The story's weirdly assembled, too, veering from genuinely offensive video nasty to clear-eyed Saturday-cartoon moralising and back again like a deranged marketing exec trying to retcon Pikachu into Evil Dead. If it happened in the '80s, throw it in, seems to be the thinking, but while it's fun to spot the references this wouldn't have felt coherent even in Thatcher's day and there are a few flashes of prejudice that would have been better left to history.
Yet it's the story that makes the game worth buying. Not because it's original, just the opposite: it so shamelessly steals elements from its source material that you can't help but laugh when you see them recreated in those lo-fi cutscenes. Bizarrely, this makes it a very easy game to spoil: hearing the jokes in advance will ruin the moment, particularly the peak incoherence of the final battle, a perfectly idiotic tour de force that makes up for the fact that every previous significant event takes place in cutscenes. If you have even the faintest memory of Cringer, Clarence Boddicker, or Commando then know that you'll enjoy it, and set aside an evening to see it all before somebody ruins the surprise.
Like its VHS inspiration, then, it's worth playing Blood Dragon to indulge in 80s nostalgia and tick off the list of cliches, and the story's over quickly enough that it doesn't wear out its second-hand jokes. That Ubisoft saw fit to make a shooter for laughs is enormously commendable, and a step that we hope others will follow. But its commitment to dumbing down means that this is a pure-bred B-game rather than all-star A-lister.
Hilarious nostalgia, but a bit too dumb
- Perfect soundtrack
- Steals from the best
- Commendably bonkers
- A bit boring underneath it all
- Overly keen on being stupid