The Christmas holidays may be way behind us but the Christmas spirit doesn’t have to be. Well…that’s if the Christmas spirit includes cleaning Santa’s blood-stained workshop filled with the body parts of mutilated elves and reindeer.
To the horror of many workers, Santa has gone berserk and those poor little worker elves have taken the full force of his wrath. If you ever wanted to know what it would be like if Santa ever went on a murderous rampage then this game is just for you.
This single-player PC platform game developed by RuneStorm sets you in the role of an employee of Polar Sanitation Inc. and is the first game in the Viscera Cleanup Detail series to include multiplayer mode, making the game more amusing when playing with a friend and certainly gets the job done a lot quicker.
You begin the game equipped with a mop, your hands and a sniffer to detect blood or body parts. The aim is simple: clean up the evidence of Santa’s rampage and save Christmas, or face being fired and left out in the cold just in time for Christmas.
In game, the room is equipped with a bin dispenser, which comes in very handy when disposing of multiple body parts, otherwise running back and forth from body part to fireplace would prove tediously repetitive and slow. There is also a water bucket distributor at your disposal, making mopping up those pesky blood stains a much more pleasant task…that is, when you don’t accidently knock over your blood-filled bucket and stain the spot you have spent that last few minutes cleaning.
You most definitely can die in this game. I think in one sitting I managed to either burn or blow myself up at least five times. I just wasn’t expecting the dynamite to explode when I put it in the fire, kind of stupid, I admit. However, there were times when it wasn’t my fault. One of those deadly encounters with explosives came from the water dispenser and I just couldn’t get away in time.
All that hard work I had put into cleaning up that room was for nothing as my body parts were scattered across the room and my own blood made a worse stain than there had been at the start of the game. When your janitor dies, a new replacement janitor is sent in to take over and continue the arduous task of cleaning the workshop, which you had originally been incompetent to do according to the company you work for (obviously no sympathy there). It can’t be very reassuring for those janitors when they see the dead body of their co-workers strewn across the room.
The art style really makes you feel like you’re actually inside Santa’s workshop. Every item and every room is styled in such detail…and the mess (although it doesn’t exactly enhance the Christmas feel to the place) really paints a picture of what transpired there. The movements are moderately realistic, except when the game’s physics decides to flip out and send you flying across the room when you force as many body parts as you can into a box. However, personally I find that the most disappointing thing about the gameplay is the fact you don’t get a progress bar, which would be very helpful to see how much you have left to clean. Although, I doubt it would make much difference on whether you could complete the game or not, it would just be a nice addition.
There are thirteen different achievements you can potentially complete in this particular game, many of which are uncommon and you probably wouldn’t even be able to guess them if you had never seen the achievement list. One of these uncommon achievements is to collect elf heads in your janitor’s trunk…yea, a bit psychotic I know, but probably an ‘interesting’ task nonetheless. The rarest ones are obtained from cleaning the entire workshop, an understandably rare achievement considering that it is a very difficult task to complete and one that sometimes makes you so frustrated that you just want to punch something.
Although this game may make you laugh, expect to get frustrated as you tip over blood-filled buckets, explode yourself and dirty a room you just made spotless. A few body parts are in hard to reach places, one arm I actually found wedged behind a pillar and it took me six attempts to free it using my skills of innovation. Ok, really I just used a mop and eventually tried to throw some explosives at it (granted, I died at least twice before I managed to do it properly). I must admit, I became so mad at the game I actually raged quit.
When the whole place is almost spotless and it tells you that you haven’t finished cleaning, the first thing to do is use the sniffer. Then, when you can’t even find the last speck of dirt with your high-tech equipment, the only thing left to do is get angry and quit, unless you have the time and patience for it of course (clearly I don’t).
Although this game is a novelty for the first few play-throughs on single player, it becomes very tedious and frustrating after a while, especially when you have cleaned up everything but you must ‘go in shame’ because you can’t find that last spot.
The best way to make the most use of this game is to play with a friend, a much more amusing and interesting way of playing, as well as being more effective as cleanup-duo. Even though it is only one short level and can become slightly boring if you play it too often, the game is worth playing if you want a unique and creatively gory cleanup experience as well as a bit of a laugh. Happy mopping!
Rebecca Jones, Games Columnist
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