Shank 2 (Xbox Live Arcade)

By Wayne Webb

I’m going to do something I hate, which is describing things as X meets Y when I can’t think of anything else to adequately portray the feel of game, despite a thesaurus on my computer and over 40 years of English in my head. Shank 2 is the type of game you would play if Film Director Robert Rodriguez decides to make a Mexican gang slasher-style game based on the cartoon style of Samurai Jack.

You play the lead character who is minding his own business and then as the screen black-bars around his head and his eyes tighten in concentration, he’s bang in the middle of hostages, exploding things with loads of death dealing weapons. You run to the right and kill almost everything you come across. People, crates and vehicles are all just playthings for your violent tendencies. You do get to free hostages occasionally, but it feels like a token gesture.

You can play campaign or survival and the weapons you employ range from knife (bloody and efficient) to chainsaw (more bloody and more gratifying). You earn and unlock more weapons and fight waves of never ending bad guys intent on spilling your blood. A quick swig of alcohol soon replenishes your health and your good to slaughter again!

There are bosses and harder characters to fight and the sudden appearance of these and a dodge mechanism that seems counter intuitive (press right or leave to dodge forward or back) makes the difficulty change sudden and shocking if you’re already in the killing cannon fodder groove.

Mindless violence in a side scrolling design paradise? What more can you ask for?

Pros: Robert Rodriguez style, gratifying action, cell shaded graphics and Samurai Jack cartoon feel.
Cons: Repetitive, button mashing, occasional changes in difficulty frustrate.

3.5 Shacks Out Of 5

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