Mother Russia Bleeds ReviewPrice:
PC, PS4, Linux, Mac
I've been shot, stabbed, beaten with a baseball bat and hit by a train. I can't confirm whether Mother Russia bleeds at this point, but I sure do. Gallons of the stuff. You can see it splattered on the floor, coming off me in clouds as I take blow after blow.
Mother Russia Bleeds is a beat-'em-up, one I'm not sure I'm any good at, which will immediately feel familiar to fans of classic Sega Megadrive series Streets of Rage, and although Mother Russia Bleeds is a much bloodier experience, if you loved Streets of Rage, you'll probably dig this.
The big mechanical change is the use of drugs as a mechanic; your character is given a syringe full of gunk that can be used either to heal yourself or unleash a devastating effect. The standard syringe triggers a berserker rage, letting you easily fight your way through waves of enemies, while anyone you grab will be brutally slaughtered in a slow-mo animation.
There's a sense the game often wants you to take advantage of the damage dealing effects, throwing waves and waves of enemies at you, but as there is no other way to heal without jabbing the syringe into yourself and you have to slowly get gunk for your syringe from twitching corpses on the floor, it always seems like a better idea to keep it for heals instead of dishing out the pain.
The four characters you can choose from have a varying mix of speed, range, power and jumping ability. I played Sergei the most, a balanced character than can move fairly quick and still bring some hurt. I also enjoyed Ivan, a tank of a man that decided when he grew up he wanted to be Street Fighter 2's Zangief and has dedicated his life to being bulky, hairy and violent. I found trouble with Natasha though, a fast but weak character that seemed totally unable to hurt enemies I ran into later in the game, desperately trying to hit enemies hard enough to stay down before I got completely overrun.
Even with a weaker character I found depth to the combat mechanics that could help me turn the tide though. Weapons were an obvious choice, ranging from a brick all the way to a chair (that eventually disintegrates into a chair leg that you can use to impale someone for an instant kill) and even an AK-47, which completely decimates the opposition without an issue. You can also go into a sprint, dropping to a baseball slide to knock enemies over like bowling pins, or deliver a skull-crushing blow that'll floor all enemies in front of you. Then you bring in the really fancy stuff - many enemies have projectiles, you can knock them down and with enough speed catch the projectile out of the air to use it yourself. All of these tricks are easy to do, because no matter how much of a badass Mother Russia Bleeds makes you feel, the most impressive part is the simplicity. Just a few button presses will let you hold your own.