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Bloody Good Time (Xbox 360) artwork

Bloody Good Time (Xbox 360) review

"Bloody Good Time gets a hearty endorsement as a unique and very affordable take on the deathmatch idea. Between its sense of humour and the variety of strategies available, there's a lot of room for this to be a truly great game. "

I sat down to write this review immediately after being glued to the floor, accidentally putting myself to sleep with a radio-controlled sheep, and watching in helpless panic as a gothy waif beat me to death with a frying pan. It's a hard life being a struggling young actor. Maybe I should have had lunch first; as the director derisively remarked, "I want you hungry for fame, not cheeseburgers!"

This is Bloody Good Time, and it's a shame that the title offers so little to snag the attention of passers-by, since it's really a very apt description.

The premise of the game takes the concept of the deathmatch in a new direction (and a logical one, in a twisted sort of way). This deathmatch isn't a military engagement between trained combatants; it's a cartoony and humorous take on an almost Manhunt-like situation. An enigmatic prodigy film director has decided to take slasher films to the next level by casting a selection of young aspiring stars and having them actually kill each other. In each round, every member of the cast is given a specific target to kill, and is in turn being hunted by a fellow actor - but they have no idea who. The aim is to kill your target without being killed yourself.

This carnage takes place across three film sets: a beachfront villa, a halloween house party and a casino. Each is rigged with an assortment of environmental traps that can be triggered at the push of a button to swiftly bump off unwary victims. See your target taking a quick, cooling dip in the villa's pool? Dash over to the appropriate button and boil him alive. Spot him wandering carelessly through the haunted house's living room? Trigger a blast of flame from the fireplace.

This is a sideline, though; a bonus. Most of your killing will be carried out using the varied selection of weapons and gadgets scattered around each set. The weapons (used with RT and stashed back in the safety of your pockets with RB) range from the sensible likes of baseball bats and revolvers, to the more alarming syringes of green goo and downright confusing radio-controlled explosive rats.

The gadgets dubbed 'murder aids' operate similarly, used with LT and hidden with LB. Some are defensive, such as the decoy hologram, while others, like the glue gun, are geared towards immobilising your target.

You can't just sprint around on a killing spree, though. That wouldn't make for entertaining viewing. To this end, there are security guards everywhere who will taser you if they catch you openly carrying a weapon or attacking someone. You aren't superhuman either, and must always be aware of your bodily needs. When too fatigued, hungry or in need of a bathroom break, you have to make sure you sleep, eat or pay a visit. This leaves you vulnerable for a few tense seconds, but the alternative is suffer severely reduced performance as you hobble painfully around the set.

This is where Bloody Good Time really comes into its own. Just killing people with humorous weapons would be fine, but these other requirements introduce strategy. Do you risk servicing your requirements frequently so you'll never find yourself in dire need, or do you always push it to the last possible moment? Do you beat down your victim in plain sight and then run from security, or do you wait patiently until she stops for a pizza? If your hunter makes a move, do you fight back, use a murder aid to escape, or try to lure him towards a guard?

Sadly, this is also the point at which the game falls down. Bloody Good Time is a multiplayer game at heart, but I've yet to see even a single person playing it. The AI bots are frighteningly competent, but they're never as sneaky or as unpredictable as a real person. There's so much potential in this game, but without either an online community or a group of friends to play it with, you're not getting the full experience.

Still, the bots offer enough entertainment for an occasional grisly murder session, and at a mere 400 Microsoft points it's good value even without other players (though if anyone reading this decides to buy the game, give me a shout).

All in all, Bloody Good Time gets a hearty endorsement as a unique and very affordable take on the deathmatch idea. Between its sense of humour and the variety of strategies available, there's a lot of room for this to be a truly great game. The lack of players hurts it badly, but it's still easy to recommend. And if you have a group of willing friends, it's hard to think of a more enjoyable game to share with them.

SamildanachEmrys's avatar
Community review by SamildanachEmrys (December 21, 2011)

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honestgamer posted December 22, 2011:

You made this game sound terrific. I think that I may wind up playing it someday, if I get some Microsoft Points together and haven't forgotten about it by that point. Terrific read!
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SamildanachEmrys posted December 22, 2011:

Thanks! I think the game is a lot of fun, and it's a crime that it's so overlooked. It's not one you'd want to play constantly, but it would be great for the odd hour or two with some friends.

On reflection, there are some things I maybe should have mentioned (you win by earning the most fame points, and get more fame points for killing with weapons that haven't seen much use so far) but never mind. A review doesn't need to cover every detail.
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zippdementia posted December 23, 2011:

I've watched some gameplay videos and can't quite get a handle on whether the AI is any good. You say it is frighteningly competent... just wondering how far competent stretches. Can you fill me in?

This isn't a complaint about the review, by the way. I don't think you needed to elaborate in there... think of this as more of a follow up.

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