Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard
Imagine that game characters lead a virtual life next to the games. From their Hollywood style villas they look at life with pink glasses and spend their money on a lot of blingbling. Unfortunately not every game protagonist has it equally easy, something that’s also the case with Matt Hazard, a fallen game hero from the eighties.
The fictive Matt Hazard started his career in the arcade halls in a side-scrolling shooter as an 8-bit sprite with more action than pixels. The game was a true success and soon a series of sequels with Matt in the main lead got released. Marathon Software found the cow not to be milked enough already and offered Matt a lifetime contract. Unfortunately then it went downhill quickly, his newest game Hazz-Mat Carts was destroyed by critics and the general audience. Marathon Software, however, couldn’t kick Matt out due to the lifetime contract but a newly appointed CEO found a hole in the contract: Matt Hazard must die in a game to end the contract. The new game however gets hacked by a female QA who warns Matt for the pending danger. Hazard survives the attack thanks to QA and fights himself a way to the CEO Wally for major payback.
The game is a parody on more than 20 years of gaming history and as such many old acquaintances are included. Baddies from Matt’s previous games get uploaded and you’ll suddenly come eye to eye with pixellated Germans from Wolfenstein… euhm… Matt Hazard 3D, or you’re suddenly fighting Space Marines that resemble incredibly well the characters from Gears of War. Next to that also MMO fans are made fun of as well as their high levels or the stereotypical JRPG characters and their too long blond hair combined with a sword that’s almost double their size. Nothing escapes the developers but just like the typical movie parody has a stamp of “B-Movie” all over it, this is also the case for this game.
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is a typical third person shooter where your character gets to carry two guns and take cover behind the many objects. The latter has a nifty point to cover system where one push of a button makes you automatically move from one cover position to another. Sadly enough the system irregularly fails which results in your character suddenly getting stuck to small objects and remaining at the same place while running like a madman in the midst of a heavy gunfight.
The frustrations pile up as you progress. At the end of the fifth level you suddenly arrive on a pirate ship and need to defeat the Monster of Tramm. At both sides of the ship tentacles of the monster move and regularly they’ll hit the deck. During impact a tentacle sometimes gets stuck and you need to shoot at the glowing crystals to amputate it. However, due to the bad camera you rarely see which tentacle will move and your hero often gets unwillingly smashed to pieces. Add to that regularly spawning Space Marines and your in a situation where the necessary F-words will come out of your mouth.
The audiovisual aspect of the game isn’t great either. The surroundings are boring and much too static. It seems the environment is immune for all the violence, almost nothing can be destroyed and if it is possible the effects are disappointing. A window that get shattered can only be heard and isn’t visible. The other sounds also don’t help. Rifles sound numb, enemies only know two lines of text and the background music consists out of a total of three songs. The only point of light at the end of the tunnel seem the two professional actors Will Arnett and Patrick Harris who gave their voices to Matt and Wally. Their voice acting is of high quality when the sound doesn’t abruptly gets halted.
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard on paper has everything to be a good game but due to the lazyness of the developers it’s reached a new depth in game development. The only positive points are the voice acting of Will Arnett and Neill Patrick Harris and the way too easy achievements or trophies that can be gotten. These don’t manage to compete with the many downpoints this game contains though. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard isn’t worth its price, you can better buy some stocks from General Motors as these at least have SOME value.