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Reviews

Bloody Good Time

Can the cumbersome comedy kill-fest carve itself a place on XBLA?

Pioneering toilets in videogame history: Duke Nukem brought flushable loos, Half-Life 2's bogs doubled as deadly projectiles, and now Bloody Good Time makes taking a dump an essential means of defence. A fresh plop means your damage resistance is at its max; a full bowel leaves you dangerously fragile.

If answering the call of nature in the middle of a multiplayer first-person shooter sounds inconvenient - it is. In fact, there's much about the well-intentioned Bloody Good Time that doesn't work with the FPS template. Crapping aside, this is an elaborate game of subterfuge inspired by old-school murder mysteries and more recent slasher pics: would-be actors face-off for the director's delight, each given a target to hunt around a filmset. But it quickly gets complicated: simply killing your quarry isn't enough - you have to do it in style, finding weapons of a suitably high star rating before delivering them into your competitor's spine. The rating of each weapon drops every time it's used, encouraging you to seek new methods of execution, including luring your prey into dastardly environmental traps.

Director's rut

Zoom

That's only the tip of the iceberg, however - there are so many extraneous rules and modifiers that the FPS structure creaks with the pressure. The major irritant is the demand to keep your character's needs satisfied - you'll have to find and eat food, take regular naps, and squeeze off logs with fair frequency.

If you don't, you'll deal weak blows, move slowly and wilt under the most meagre assault - while farting copiously. AI security guards, meanwhile, will taser you and confiscate weaponry if they see you doing anything untoward.

The result is that the game's flow shudders and starts - a ponderous affair punctuated by sudden bouts of extremely messy and imprecise combat. Careful planning is undermined by clunky mechanics: melee attacks flail wildly past your opponents and gunfire offers no sense of connection. The slasher movie theme is an amusing one and the paranoia it creates is an interesting pressure - but the FPS just can't carry the role.

The verdict

This video nasty just isn't up to snuff

  • Cool cat-and-mouse idea
  • Creates great paranoia
  • Tedious makework involved
  • Flabby, messy, arbitrary combat
  • Too many unnecessary rules
5

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