Genre: First person shooter, cyber commando, dinosaurs shooting lasers
Release Date: 2013
Developer / Publisher: Ubisoft
In the year 2007, in the aftermath of nuclear war, Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt, a Mark IV Cyber Commando, is sent to a mysterious island to investigate the nefarious activities of Colonel Sloan. Rex served under Sloan way back… With the help of the voluptuous Dr Elizabeth Veronica Darling, Rex takes on his former commander, his army of Omega Force cyborg soldiers and a bestiary of mutant dinosaurs. Armed with unmatched sense of humour and bigger than big bazookas, Rex must “get the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the world”.
Playability: Shoot and blast with big bazookas
Blood Dragon’s initial tutorial and user interface may well crawl down the annals of gaming jest. Rex can perform flawless shuriken take downs, drive armoured Range Rovers up precipices, jump off cliffs without harm, man wrestle cretaceous sharks, jet ski through serpent infested seas… Most of this is rendered smoothly without the need for irritating keyboard mouse combinations. Just aim and click, the job’s done. Blood Dragon may lack finesse but it is eminently playable.
Annoyance: Nasty blood thirsty T-Rex
The cunningly intelligent Tyrannosauruses bred for war are the stars of Blood Dragon. They breathe fire and shoot atomic lasers… and they will mercilessly hunt you down even on easy setting. To have a slim chance of bringing down the ponderous carnivores, Rex (the super soldier) will need to grind his way through a long list of repetitive side quests in order to upgrade weapons and ammunition. After the first few liberated garrisons and freed scientists, the cyclical process becomes rather tedious. Collecting hidden television sets, VHS tapes and research notes is tiresome and distracts from the action packed main plot.
Beauty: Purple haze
Instead of cutscenes, Blood Dragon has pixelated 1980s snippets to tell the main story. It is an effective but a rather cheap way to keep software costs down. Gameplay uses the excellent Far Cry 3 engine: it is sleek and smooth. An appropriate Miami Vice purple haze hangs over the scenery, and dollops of fluorescent colours are painted across anything that moves or doesn’t. Outstanding voice acting by Michael Biehn is supported by a soundtrack Reminiscent of Escape from New York and Terminator. Blood Dragon has the tropes of a fake real low budget hard hitting indie cult production.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Joyously bloody trail of gore 7/10
Unlike its more illustrious Far Cry cousins, Blood Dragon doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It is very good at playing dumb and smartly wears the garbs of a low budget action B flick. The wit of Rex the Super Soldier is an even match for the laughter of Rex the Dinosaur. In fact, Blood Dragon is a smart endeavour that goes straight to the dragon’s eye: fun without the end of world angst so prevalent in post traumatic gaming. Blood Dragon is short enough so you won’t get tired of its humour, yet fastidious gamers will have plenty of collectibles and side quests to keep them busy.