Condemned: Criminal Origins Review

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Grotesque thrills to turn even the steeliest gaming stomach


Gamers weaned on the grotesque thrills of Resident Evil and Silent Hill may have developed a strong stomach over the years, but Sega’s savage Condemned: Criminal Origins still packs quite a punch.

Starring an FBI agent framed for murder, Condemned thrusts players into a range of shadowy locations – including urban slums, abandoned warehouses and ruined shopping malls – as they search for the real killer, using whatever items come to hand as makeshift weapons. Cornered by a gang of tramps in a changing room? Just rip a locker door from its hinges and start swinging.

Trapped in a classroom by a pistol-wielding thug? Then rip the blade from a paper guillotine and cut him a new arsehole. And with barbarous finishing moves where you can headbutt stunned enemies to death – and see the fear in their eyes as you move in for the kill – this is an experience that will live with you long after you’ve switched off your console.

The demonic action and gloomy locations tend repeat themselves after a few hours, making you wish for a few more puzzles to punctuate the hard-core combat, but Condemned is still one of the most atmospheric and memorable games on Microsoft’s new machine.