You know, starting reviews, it’s the hardest bit. I’m sure I’ve suggested that before, the rest of it sort of flows along nicely once it’s started. There might be some editing along the way, and I’ll probably re-read it three or four times before it gets published, but starting them, that’s the hard bit. With Guns, Gore and Cannoli, starting is the easy bit. It’s the putting it down that’s the hard part.
Crazy Monkey Studios released Guns, Gore and Cannoli on PC back in April this year and the studio have thankfully brought the prohibition pain to the Xbox One. You’re a mob enforcer, tasked with bringing in a goodfella who has gone missing. The fictional craziness of Thugtown is the setting, but in the opening sequences, it’s clear that something is very wrong in the city.
The game starts by throwing you in at the deep end. This side-scrolling shooting platformer will have you wringing your controller out as you try to despatch the foes shambling, running and even crawling at you. The game seems simple enough. You control Vinnie, who’s armed initially with a simple 12 shot pistol with endless ammo. As you progress through the game, you can pick up much better weapons with which to kill off these annoying enemies. The enemies? Well, for the most part, these nemeses are zombies. Something awful has happened in Thugtown and the residents are revolting.
Despite this setback, Vinnie Cannoli is a man on a mission and he’s determined to finish it. The game has already started you on a destructive path to your quarry, you may as well finish it. It reflects the mindset of Vinnie perfectly and makes you feel pangs of guilt if you even think about giving it a rest. The enemies come thick and fast though, with each one having a set attack pattern. You’ll need to pick up their habits quickly if you want to survive long enough to waste some other gangster sap who dares to get in your way.
The zombies are well drawn and excellently animated, mixing that cartoon, comic style with the gore of the undead. Indeed, the graphics overall are wonderful. A veritable symphony of prohibition style cafés, alleyways, speakeasy, and other mostly destructible scenery awaits as you’ll progress through the backstreets of Thugtown in your goal of getting to your squealer, then getting him the fudge out of Dodge. Harvey Keitel couldn’t have put it any better.
Indeed, the wisecracks and fairly constant jabber from Vinnie as he wastes yet another zombie waiter will initially make you smile. As you progress through the game though, and the same wisecracks start coming out, it’s like going from Die Hard all the way through to Die Hard 5 all in one morning. The zombies don’t offer much in the way of conversation either, but along the way, as part of the story, Vinnie meets various folk looking for some help or looking for a fight. You’ll get a bit of dialogue from them, but it’s a lot of the same noises from the same looking bad guys.
The game is accompanied by a 1920s inspired soundtrack that really isn’t intrusive on the game and the weapon effects add that little bit of extra realism to the dying splat of the various zombie horde. The horde has a number of elements to it too. The usual cast of thousands includes ‘20s prostitutes, American Football players, waiters, thugs, police officers, ordinary members of the public and a bizarre Lou Ferrigno, Fatima Whitbread hybrid zombie that tries to rush you into submission. Every now and again you’ll come across a harder to kill sub-boss. There are barrel throwing workmen and cleaver hurling butchers that are much larger than the usual zombies and are harder to kill. Once you do manage to kill these, it’s best to jump clear as these will explode in a blood-based plasma mess, taking some of your health with it.
That’s one of the things that sets this game apart from other 2D zombie killers, it’s not a one bite kills all. You have a health bar that you can replenish with some strategically placed yummy Cannoli. The drops for these are few and far between, although you do tend to get them dropped either on a boss level, or just before you enter that arena, which is always handy! Also dotted throughout the levels are bus-stop style save points. These also tend to have Cannoli dropped close by and if you die you’ll need it as you’ll drop back into these save points with little or no health, which can be annoying.
The weapon pick-ups you find are mainly concentrated in the early part of the game and ammo is initially fairly frequent, but becomes more and more scarce as the game progresses, making selecting the correct weapon very important later on in the story. The game isn’t just pigeon-holed into a single player campaign though, oh no. There’s a co-op multiplayer to get your Cannoli-covered teeth into as well, giving you twice the firepower and half the amusement in the wise-cracks.
Guns, Gore and Cannoli, overall has the feel of a prohibition Metal Slug. It takes many elements of the shooter and shoe-horns them into the 1920s. It has an impressive array of weapons, from sidearms to flamethrowers, with grenades and Molotov cocktails all thrown into the pot as well with a nice mix of enemies and platforming fun. The story clips along at a decent pace, just enough to stop the wise-cracks from getting boring.
The long and short of Guns, Gore and Cannoli is that it’s a very polished and playable 2D side scrolling shooter, you’ll like it and as long as you pay your respects to the Don, it’ll like you. The dialogue does get tiresome after a while but the return play value more than makes up for it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have wise-guys to whack.
[rprogress value=79 text=”TiX Score 79%”]
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