cyclonus_the_warrior's Guns, Gore & Cannoli (PlayStation 4) review

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You get a nice healthy portion of all three, especially the cannoli.

There was no possible way that a video game by the name of Guns, Gore, and Cannoli would not pique my interest. Something with a title so absurd yet hilarious demanded a look. The second I saw the trailer and realized this was an old school 2D classic shooter it was a wrap for me right there. Plus it reminded me a lot more of Metal Slug with its zany artwork and personality. Guns, Gore, and Cannoli (GGC) is a homage to grindhouse and gangster films, as it follows a zombie holocaust taking place during the Prohibition period with stereotypical gangsters.

The story follows gangster Vinnie Cannoli whom has been sent to the city of Thugtown by his boss to find a guy named Frankie. The crew ship Vinnie's on is being attacked by people who are devouring the crew. Vinnie leaves his bunker armed only with a pistol and he soon learns that Thugtown is under siege by the undead. GGC actually does have something of a story to keep the player occupied, but it seems to focus more on the actual game which is a good thing. Those coming into this for some arcade shooter style action will at least be moderately satisfied.

The game play provides the hardware to take out the undead with limited ammo. Vinnie will be able to wield a tommy gun, shotguns, a magnum, projectiles, and other good stuff. The player will never lose the weapons even after losing a life, plus once they have been picked up and have ammo these weapons can all be swapped out at any time. The enemy is quite aggressive with running zombies, along with armed zombies shooting aimlessly. The zombies make up only some of the resistance as local mobsters make their appearance along with the military bringing their stuff into the battle. The AI works the numbers game and does have a level of intelligence as they will run from explosions, seek cover and dig in where it's safe. The one thing I appreciate quite a bit is that the zombies will attack the gangsters and soldiers just as fast they will the player, this also includes them going after bosses and actually doing damage. I like this kind of detail due to it bringing an element that's not always seen in these types of games.

There is indeed plat forming sections but these rarely take the focus from the action and they are very forgiving. In addition there are exploding environments such as cars and oil drums to use as assistance against the enemy. Those who have played titles of this type like the Metal Slug series for example, will remember how those games possess additional features adding to the game play such as manning vehicles. Unfortunately, GGC has nothing of the sort and Vinnie is on foot the whole time, and there are no gun turrets or something of that nature. On my first play through this did bother me a lot because the game really felt like it needed more; but it makes up for this in a way with nice stage design that brings out more in the combat. Zombies will break out of windows, doors, and mutated vermin will attack relentlessly. There aren't many boss battles but what's here delivers a decent enough challenge especially the final battle, which I don't think is too easy.

GGC has a multi-player with up to four players that can feel very chaotic. It's a nice addition to the story mode which is maybe a little more than 3 hours, but this mode requires a lot of practice since it's a very, very fast pace death match with the players running around frantically trying to get to the more powerful weapons and use them on each other for very fast kills. The locations can be selected in which there are several and the stages even have death traps. Before I played online I tried it on the AI and I was getting waxed quickly because it's difficult to pin point where you will re-spawn at. This mode is simply a matter of practice.

Now even though I like the game quite a bit it does have its flaws. I personally feel that it could have used some variation in its game play such as utilizing vehicles, or even fighting off a huge threat while protecting an installation or some sort. Also after playing these types of games for so long I'm way too use to being able to shoot in all directions, and this game doesn't have that feature. Vinnie only shoots straight even while jumping and this makes some areas kind of difficult to traverse.

The cel-shaded visuals are done quite well giving this game a zany feel that works well with its humor. Everything is done in a light-hearted manner and the violence doesn't get too carried away. There are exploding heads and enemies burned to death in a brutal inferno yet none of this feels offensive. There are some different zombie types despite the usual palette swaps. The settings vary as well going into the sewers, large towers, plus a section of the city where the soldiers have dug in with pseudo foxholes. The bluesy, jazzy, and Italian soundtrack captures a nice feel for the noir setting, and the over exaggerated Italian voice work can be quite funny.

GGC is definitely a game I can recommend to those whom love the 2D side scrolling shooters. The difficulty is moderate so don't come into this expecting Contra: Shattered Soldier or even Metal Slug. I can't imagine anyone dying all that much, but it's still pretty fun and I don't regret giving it a shot. I would play a sequel because this game can definitely be improved on.

Overall: 7

Highs: Visually nice with some fun voice work, moderate difficulty, focuses heavily on the action

Lows: Game play would have benefitted from some variety

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