MODEST RUSSIAN DAMAGE.
When I recall some of my fondest memories of gaming when I was young, one that comes to mind is how me and a friend of mine would beat Turtles in Time on SNES at least once a week.
Sure, we were poor kids and didn’t have many games to play at the time, but we always had a blast playing games like Turtles in Time and Streets of Rage. In fact, back then I would say that beat-em-ups were easily my second favorite genre next to platformers.
Unfortunately, the genre has been on the decline for over a decade, and even though we get gems like Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World once in awhile, the good can be counted on one hand.
So, when I saw a quick preview of Mother Russia Bleeds with its intense ultra-violence and interesting title, I thought that this could be one of the good ones.
After some time spent bleeding in mother Russia, I’ll say that while it certainly isn’t terrible, it leaves much to be desired on multiple fronts.
Multiplayer: Local only
Played: 3~ Hours
Captured and pumped full of an unknown drug, the gang escapes and is out for revenge and they’ll eviscerate and disembowel everyone that stands in their way to some answers.
If that premise seems simple, that’s because it is, and really, what did you expect? It’s a 2D sidescroller beat-em-up. The genre isn’t exactly known for its stellar narrative and compelling characters, as Mother Russia Bleeds carries on this trend with a throwaway story/characters.
As for the combat, it’s a rather simple brawler with a punch, kick, jump, grab and dash button. The dash can be combined with a punch or a kick for quick knockdown attack that covers a lot of distance and when an enemy is grabbed, they can be beaten into submission in place or thrown into a crowd of enemies.
There’s also the mechanic of the drug that serves as a way the player can heal or use a secondary effect that works something along the lines of a frenzy mode.
The secondary effect can be modified by selecting a different drug when selecting the character, but they must first be unlocked before they can be used.
Outside the story mode, there is an endless arena mode and an online leader board, which is fairly standard for games in the genre.
One thing that’s missing is online multiplayer, which is a huge omission considering this is definitely a title best played in co-op with a buddy or, failing that, a stranger via matchmaking.
I was also given the option to add a bot as a partner but they proved less than stellar, and I found them to be dead on the ground waiting to be resurrected during every boss encounter.
The combat itself also felt dull rather quickly because most of the enemies could be stun-locked indefinitely by simply mashing the punch button, and even though I varied up my combos, I felt like I was actually taking longer than I needed to in most cases by just not mashing the punch button.
Fortunately, there are a good variety of pick-up weapons ranging from baseball bats to guns, which alleviated some of the tedium, and the boss fights included some neat mechanics involving environmental damage which was nice to see. However, I felt myself growing bored of the game after an hour or so doing the same thing.
I also encountered a glitch where my AI partner was tackled by a dog and became immobile, which made it so that I could not scroll the screen, forcing me to reload to an earlier checkpoint.
Mother Russia Bleeds has a great title and a unique look with its ugly and yet beautiful 2D sprites. Unfortunately, the combat gets dull rather quickly, and with the lack of online multiplayer, it’s a difficult game to recommend to anyone but the true enthusiasts of the genre.
Fun Tidbit – There’s some novelty in punching people’s heads off while the screen mimics what I imagine being on LSD is like but even that gets old after awhile.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.