50 Cent: Blood On The Sand
Pros: Simple fun to play.
Cons: Derivative; lots of bad language.
Blood On The Sand is, surprisingly, the second game to be based on rap star 50 Cent. What’s even more surprising, given how bad the first game was, it’s actually a mostly playable game. You play – no shocks here – as 50 Cent, backed up by a member of G-Unit (that’ll make sense to fans, and not to anybody else) in a third-person action game that bears a very strong resemblance to Gears Of War.
The plot it astoundingly weird – Fifty’s on a rampage in an unnamed Middle Eastern country to recover a diamond-encrusted skull that he’s been given as a concert payment – but one you get past that and the continuous bad language, there’s actually some fun to be had here. Blood On The Sand glories in every gaming cliché’ you can possibly think of, from exploding red barrels to enemies who rush towards your machine guns en masse. The result isn’t great game design, but it’s still fun in a mindless, arcade-game-style way. Fans of 50 Cent will lap this up – especially as the game features 18 ‘exclusive’ tracks that can be unlocked for listening – and non-fans won’t find it quite as bad as they might expect.
Overall I give 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand a 3/5
Street Fighter IV
Pros: Good for experts and novices.
Cons: Endgame bosses are tough; some controllers are poor for special moves.
The peak of popularity for Capcom’s Street Fighter series was undoubtedly the early 1990s, when the game was still fresh and appealed to both new players (because some simple moves were easy and flashy) and experts who mined the depth of the title mercilessly. Since then, Capcom’s played to the latter audience, offering ever-more-complex fighting schemes. So, it’s a bit of a surprise that Street Fighter IV returns to the simple mechanics that gave the game mass appeal – for the most part.
Most of the classic Street Fighter II cast also returns, along with a few new faces, such as the insanely entertaining and weird cooking-obsessed Mexican Luchadore El Fuerte. While the mass market can enjoy the basic gameplay – and probably struggle with the tougher endgame bosses and online battles – there’s still plenty here for the experts, with a new ‘focus attack’ defence/offence system and new characters. My only beef with this otherwise superlative arcade conversion is that some gamepads – most notably the Xbox 360’s – struggle to pull off the more complex moves.
Overall I give Street Fighter IV a 5/5