Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | AND | IOS | PC | PS4 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | All

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (Xbox 360) artwork

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (Xbox 360) review

"You often find yourself thinking, "Is this a nod to another game, or is Eat Lead unintentionally doing something cliche?""

How hard can it be to make a video game that parodies its own medium, really? The developers behind Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard probably figured it to be an easy task, as they went about creating a world where video game characters, or at least its protagonists, are aware of their existence, their real purpose. You'd think nothing but good could come from this premise, and the game starts off well with an intro explaining the rise and fall of Matt Hazard's popularity, a mock summary of Duke Nukem's similar history. Then things begin with Matt getting a second chance starring in a next-gen release, and... is dropped into a Japanese stake house level?

Matt Hazard has the exact reaction, so I begrudgingly endured hide-and-go-shootouts with Japanese guards in suits that made up the entire stage, thinking it's just a set-up, hoping it would get better from there. It won't. Eat Lead does poke fun at video game cliches and certain characters, but, instead of centering each level on a gimmick, ideal, or, hell, just a reasonable amount of time on something, the developers only deliver this stuff in short bursts. The greatest example occurs when, after gunning down cowboys in a drab warehouse, you notice the following room has a Wolfenstein 3D influence to it: bright, blue-ish corridor, a hanging painting of a leader, and tons of cardboard German soldiers. This only lasts for one small corridor. After that, it's back to more of the same 'ol, drab warehouse. So much wasted potential.

The video game references are few and far between as is, mostly reduced to cutscene antics, but the farther you advance in this release, you realize the development team just gave up and were content with offering a standard, shoot/cover title. You go from one basic stage to the next, witnessing such wonderful sights that include a train yard, a nearly lifeless and dark dance club, and a docking bay... Most enemies encountered are just boring and shockingly unoriginal, pitting Matt against security guards, construction workers, and butchers packing heat. Mixed with these are some of the oddest parody choices as foes. A few make sense, like space marines that crash from the skies in pods, as well as well-endowed, robotic archeologists that attack with dual guns. However, the rest are terrible picks. Cowboys? Russian soldiers? Super soaker combatants?! Come on...

Actual gunfights aren't terrible, and I did enjoy them from time to time, especially when I picked up a magnum or two six-shooters and blew people away. But Eat Lead easily becomes repetitive, rarely presenting anything besides typical hide-and-go-shoot action. It actually puts a dent in the reference aspect of the game, because things become so routine later on, you often find yourself thinking, "Is this a nod to another game, or is Eat Lead unintentionally doing something cliche?" There's only eight stages, but it feels so much longer, since you're constantly in the same type of shootout around every corner. The game could've ended at five stages and still feel like a suitable time to show credits.

I won't say the development team was lazy when they decided to do this kind of release, as there were some genuinely funny moments. There was the aforementioned Wolfenstein 3D poke, a criminally short appearance by Captain Carpenter (Super Mario) in a cutscene, and a sweet but easy boss fight with a JRPG character that talks in text and summons attacks by using a menu box behind him. Though, it does feel like someone, maybe the director or writers, just didn't know how to approach the premise, which is evident during the second half of Eat Lead when it felt like a standard game. If you want a title that handles this subject matter with proper execution, you're better off with something like Bayonetta. At least you also get fun gameplay to back it up, as well.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (May 23, 2011)

When I was writing my Rolling Bird review, I mistakenly called it Rolling Grid. I didn't catch this until I was about to submit the review...

More Reviews by pickhut [+]
Rolling Bird (PC) artwork
Rolling Bird (PC)

Yore's Revenge
Bouncing Hero (PC) artwork
Bouncing Hero (PC)

High Speed Pogo Action
Sairento VR (PlayStation 4) artwork


If you enjoyed this Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
Gregarious posted June 04, 2011:

Overall, I have to agree with what you think of Matt Hazard. It's really just a game that can't take itself seriously. Too bad it can't take the gameplay seriously either!

Oh, and those super soaker guys? They're from a kid friendly, tactical, third person shooter called 'Soak'em.' Get it? Soak'em? Socom? ...yeah

I'm certainly glad that the sequel switched it up to a run and gun type of game. For some reason, that just fits a lot better for Matt Hazard.
board icon
pickhut posted June 05, 2011:

Socom? Huh.... never would have suspected. Even though it would make sense when you think about it.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2019 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.