Wednesday, 12 February 2014

REVIEW - Gun Godz (PC)

Hip-Hop Wolfenstein 3D, Y'all

We all love a bit of good old fashioned first person shooter action, don't we? Id Software's pioneering Wolfenstein 3D was not only an impressive tech-demo for the PC, but also a damn good game, thanks to the speedy pace, and no-nonsense, shoot-em-up action. It was released over 20 years ago, yet is still just as fun today as it ever was. Are we really going to say the same about the ever-tedious plethora of military shooters we are inundated with today? The fact that user made mods and levels are still being made for Wolf3D (as I always affectionately remember it thanks to the DOS commands needed to run it) shows that many gamers enjoy a back-to-basics murder-fest, that does away with all the story-heavy, Q.T.E. and linear hand-holding of modern FPS titles. 

As well as the many excellent mods for both Wolf3D and its follow up, Doom, talented indie developer, Locomalito, gave us an exceptionally fun homage in the form of 8-bit Killer, a straight-up action FPS with a decidedly 8-bit NES vibe. But I recently discovered another retro-themed FPS on the market, one with a gangster hip-hop flavour. Coming from Vambleer, the guys who brought us recent indie titles like Ridiculous Fishing and Nuclear Throne, GunGodz was originally created in 2012 as a promotional game for video game, art and music website, Venus Patrol, but is now freely available from Vambleer's website. 

Gun Godz has a fantastic retro visual style that combines pixellated sprites with a colourful polished look that only a modern system could produce. The movement is super slick, with a frantic pace coupled with super smooth scrolling. There are four main stages, each containing three levels and a short bonus stage, each with a unique look. While initially you only fight a couple of different enemy types, more are soon introduced, and it isn't long before you are battling a multitude of foes, from shotgun wielding teddy bear creatures, floating eyeballs and rocket firing behemoths, to Uzi firing female turtles. You begin, as is the norm, with a pistol, but find new guns along the way, all familiar staples of the genre such as the double barreled shotgun and mini-gun. Each is a joy to use, and mowing down the monstrosities you face is incredibly satisfying. Everything is kept super simple, allowing you to simple run riot through the stages, blasting critters, nabbing the health and ammo pickups and making your way to the exit elevator. Accompanying the slaughter is a sick (I am informed this is the correct term) soundtrack of Hip-Hop beats, heavy subs, electronic melodies and gangster rapping. The rapping is provided by Finland's Jukio 'Kozilek' Kallio and Adam 'Doseone' Drucker, who hails from the US of A. Jukio's takes the innovative, and somewhat brave, step of rapping in a made up 'Venusian' language, meaning you won't understand any of the words. But somehow, it works and, combined with the electro beats and Trap bass, is the perfect backing track to the mayhem that ensues.

Gun Godz is, how can I put this? Fucking awesome! It scratches the Wolf3d / Doom itch perfectly, and puts appalling new 'old school' FPS games like Wrack and the Rise of the Triad reboot to shame. There is absolutely no unnecessary crap added on, its pure run and gun action and will keep you totally hooked until its all-too-soon end. The length of the game is literally the only fault I can level at Gun Godz, with only 12 fairly short stages on offer. But it was always intended as a free game to promote a website, so from that perspective there is a generous amount of content for you to sink your teeth into. There are a couple of boss battles chucked in too which may kick your ass a few times, and each level awards a rating out of three, so there's plenty of replay value for perfectionists and speedrunners.

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this game, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good old fashioned first person shooters, especially those with a bass heavy soundtrack. If Gun Godz had been produced as a full game, appearing for sale on Steam with triple the amount of levels, more guns and more enemies to go with it, then it would be one of the best indie PC games ever. But beggars can't be choosers, so I am enjoying what is here, and I suggest grabbing a copy right away!

Title : Gun Godz
Developer : Vambleer
Year : 2012
System : PC
Price : Free
Genre : First Person Shooter

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