The player starts by rolling some dice in order to create their very own version of our plucky, taciturn hero. Attributes are pretty basic and cover things like overall health, the amount of radiation or venom you can withstand and your skill with guns or stabby things. They are set by rolling dice (on the computer, not actual dice, this is 2013) and the number used depends on the difficulty level that you have chosen. I was actually thinking about picking easy or medium as I remember this game being particularly tricky to complete but it says that hard is the same as the original game, so that really only left me with one option. You can play on easy if you like, nobody's judging.
It is at this point that you also determine how much equipment you can take with you and get to choose the categories that it comes from. This bit is a little like Countdown "I'll have one hand to hand weapon, a heavy weapon and two from the clothing pile please Rachel." In fact the whole equipment thing is a bit weird. You are humanity's last hope, the fate of the world rests upon your broad, broad shoulders and if you're unlucky you can be sent to almost certain death with a small knife, some wire cutters and a pair of glasses. You'd think that the shadowy general who guilt trips you into this whole mess would at least give you the bloody chainsaw that you're named after but no, apparently that’s not part of the deal.
Anyway you are soon equipped with your pitiful collection and sent off into a huge building containing the living embodiment of pure evil. I imagine everybody else gives you a hearty slap on the back and wishes you well, but nobody comes with you, which might have helped to be honest. The way the game works is that you have 108 cards split into 2 decks. Darkness, the baddie, is always in the 2nd deck and so you have to get through to that in order to fight him. Cards contain various things; zombies and other monsters to fight, traps to avoid and the very rare supply drop (which makes you to fall to your knees and thank the Lord above for His great mercy). Combat is commonplace and uses dice rolls to determine who wins and enemies range from the ever-present zombies to the fearsome and pretty gruesome Meat Machine. Your equipment helps you to overcome obstacles and kill monsters but you will never be able to get past everything and you are sometimes even forced to backtrack out of the building in order to find another way forward, which is particularly galling.
And I'm not casting aspersions here, but you should probably prepare yourself for frequent failure as there are lots of ways to die in Chainsaw Warrior. For a start there's a time limit because, obviously, Ultimate Evil runs on a schedule. You have 60 minutes to save the world and each turn of a card uses up 30 seconds. This means that it will take at least 27 minutes to get through the first deck even if everything goes great (it won't) and once the 60 minutes are up then the world is destroyed. Of course there are also more traditional ways to die - too much chomping from zombies, too much venom from zombies and too much radiation from everything else - and then, of course,there are the traps. Some just delay you, some hurt you and some hurt you, delay you and then destroy your precious equipment. Being a Chainsaw Warrior is no life.
It's got to be said that Auroch digital have done a great job of transferring this old board game to modern equipment. The cards are exactly the same as they were back in the day, with 80s gems like the Laser Lance all still there and effects have also been added for when you are infected with venom or use items like the flash bombs. The interface can be a little bit clunky sometimes, especially when you are asked to choose the same weapon over and over again for every round of combat but I'm not sure how else this could have been done. The game itself works in exactly the same way as it always did and, as far as I can see, this hasn't been changed at all. I'm not sure whether that is a testament to the original or to Auroch digital but whatever, more power to them.
Chainsaw Warrior is a great recreation of a cult classic. It works really well on mobile devices, is perfectly suited to being played in short bursts and offers a range of difficulty levels for the easily discouraged. What's more it only costs £2.99 and there are no in-app purchases of any kind, which is good for my blood pressure. You should remember that I did play this a lot in my room as a 14 year old (probably whilst listening to Janet Jackson) so my views are always going to be tinged with a certain amount of nostalgia, but I would heartily recommend this to anybody who fancies something a bit different. It may be very difficult and very random but it is also a highly polished version of a great game and, most of all, it's fun.