Thrill Kill was meant to be released mid-1998 but after massive controversy regarding the game’s content and themes, it was cancelled. However, the game was complete. This has meant that it is widely available to play, you just need to find it.
It’s widely believed that Thrill Kill was banned and that is why it was never released. That was not the case. In fact, it’s simply because EA bought the original publisher, Virgin Interactive and decided to not release the game because they didn’t want to be associated with a ‘senselessly violent game’.
Far less controversial, far less interesting but the truth, none the less.
It’s easy to forget now but Thrill Kill had a massive amount of hype. Most of this surrounded the gameplay idea of allowing up to four players to fight at the same time in the same arena as well as the promise of blood on par with the likes of Mortal Kombat.
The thing is for all the hype and controversy surrounding Thrill Kill, it really isn’t a very good game.
The story surrounds ten evil beings who have all died and gone to Hell. There, they suffer as physical manifestations of their evil. Each character is given a chance to be reincarnated by taking part in a fighting tournament. Beat the rest of their opponents and they will be free from Hell.
There are ten playable characters, each one a designed to shock and offend. We have the likes of Dr. Faustus, a scalpel-welding surgeon with a bear trap where his mouth should be and the hillbilly cannibal, Cletus who carries a severed leg. There is also the hulking monster, Mammoth and psychotic contortionist, Violet as well as the stilt-using kinky dwarf, Imp. There is a hell of a lot of imagination used in the creation of the characters mixing violence, horror and sex. However, they all pale in comparison to the character Belladonna.
Chances are, if you’ve played Thrill Kill you’re nodding along to the mention of Belladonna. She is the character that stands out but not for the right reasons.
Belladonna is a dominatrix with the outfits to boot too. A lot of her fighting moves are sexual in style and to make matters worse, she lets out orgasmic moans while she fights. If there was any point where you can maybe, just maybe understand why some people get a bit upset about sex and violence in games, Belladonna is it.
Fights take place in small arenas in Hell based on horrible real-world locations such as a sewer, a padded cell and a toilet. There are no energy bars, instead each has a kill meter. Landing hits, combos and moves on opponents will see the kill meter rise. The first character who get theirs full will become supercharged and able to finish off another opponent in one hit in a violent and bloody way.
This carries on until it’s one on one with the final player’s full bloodlust transforming via lightening bolts. This results in the final finisher pulled off being an extreme version depending on which character and button is pushed.
These finishing animations are cool and you’ll want to see them all but the rest of the moves? Lacking, lacking quite a bit. Moves can be strung together to make combos but in an arena with four fighters, you rarely get a hit or two in before someone is hitting you. It’s frantic, messy and very ugly to look at but it is fitting.
There are a couple of modes to play. Arcade, which serves as the single player content. As you work your way to victory beating room after room of opponents. There is the standard versus mode where you can fight against multiple players or the AI. Then there is Team Battle where you can fight in pairs sharing the same kill meter. Nothing out of the ordinary for a fighting game but welcome considering its unreleased state.
Had Thrill Kill been released, it would barely be remembered today. While the imagination involved results in a unique looking game, it’s ultimately got nothing else really going for it. It’s just a so-so fighting game that courted a load of controversy and now has a cult following.
The Final Score - 5/10