Risk seems to be missing from the video game world these days. The industry is littered with safe sequels and remakes. So when an experimental game like Konami's Katamari Damacy or THQ's Deadly Creatures appears, it's a refreshing exercise, even if it's not always a successful one.

Risk seems to be missing from the video game world these days. The industry is littered with safe sequels and remakes. So when an experimental game like Konami's Katamari Damacy or THQ's Deadly Creatures appears, it's a refreshing exercise, even if it's not always a successful one.

Deadly Creatures is experimental in many ways. While non-human characters are not uncommon in video games, it's hard to recall the last game that featured non-anthropomorphic versions of animals in a game that could just as easily use human characters.

This game breaks that mold by featuring two realistic animals who serve as witnesses and carry out their own struggle to survive and dominate in their animal world in the shadow of the giants.

The deadly creatures are the scorpion and the tarantula. Players alternate between the two, fighting rival animals and special foes like the rattlesnake while earning new combat moves and power-up abilities.

It's a mark of effective storytelling that the game tells its tale with only environmental comments. The main characters don't speak, but they hear characters voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper as they narrate their quest to uncover lost Civil War gold.

Gameplay is mixed, with the action-oriented elements handled by the scorpion and the tarantula tackling more open-world, stealth-style play. There are relatively few puzzles and the exploration is fairly constricted and linear, never giving the feel of a sandbox title.

Visually, this is a banner example of pushing the envelope on the Wii. The settings, while employing a lot of darkness and every imaginable shade of brown, feel realistic. The creatures are animated with believable movements and they're rendered in great detail, including the many hairs on the tarantula's limbs and the individual scales of the rattler.

Even the Wiimote control is not overly gimmicky and only occasionally resorts to wild flinging to achieve a move. Occasionally the 3D camera will hang up and the smooth frame rate seems to stutter, but overall the game is solid and helps rather than hinders the player.

Deadly Creatures is a good reason to step away from pedestrian Wii mini-game collections, and it serves as an example of what a good third-party game for the console should be.