break in the enemy spawns.The UI is well designed, and has all of the important information is easily viewed by the player. Extra information such as quests, trophies and the armoury are also easy to take a look at.
Each map is randomly generated, which adds a nice bit of challenge to the fact that if you die, you won’t immediately be facing the same map with the same enemies. I found this to keep any possible tedium at bay, as each level seemed fresh. Not that I died a lot. It was just something I noted when I did happen to die once or twice on my way to defeat the end-level bosses. Some of whom I found to be a challenge to obliterate.
As is normal in most games, the further the player advances in the missions, the more challenging the levels become – and those monsters just seem to get worse and worse. Also, each room must be fully cleared of enemies, or they will re-spawn should you have to return to that room during your
trip through the map. The game will alert you once each room has been cleared, and thankfully the developers happily hand over the appropriate weaponry required to defeat the creepy guys. Each room on the map which has been cleared will appear grey. I think that my least favourite characters in the game were the flaming pigs. They ranked right up there with the giant spiders. At least character health regenerated reasonably fast, and it was possible to let your character heal before entering the next room if you didn’t manage to snag a health kit as a kill-drop.
There are several cinematic breaks in the game which explain the story and give pertinent information to the player. Instead of being graphics-heavy, the cut scenes are artfully done in 2D, and as such did not lag my poor old desktop. It’s not often these days when I can find an enjoyable game which runs easily on my 5 year old PC and doesn’t freeze it or wreak havoc with its lag-inducing graphics. Kudos to Rake In Grass for that.
Some other points which I like about Larva Mortus are the loads of player achievements (trophies) and power-ups which are available. Each of the trophies does something special – usually adding to your XP and getting you closer to the next level. Some do other things, like the Clover Leaf which adds to the player’s luck. This was another point which I liked – being able to a lot points to certain areas of skill. The one thing I did not figure out how to do – or if it’s even possible – is to move those skill points around from one trait to another.
All in all, I have no qualms about recommending Larva Mortus to other gamers – even those who may not be fans of the “god-view” style of play. The controls work well, and are standard for most PC games, which makes them easy to use and understand, even for beginners. The only real improvement I’d like to see is the ability to investigate the rooms further – there are many posters, books and shelving units strewn about the levels, and I think it would add another layer of interest for the player if those items could be read for clues or additions to the story. Overall, I give this game a 9.5/10. Give me clues to read and examine (and remember) along the way, and it would be a 10/10.
1.5 GHz Processor
256 MB RAM
OpenGL compatible 128 MB graphics card
DirectX compatible audio card
55 MB of available hard disk space