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Kill the Bad Guy (PC) artwork

Kill the Bad Guy (PC) review

"I'll bet you can't guess what this game is about!"

Kill the Bad Guy (PC) image

Kill the Bad Guy is neither an exercise in deep social themes nor is it a spellbinding, character-driven tale. Its title should have told you as much. Rather, it's a game in which you must eliminate sixty miscreants by sabotaging urban stimuli in the hopes of making their murders appear to be convenient accidents. For instance, you can off one criminal by causing a geyser to erupt from a manhole, thereby launching him sky high and allowing the concrete below to decide his fate. Of course, faulty sewer systems are not the only mishaps to befall the game's rogues gallery. You'll witness plenty of "bad guys" falling victim to clipped car brakes, crates that mysteriously plummet from towers, and impalement via spears fired from enormous makeshift slingshots.

Uh, I'm not sure how the last example is supposed to look accidental, though...

Dispatching scoundrels is not only a fantastic form of stress relief in the early phases of the campaign, but an engaging experience. Each stage sets you up with a minuscule slice of an inner city decked out with various gizmos for you to tinker with, not all of which are directly hazardous. For example, one of the most useful implements at your disposal is a dollar bill, which lures targets to a desired location. You can also move the cash a few times by causing it to apparently flutter in the wind, which is handy for luring a foe towards a distant trap or distracting a crowd of onlookers. Such items play an integral role as you plot your murder scheme, mostly because your targets aren't always inclined to walk past potentially fatal regions of the map. It therefore is prudent to place roadblocks to reroute them, firecrackers to frighten them, or even porno mags to entice them.

Kill the Bad Guy (PC) image

Deciding which ruses to settle on depends on the means by which you desire to assassinate your assignment, because each stage provides multiple options. If you've grown tired of running over felons with tampered vehicles, you'll find plenty of malfunction fans that shoot deadly blades and flammable gases and liquids for hosting your own barbeque. You can even "MacGyver" it and create a catapult using a tree, some rope, and a dog's fly-ridden corpse.

As you might suspect, the game isn't absolutely simple. As the campaign steps up its difficulty rating, you'll have to take other factors into account when mutilating ne'er-do-wells, such as security cameras, patrolling policemen, and even passers-by. Should anyone spot you ending a life, it's game over. The same can also be said if you accidentally whack an innocent bystander in the process of doing in a villain, so your aim must be true with every strike.

Personally, I enjoyed the game for about the first twenty or so levels. Although I had hoped that advancing the campaign would reveal fresh scenarios and items to exploit, I kept glimpsing signs that the experience was due to go south. At one point, for instance, I recall initiating a mission and reading its bad guy's bio. It described my target as a disgruntled college student from Columbine who was able to stockpile an impressive arsenal because of the first amendment. I felt a sharp snap in my head at that moment and I morphed into the embodiment of Google:

"Did you mean: second amendment"

This might seem like an insignificant error, but it's a simple fact that can easily be researched by using the above search engine. That sort of lapse doesn't inspire much confidence in a product, and it was one of my first clues that the campaign would eventually nosedive.

Kill the Bad Guy (PC) image

Though you might suspect that the game's uncomplicated concept would be its undoing, such isn't the case. Instead, the lion's share of the blame goes towards its dearth of variety. Before long, the aforementioned tools of destruction become familiar because they show up repeatedly throughout the game. Remember the dead-dog catapult? Yeah, even that becomes commonplace. Strategies from previous stages also tend to make multiple return appearances. One stage I recall involved using a wrecking ball to neutralize a malefactor, which saw at least two revivals not much later. The only differences in the subsequent instances were the presence of security cameras and taller buildings. That's it. As depressing as it sounds, the act of "killing the bad guy" and watching the replay becomes a ho-hum activity.

It doesn't help that there's nary a change of scenery, either. Sure, Kill the Bad Guy's collection of pale, detail-free buildings appear in different positions with each mission, but beholding the same sterile grounds time and again serves only to remind you how drab and unimaginative the game is. I had to wonder dozens of times during my playthrough: "Why does every assignment occur in a sizable city? Do 'bad guys' never visit rural settings or small towns?" An occasional alteration of the environs would have done wonders for the game, not only by providing a multitude of locales to facilitate your slaughter, but also by showcasing fresh weaponry. I mean, come on: falling trees, stampeding cattle, defective motor boats... There are plenty of ways to die outside of the concrete jungle!

Kill the Bad Guy (PC) image

Even your adversaries' bios, spotlighted at the beginning of each mission, transform from lightly amusing to uninteresting or downright lazy. Before long, it becomes obvious that the writer ran out of ideas for unique enemy histories. Where you were toppling money-grubbing bankers and mobsters early on, you eventually take out fictional characters from other intellectual properties. For instance, one stage pits you against Lord Voldemort, and I don't mean a thinly veiled reference to the powerful wizard, either. The pre-stage briefing displays Voldemort's name prominently and features the same back story from the Harry Potter novels. While you could object to this and label it blatant plagiarism, I was equally irked because it also feels bland, uncreative, and rushed.

Kill the Bad Guy begins as a wonderful way to blow off steam, and promises to be an engaging and unique puzzler. Unfortunately, the experience peters out about midway through the campaign thanks to a lack of variety, both in terms of mechanics and environment. Honestly, though, if a sequel were to rear its head, I wouldn't be above playing it. Assuming its developer expands upon the core concept and provides gamers with more creative and sadistic ways to scotch lowlifes, I'd be ready for a second go.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (November 11, 2014)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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