Review: Bloody Good Time

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The next game on my list is Bloody Good Time. It’s very different from The Adventures of Shuggy, and that’s just as well: I don’t want to play through 26 identical games. Bloody Good Time is a first-person shooter developed by the guys that made The Ship.

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The tone of the game is set in the introduction. A shady director is looking for actors to play in his true-to-life movies. You are one of them, thrown into a bloody murder party that forces you to kill or to be killed. The concept should be familiar to those of you who played The Ship. Unlike The Ship and its the luxury liner setting, Bloody Good Time offers three maps themed after movie sets: a horror mansion, a casino and a beach resort. That’s not much, but they are large enough to keep you entertained a few hours. Also new is the ability to choose a character from the eight possible choices. Each character is inspired from typical B-movie roles: surfer, clown, beach babe, goth, bunny girl, showgirl, gambler and stoner. They are purely cosmetic choices and have no effect on gameplay

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Chilling on the beach is actually a ‘must’ in Bloody Good Time!

Your aim as an actor is to earn fame points, represented by golden stars in the game. To do this, you have to kill other players using a weapon (some weapons earn you more fame than others) or traps, while hiding from the security guards and cameras. You will not earn any fame if security witnesses your murder and guards will try to zap you and confiscate your weapon. Additional fame can be gained by boasting to other players before killing your target or by humiliating the body after the deed is committed. Throughout the game, you also have to make sure that your basic needs (sleep, hunger and bladder) are satisfied. Keeping them at a high level will grant you bonuses such as increased speed or defence and neglecting them will do the opposite. The mini-map will direct you towards places where you can fulfil your needs and will indicate the weapons’ location and fame reward.

The limited number of maps is somewhat mitigated by the availability of 4 different game modes: Hunt, Elimination, Revenge and Deathmatch. You can either play solo versus AI bots or online (Internet or LAN). However, the multi-player community is long since extinct and most of the time you’ll see a handful of empty servers.

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Infected mode, or how to put zombies in a totally unrelated game.

Hunt mode has two goals: kill the target you are assigned and avoid being killed by your hunter. Be careful, even after you’ve murdered your quarry you are still being hunted. Elimination is an ordered fight to the death; players are required to kill each other until only one remains, but they are only allowed to kill one target at a time – just like in Hunt mode. Revenge is probably the craziest mode. Your target is the last person who killed you, then the second-last, etc. If a player murders a lot of people, things quickly get out of hand as everyone tries to take revenge on the same person. This makes for confusing yet awesome encounters! Deathmatch mode is just what it says: killing open bar. You can murder everyone, earning fame as you do.

When you hold the Scene Stealer statue, everyone's out to get you!

When you hold the Scene Stealer statue, everyone’s out to get you!

There are also some bonus scenes that occur when you play the others (except Deathmatch). Infected is the game’s zombie mode; I don’t know why developers feel obliged to make them. A contagious disease has infected some actors who, to be cured, have to touch another one. Healthy actors have to run away from them, or kill them. It’s fun the first few times, but it gets old really quickly. Blood Money is the deathmatch bonus scene where you gain fame from killing any other actor. Hunt The Leader is a very interesting concept. All the players try to kill the current leader, when one does she gains some fame while the leader loses some. This means that the leader can change quite easily, which makes the scene great at equalizing the score. Scene Stealer is the bonus scene that occurs at the end of Hunt matches. A golden Oscar-like statue drops somewhere on the map. The player who holds it must escape the others who will try to steal it from her. While she holds it, she gains fame points, but she cannot use weapons to defend from rivals.

The fame awarded for using each weapon changes every round.

The fame awarded for using each weapon changes every round.

To kill other players, there is a wide array of weapons at your disposal. The usual assault rifle and revolver are present, but one can also use close combat weapons (knife, katana, fireman axe, etc.), explosives (remote charges) or totally wacky weapons like an remote-controlled explosive rat or a frying pan. In addition, the movie sets contain various traps which can be used to kill your opponents. Among those are acid showers, pitfalls and electrocution of swimming pools. Even though it fun to use them at the beginning, you very quickly learn which areas to avoid and the traps are therefore not very effective against experienced players. Players also have murder aids at their disposal. These are non-lethal tools that you can use to set up traps for other players. For instance, there’s a glue gun, a lullaby sheep or a weapon-stealing magnet.

The gameplay suffers from several minor inconveniences which quickly become massive put-offs. First, every match starts with about a minute of free time which is, I guess, supposed to be used to collect weapons. I don’t see how it’s useful since most of the weapons the player will use are picked during the rounds. Letting people start without weapons to make them run to get one would have avoided this long buffer time. Second, the game can be both really dynamic and really dull. When you are killed in Elimination mode or when you’ve killed your target and been killed by your hunter in Hunt mode, you have nothing more to do while the timer runs the rest of its course. Auto-calculating the end of the match would have been more fun, I believe, and it would have avoided breaking the pace of the player. Of course, that’s only do-able in single-player.

Art

The game uses Valve’s Source engine, so there are no surprises here. The game runs well on even modest PCs, but it’s not going to blow your eyes out of awe. The graphics are cartoon and TF2 characters wouldn’t feel out of place in the game. If anything, the burlesque atmosphere is well done.

The music does its job, but you’re not going to remember it after you’re done with the game.

TL;DR

The game is not bad, it is even quite fun for the first few hours. However, the dead multi-player, a couple of annoying design faults and the limited number of maps and game modes does not make for a long game. If you enjoyed The Ship, you probably should pick this up for the experience, but otherwise I’m afraid I can’t advise buying the game unless you have friends to play it with – in which case you’d have a blast.

Bloody Good Time. Outerlight & Ubisoft. 2010. PC & Xbox 360. $4.99 or 4.99€.

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