The Hong Kong Massacre
The 90s were a very turbulent time. We had the fall of the U.S.S.R., which resulted in the massive proliferation of the Russian Mob; gangsta rap culture was at a “high” point here in the United States and elsewhere; and Hong Kong cinema was churning out action-packed movies that reflected the criminal drug trade happening in China and Southern Asia.
With regards to the latter, nowhere was this more apparent than Golden Princess Film Production Limited, a Hong Kong movie studio with a name that oddly contrasted with the films that it put out during the 90s. Movies such as Once a Thief, The Killer, and my personal favorite: Hard Boiled.
Indie gaming studio Vreski, based in Sweden, seem to have captured much of that blood-soaked cinema vibe of 90s Hong Kong, with their debut project, The Hong Kong Massacre. The game’s plot is pretty boilerplate, and through its muddled cutscenes, tells the tale of a cop who wants revenge against a particularly dangerous triad for killing his partner (I mean come on).
However, just like many of the action films which it was clearly inspired by, The Hong Kong Massacre isn’t about emulating Shakespeare. Rather, it’s a totally engrossing bullet ballet that combines some of the same gaming mechanics as Hotline Miami, only with the aesthetics and themes of a John Woo movie. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a game that you want younger children playing.
The game comprises a total of thirty-five levels. There are the usual types of environments that you’d probably suspect from this type of fare: Abandoned restaurants, decrepit warehouses, and the like, and although they can come to feel slightly repetitive after a while, they’re well rendered. Their true beauty, however, is in how they are used as backdrops (and props) to showcase how close the game emulates its source material.
From large puffs of concrete and stucco that erupt from being hit by bullets, to sheets of paper undulating through the air, The Hong Kong Massacre really emulates the hyper-kinetics of 90s Hong Kong action flicks.
Besides pulling the trigger on your protagonist’s guns, you’ll also want to become familiar with the game’s two other main gaming mechanics. The first one is the ability to periodically slow down time ala Max Payne’s Bullet Time. The other one is being able to leap through the air much like a Cirque du Soleil gymnast. Together, these rather simple mechanics can even the playing field, since you are just one man going up against a gang of hundreds of cutthroat killers.
Since only one bullet can kill your character (as well as each your multitudinous foes), setting up how you’re going to take down a room full of gangster goons is crucial. I often found myself scouting out the locations of each level, just to get familiar with where each of my enemies were. Then I’d rehearse my entry, eventual blood bath, and hopefully with come out unscathed.
Luckily, The Hong Kong Massacre’s loading times are pretty short so when you die you don’t have to sit with steam coming out of your ears, whilst staring at a loading screens for lengthy periods of time.
Combat-wise, The Hong Kong Massacre is quite an experience to behold. You burst through doors or windows, activate your slow-mo ability while diving horizontally through the air, watch the screen light up from all of the gunfire going off, and then land somewhere and return to real-time as the bodies of your adversaries crumble to the ground in bloody heaps.
The Hong Kong Massacre definitely isn’t going to win any awards for great storytelling—but it wasn’t designed to. However, what it does do it does so with panache. And that’s delivering electrifying, visceral combat against beautiful, interactive environments that are sure to thrill even the most jaded action enthusiast.
The Hong Kong Massacre features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its top-down shooter gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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