(XBLA) Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond
Posted 3 years ago By - Zach R.
Matt Hazard’s back, and this time, he’s reliving his supposed classic forrays in gaming. Yes, D3 and Vicious Cycle are bringing back the faux retro-gaming hero for another go, this time on XBLA and PSN. It’s no secret that Matt’s first outing was less than stellar, but being that he’s an "old-school hero", perhaps the foul-mouthed action star might fare a bit better in the NES/SNES style side-scrolling era. That’s what we’re here to find out when Matt Hazard stars in Blood, Bath and Beyond.
Ol’ Matt is back, and for anyone who has played the original game, there is good news. While modern gaming certainly didn’t seem to be Matt’s strong suit, old-school Contra-esque shooters are definitely more his style. To be honest, the simple NES/SNES era shooter seems to be the perfect vehcile for Mr. Hazard. The humour is much sharper, the action isn’t nearly as tedious, and the nods to gaming through the years are more effective this time around.
Blood, Bath and Beyond’s action is fast and furious, offering as much challenge as it does laughs, (which I’ll get to later). Enemies come at you from all angles. Thankfully, you’ve got a wide range of motion and can one-shot kill most enemies, even in those hard to reach areas. You can even turn towards enemies in the background and wipe them out, which definitely comes in handy. In all, there isn’t much here that you haven’t seen before, but the mechanics are solid and the premise is a good excuse to return to the old-school style.
While there are three comically named difficulties, the only real difference you’ll find is the number of continues available, and enemies don’t seem to absorb as many bullets on the lowest difficulty. That said, if you’re expecting a cakewalk, allow me to burst that bubble and inform you that you will get spanked if you underestimate just how many enemies this game will throw at you at any given time. While it never gets overly frustrating, unlike some of the games it emulates, there’s a good chance you’ll still see a healthy amount of the Continue screen.
The only real mark against BBB, is that the game is extremely repetitive. Fans of classic shooters will have no trouble with that at all, but for those only familiar with the new school shooters out there, this may be more of a problem. Of course, the game is rated M, so the target audience will likely understand this, but for the sake of full disclosure, you’re going to want to know that run-and-gun, is pretty much all you’re going to be doing here.
That’s not to say the game isn’t enjoyable for all types of gamers. Overall, the little embellishments on the old formula, like the excessive blood spatters on the screen and the use of some humourous ragdoll physics, are entirely entertaining. Sure, the copious amounts of carnage is always welcome, but what makes the game much more entertaining is its self-deprecating sense of humour. Matt and company are constantly referencing the previous games poor reviews and lacklustre performance, to great effect.
Graphics & Sound
While old-school is the name of the game, the visuals give the game a slightly more modern feel. The animations are pretty stiff, (until you pump a baddy full of lead, that is), but that’s likely intentional. As mentioned earlier, the amount of blood, as well as body parts being thrown across the screen, are a nice touch, and look brutally awesome.
Level designs tend to pay homage to some great games of the past and present, with nods to Bioshock, Team Fortress 2 and others. There’s actually a surprising amount of detail here. While it’s not the best looking game on the market, again it’s the little things that Vicious Cycle threw in that make it worth a look.
There isn’t much to speak of when it comes to audio. The soundtrack is barely noticeable over the amount of gunfire in a level. In between rounds of fire, you’ll hear the odd quip from Matt. Unfortunately, while they’re initially chuckle inducing, they become repetitive fairly quickly.
If you’ve got a friend, you can play the game in co-op but true to the old-school aesthetic of the game, it’s local multiplayer only. This is a bit of an oversight, as it really should have been playable online, but it’s still a decent experience with a friend. However, being that the game runs at $15 a pop, giving up a little online love would have been a welcome addition.
An over the top homage to gamings past, Blood, Bath and Beyond repairs Matt’s reputation as a gaming badass. Spot on humour and a penchant for gore make this easily recommendable to anyone who loved 8-bit shooters back in the day.
+ Humour is spot on this time around
+ 2D nods to some great games evident in level design
+ Challenging, but not ridiculously so
- Gameplay also gets repetitive
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Release Date : 2010/01/06
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : D3 Publisher of America
Developer : Vicious Cycle
Category : Action
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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8.7 / 10