Have you ever wanted to be an action movie star blasting your way through a cheesy '80s film that features dinosaurs shooting laser beams from their eyes? Of course you have! Here's your chance, with the new arcade hit Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a goofy and neon-drenched first-person shooter now available for download from the Xbox Store.
Add Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon to your queue here (1200 Microsoft Points)
First off, it's important to note that this is not an expansion or add-on for Far Cry 3. This is a completely separate, standalone adventure. You don't need Far Cry 3 to play this game. Heck, you don't need to have ever played Far Cry 3 to jump right in and start having fun.
Welcome to the Party, Pal
Imagine all your favorite '80s action movies mashed into one, from Escape from New York to RoboCop to Predator and everything in between, and you get an idea of what to expect. A more apt analogy might be to call Blood Dragon the Airplane! of video games, as the developers at Ubisoft Montreal just throw every offbeat gag and insider joke at the wall and see what sticks.
"Geez, that sounds kind of stupid," you may be thinking. Well, it is stupid – it's deliriously stupid. It's also hilarious and completely over the top. You play as Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt, a wisecracking and heavily armed bionic antihero fighting against an army of cyborgs and wandering blood dragons (the giant fluorescent mutant lizards of the title). Colt is voiced by veteran actor Michael Biehn, no stranger to action movies himself (The Terminator, Aliens and many more).
Give Me Your Clothes, Your Boots, and Your Motorcycle
The game itself is a simplified version of its older brother Far Cry 3. You're still stranded on an open-world island (although it's much smaller than Far Cry 3's sprawling environs), spending your time liberating garrisons, rescuing damsels in distress, and unlocking side missions like hunting.
The side missions give you money and weapon upgrades, but they're not really needed, as you have almost every weapon available from the get-go. Collect the VHS tapes, TV sets and research notes all strewn about the island for Cyber Points that deliver upgrades.
I Ain't Got No Time to Bleed
The story, such as it is, develops through a series of eight-bit era comic book-style cutscenes. In the dystopian future of 2007, the world has been ravaged by nuclear war and it's up to Rex to save the world.
Beneath it all, however, this is a very solid shooter created with the Far Cry 3 engine. The visuals are almost hallucinogenic, with a vivid color palate and a neon-tinged landscape. The animal attacks (generated dynamically) can really give you a scare when you're cruising through the jungle.
Say Hello to my Little Friend
So, expect lots of things blowing up (explosive-tipped sniper bullets? Yes please!) and frantic mini-gun battles. Throw in a great '80s soundtrack and you're got yourself one most excellent adventure. The blood dragons, however, really are the stars of the show. These giant day-glow mutant lizards shoot lasers from their eyeballs and seem almost impossible to kill at first. After a few weapon upgrades the going gets easier, and soon you'll find yourself luring the blood dragons into the garrisons to spring an explosive surprise on them.
The campaign takes about 10 hours or so to complete, although your mileage will vary with how much time you spend exploring. You can buy maps that show you where everything is hidden, so this game expects you to discover every last treasure. It's only 1200 Microsoft Points, but this downloadable game could easily have been a full retail title. In fact, I'd even suggest it as an early candidate for Arcade Game of the Year.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is selling like crazy on Xbox Live, and there are even some rumors swirling around the innerwebs about a possible sequel. If you're looking for an offbeat shooter with a real (albeit sophomoric) sense of humor. set in vivid environments and filled with mutant monsters and lots of different guns, you can't go wrong with this one.