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The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile
XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360
Ska Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile employs a unique hand drawn and animated art style. It's dark, it's gritty and it's breathtaking at times. Most impressive? Most of it was done by one guy.

Gameplay: 5

At its heart, Vampire Smile is a hack and slash, beat ‘em up in the tradition of Double Dragon and Ninja Gaiden, but what makes Vampire Smile so special is just how viscerally rewarding each kill feels. It may be a bit repetitive, but it's also damn fun.

Lasting Appeal:

From a solid campaign to a slew of other modes, Vampire Smile features a ton of content for a sweet price.

Overall: 6
Beating the supposed sophomore slump, Vampire Smile serves as a stunning sequel to one of XBox Live's most impressive titles. It's fun, it's fast, it's brutal and visceral, it is a prime example of why Live is a premier service for indie developers.
CHEATfactor: 6

There's a stigma in the gaming industry that artistic games have to be boring. Ska Studios' The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is here to challenge that notion. The sequel to the widely acclaimed indie game is not only viscerally fun, it's an artistic accomplishment as well, but with blood as its medium. In an age of complicated control schemes and ballooning budgets, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile is a testament to the fact that simple quality mechanics and creativity will always have an audience.

If you've never heard of The Dishwasher before, you're not alone. The original game, released in 2009 began life as an indie game and quickly rose in popularity enough to be a sleeper hit on Xbox Live. The sequel follows the tale of a new main character, the troubled Yuki, who may or may not be in a mental institution and may or not be on a quest to violently pay back the crooked men who put her there. Oh, and eventually the Dishwasher from the original game returns. The plot isn't anything special, but it's played out in cool comic book style animatics and comes off almost as a Quentin Tarantino inspired revenge tale - if it were on Adult Swim, which of course, isn't a bad thing.

"... the pure uniqueness of how the game looks is sure to pull you in."


Vampire Smile's biggest strength is undoubtedly its unique art style. Featuring hand drawn art and animations, the pure uniqueness of how the game looks is sure to pull you in. Gritty reds, greens and yellows dot a canvas of blacks, whites and grays, but where the game's visuals really come to their own is with the way they play into the game's mechanics. In one scene early on in the game, you're hacking and slashing your way through a series of enemies, only to have a haze come over the screen and suddenly you're left crawling towards a wheelchair in desperation. It's a gutsy move, taking the control away from the player, but what results is an immersive and relentless game that lets up only near its end. What makes the game's art even more impressive is the fact that the majority of it was done by one guy, James Silva; who did the original Dishwasher.

At its core, Vampire Smile is a hack and slash beat-em-up much like Double Dragon or Final Fight, but where Silva's game differs is that each and every kill feels incredibly rewarding and undeniably cool. As either The Dishwasher or Yuki, you button mash to dispose of an endless amount of foes, and when they emit blue sparks (just got with it), hitting either the b or x buttons will result in a nasty kill animation. Each kill is so viscerally fun that you'll often forget that you're really just doing the same thing over and over. The kills are made even more fun by the evasive maneuvers for each character. Using The Dishwasher's roll or Yuki's blood warp (by far the cooler of the two), you can dash past characters and in any direction, making for some awesomely epic scenes. It all culminates in a number of brief boss battles where you're presented with your opponent but can't help but reminisce about awesome revenge movies like Kill Bill.

"It's fast pace and chaotic and loads of fun."


Be warned, Vampire Smile can be tough, very tough; but for those who find it too intimidating, there's the Pretty Pretty Princess difficulty setting. Unlocked after dying ten times in a level, the game gets tons easier and replaces the blood with crowns and butterflies. For those not looking to take the pansy way out (hey, at least there's an achievement for it), there's also a stellar multiplayer mode that finds one player controlling The Dishwasher and one controlling Yuki. It's fast pace and chaotic and loads of fun. While the single player is a great time, I often found myself preferring the multiplayer.

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile didn't have a mega budget behind it, or an extensive marketing campaign, but it's the product of a seemingly bygone age in the world of gaming. James Silva and Ska Studios have created a vicious and fun hack and slash game from very simple mechanics, and the result is a classic Xbox Live title that you're going to want to have in your library for years to come. 



CHEATS USED: Achievements

As of this writing, there aren't many cheats available for The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, but there are some cool Easter Eggs that fans of the original will want to check out.

The one cheat I really want to see for Vampire Smile is an instant kill ability, or maybe an infinite health cheat.



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