GET YOUR GAME ON: ‘Blood Dragon’ flies into the past

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First Posted: 5/13/2013

Just a few months ago “Far Cry 3,” was one my top five games of 2012, and yet they have already released a downloadable spinoff title called “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.”

“Blood Dragon” is not a sequel; however, it does use the basic components of the regular “Far Cry 3” game. “Blood Dragon” was announced on April Fools’ Day and was thought to be a practical joke, but it turns out it is real. Like “Far Cry,” it’s still a first-person shooter set on a island, but it looks like the ’80s threw up all over it, in a good way. “Blood Dragon” is a true homage to the films, music, games, and cartoons of the ’80s. It’s all a bit hokey, but it doesn’t take itself seriously at all and is just hilarious.

The game uses the controls and game engine of “Far Cry 3,” so the gameplay is great, and it really makes the crazy action stand out and look gorgeous. The aesthetics of the game purposely look like an old VHS tape, and there are bright neon colors everywhere as you battle all sorts of robots, dinosaurs, mutants, and even blood dragons. One thing I really loved about this game is the synthesized soundtrack, it makes it feel like an 8-bit Nintendo game, and it really complements the ’80s flair.

The plot of the game is pretty thin, but the story it does have is a mishmash of ’80s action movies like “The Terminator” and “Robocop.” You play as Sergeant Rex Power Colt; you are part man, part machine, and all badass cyber commando. Now that Colt is no longer with Omega Force, he is out for vengeance against his former commander and his crew of android killing machines. Colt is blatantly molded after action heroes of the ’80s, such as Stallone or Schwarzenegger, gunning downs waves of baddies with chain guns while spitting out hilariously cheesy one-liners.

Just like “Far Cry 3,” the game is actually quite big. It has several garrisons to explore, tons of animals to kill, and collectables to obtain. You’ll want to find all the scattered TV and VHS tapes in order to unlock all the crazy end-game weapons and upgrades. Trying to find all of these things can get a little tedious, but what you get really makes up for it. You can unlock the most devastating weapons, such as the Killstar, which lets you shoot lasers from your hands and wipe out legions of enemies with ease.

Unlike “Far Cry 3,” “Blood Dragon” doesn’t really have much in the line of stealth gameplay, but it does have a lot of more options for going in guns blazing, which does really ramp up the action of the game, making it feel more like an action movie. Although there are a lot of things to collect, the actual missions feel shorter and more linear then the original, which takes away from the feeling of it being a sandbox game, but it is still a blast to see the huge, over-the-top action sequences and the 16-bit cutscenes that populate the game.

If you haven’t played “Far Cry 3,” don’t worry – this game will not spoil anything, and you don’t even need it to play this one. It is a standalone downloadable title, even though it uses “Far Cry 3” as the underlying game, just with all of the new veneer bolted onto it. It is fast-paced, absurd, and just a joy to play, especially if you are into the humor and nostalgia of the era. For a $15 downloadable game, you will be very hard-pressed to find a more polished or enjoyable first-person shooter to spend some time with.

If you are an ’80s kid like me and long for the years gone by, you will definitely get a kick out of this game. If not, you might still enjoy the wacky, over-the-top action movie vibe this game has in abundance. If these things don’t interest you, then pass on this game.

-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at rvanderveken