Matt Hazard: Blood Bath & Beyond

This is the only way I could possibly start my review of Matt Hazard: BBB: The history. For those unaware of Matt Hazard: He started out in our humble arcades way back in 1983, making his 8-bit way to home consoles in 1987, and eventually hit it big by being the first ever 3D game in 1992 (which ‘Wolfenstein’ and ‘Doom’ later stole). After this though he soon sunk into obscurity and released some mediocre Kart racing games and a poorly child-marketed flop ‘Choking Hazard’… or was a low-scoring game on the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3. Honestly even I find it hard to keep track of the back-story at this point.

The plot for Blood Bath & Beyond is simple enough; Matt’s arch enemy Marathon MegaCorp has kidnapped Matt Hazard’s former 8-bit self from the past in an overly elaborate plan to erase his entire future. Not a true mind-altering story, but the doors are wide open for parody and some fantastic one liners. Matt Hazard (AKA: YOU) must therefore shoot, gun, and blast your way through a series of colourful and imaginative chapters to rescue yourself. It really is as wacky and chuckle worthy as it sounds (heck, two of the difficulty settings I’m not even sure I’m allowed to write here! Let’s just say they contain a lot of *’s).

The locations include (but are not limited to): the lab from ‘Portal’, the rooftops of ‘Mirror’s Edge’, and underground caves with a shocking similarity to those within ‘Shadow Complex’. On the off chance you haven’t guessed it, Matt Hazard is nothing if not pure parody. Spouting some truly hilarious one-liners, including his trademarked catchphrase “IT’S HAZARD TIME!”, Matt Hazard delivers some great gamer related satire in game and with between-level text cutscenes. Even to the point where Matt Hazard warns his past self to add some extra months onto the development of ‘Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard’, because those reviews were going to be rough! If you’re not spurting Fanta up and out of your nose at the very least once throughout the entire game, I’d doubt your full blooded gamer claims.

Of course, I can’t write this review without bringing Contra into it. The gameplay is near identical to this side-scrolling 2D shooter of a bygone age, with the only notable exception being you can now fire into the background, cutting your enemies apart before they even reach the same plain of existence as you. Not that this is a bad thing, it infact works exceptionally well, although Blood Bath & Beyond also brought the difficulty along with it. Yes, you will die. Even with the co-op mode, you will die a LOT in Matt Hazard: BBB. I think my record was 25 times over the course of a single level (not chapter, level). Although with unlimited continues, losing all your lives does little more than taking a small chip off your gaming ego.

What we Hazard players are in it for though, strangely isn’t the gameplay (though don’t get me wrong, a Contra based system with local co-op is always welcome!). We’re after the chewy satire centre contained within. Matt Hazard: BBB oozes satire from every pixel by cracking-wise about every cliché in the gaming manual, skipping the tutorial on purpose because Matt hates them (it took me over 20 minutes to figure out what ‘G’ power-ups were!), and some sweet boss fights containing all kinds of crazy enemies (would you believe a giant, mechanic Rhino was one of the most sensible ones?!).

The only quibble I had with the game, would have to be the price-tag on it. 1,200 Microsoft Points just felt a bit too steep for it, had it been 800 MSP I’d be giving it full marks for wacky-arcade-action-gory-blood-filled fun! That being said, if you do jump in and give it a whirl, Matt Hazard: Blood Bath & Beyond defines what the XBLA and PSN were made for.







3 responses to “Matt Hazard: Blood Bath & Beyond”

  1. GraeXZ avatar

    is the character still voiced by Will Arnett? If so, it could sell me on the whole game

  2. DelTorroElSorrow avatar

    I tried the Trial and put it off after about a minute and a half. The targetting system was enough to make me not want to play this…

  3. Duncan avatar

    Yes. Yes it does still have Will Arnett. 🙂

    (I didn’t find any problems with the targeting system? :S)

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