: Hotline Miami!

Hotline Miami is a game by Dennaton Games that is about one thing: Murdering peopl- Wait, come back, dissaproving parents! It’s not what it seems, it’s not just about murdering people, at no point does the game swing the camera round to the best angle to watch a kill and then yell “PHWOAAAAR” as you finish off some poor sap in a spectacularly dramatic and gory manner (Which would be quite hard to do, seeing as the game is done in the style of an 80’s retro 8-bit style arcade game)! Instead the game is about planning your route carefully, and then executing it with pinpoint precision. Although yes, the combat is rather fast, brutal, and rather visceral. But trust me, the only time I ever react to video-game violence is to wince at the more painful deaths, I haven’t been brainwashed and been turned into a cat-strangling psychopath.

So now that I’ve danced around that issue, I’ll talk about the actual game if you don’t mind. You play as a silent, unnamed masked hitman that picks up contracts on his answer machine (No mobile phones yet, we’re talking about 1987 here). Not much is given about the seemingly emotionless protagonist, but between missions you have these little sections reminding you that even people like him lead normal lives as well. These are normally just parts where you go to pick up a pizza or have a drink at a bar after you’ve finished a job, but it makes you think about it. Another interesting aspect is that you rescue some poor woman in one of the early missions and when you wake up and listen to your answer machine at the start of the mission she’s there in your apartment, and it goes from being a messy wreck to a clean, tidy, nice place to live. However (Spoiler warning) that kind of stops when somebody breaks into your apartment and shoots you both, but how can you not see that coming? Twisted versions of you in your masks taunt you in your dreams occasionally, making you wonder what effect the hitman’s job is having on him. Now, the actual missions.

The missions are simple: They are made up of a few floors in a building which need to be cleared of enemies, which are always just people that work for the mafia etc. so you aren’t just mindlessly stabbing hordes of innocent civilians like in Grand Theft Auto. The gameplay is fast, unforgiving, and VERY challenging. Everything kills you in a single hit, but thankfully works both ways. Possibly one of the most useful things in the game are doors.  Instead of opening them like a normal person you throw them open with such force they can knock someone to the ground so that you can finish them off, take their weapon and continue your carefully thought-out rampage through the building, which is probably going to be cut short because you beat someone to death with a pipe but someone shot you while you were halfway through doing it. If you don’t think long and hard about it, you WILL DIE, but dying is half of the fun, in my opinion. This may make the game seem inaccessible for some people, but those people are probably the same people that prefer games that hold your hand throughout the experience. I won’t name any particular games, but let’s just say one of them has the abbreviation COD (Now watch as the comment section of my blog bursts out into a large, violent argument). Guns, unsurprisingly, alert almost everyone to your position, which can mean trouble if some of them are also brandishing firearms. You can also throw your weapon if need be, which can either kill or briefly incapacitate and enemy allowed for you to finish them off, preferably with a baseball bat. At the end of every mission you get scored on various things such as flexibility and boldness. The more points you unlock, the more weapons you get. Occasionally you unlock new masks that do interesting new things like faster exec

The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, and fits it’s purpose like a glove. It makes the entire experience a lot more enjoyable, because what’s the point of going through the trouble of clearing out a building full of gang members with a frying pan if your ears are bleeding by the end of it? Another interesting thing is that it can go from a funky, upbeat pulsating rhythm to a slow, queasy one for one of those story sections where your masks are taunting you etc. I would pay the full £7 just for the soundtrack, if possible (Don’t try and pin that on me).

The graphics- Well, I don’t really need to say anything here. What? You expected me to write a paragraph on the graphics of an 8-bit game? Do you know what it looks like? Here!

You see? Ugh, fine. So yeah, the bright neon colours fit very well with the nostalgic 8-bit design yadayadayada. There.

Well, that was Hotline Miami, you can pick it up on steam for the low low price of £7 or your regional equivalent and possibly sanity.

Frank

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Everybody do the dinosaur: Primal Carnage (Beta)!

 

Before we start, I just need to warn you that I may or may not be flattering this game because it has dinosaurs in it.

Primal Carnage isn’t particularly complicated: You’re a dinosaur or a human, and you have to kill the other team. Dinosaurs get special abilities such as pouncing and flight, and humans get guns along with some interesting stuff such as a net gun. Now the first problem you might think is “This game will fail! Who would want to be a stupid boring human!?” Well, humans get the aforementioned interesting stuff, such as the trapper’s net gun, which can trap small dinosaurs so you can finish them off with your knife, and stop large dinosaurs such as the Carnotaurus and T-Rex (That’s right, T-Rex) from biting.

Each team has five classes: Humans have Commando (Machine gun and grenade launcher) Pathfinder (Shotgun and flares for blinding dinosaurs) Scientist (Sniper and dart gun for confusing dinosaurs) and the trapper (Netgun for disabling dinosaurs and a revolver and desert eagle) to choose from. Teamwork is encouraged, almost essential, especially when you’re being watched by a pack of hungry Raptors or Pterodactyls. Pathfinders set down flares to blind most dinosaurs, scientists take down pterodactyls and whittle away at some of the bigger dinosaurs, pyro runs round softening up dinosaurs, commando opens fire on the T-rex and the Carnotaurs, and the Trapper runs round taking down the raptors, Dilophosaurus, and low flying Pterodactyls. Simple.

Then there’s the DINOSAURS. They can choose from Pterodactyls (They can fly round, grab humans then fly back up and drop them), Raptors (Clawing at humans and pouncing on them, which is pretty much INSTANT DEATH if you aren’t in a group), Dilophosaurus (They run round blinding people by spitting at them and wearing them down with their poisonous bite), Carnotaurus (Charging round knocking people over and sending them flying with headbutts) and finally the T-REX! You can only have one for every ten players, so you only ever get two, and they’re absolute beasts (Pun fully intended). They can instantly kill every character in the game just by biting or trampling them, they can soak up tons of bullets, and they regain health when they eat humans. They all have strengths and weakness, for example the scientist is pretty much useless at short range and the T-Rex is slow and can’t get into some area, which makes gameplay very varied and exciting.

The graphics are very pretty, the foliage and trees look beautiful and are excellent hiding places, and character models are particularly detailed, most noticeably the T-Rex (Probably because he’s so huge) It’s very colourful and vibrant, with rays of sun poking through the canopy and lighting up the jungle floor. The levels are generally quite good, but airbase makes no sense. This is because it’s AT NIGHT and IT’S RAINING so you can’t see anything.

Mechanically everything is solid as concrete and everything has it’s own little niche in the game, and my only real problem reads as: OH GOD PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD FIX THE COLLISION DETECTION ON THE T-REX BECAUSE IT GOES THROUGH WALLS LIKE CASPER! Now that’s over… So, the game is brilliant, you can preorder it on Steam (Probably buy by the time you read this, it’s out in a few days)!

Frank