Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond
When I finished Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond to sit down and write this, I was the 12th ranked Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond player in the world. This does not bode well for Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond. The game begins with a joke about how you can find the first Matt Hazard game in a bargain bin near you. I remember, around a month after that game came out, printing a coupon to purchase it at Best Buy for under ten dollars. The coupon remained on my desk for a week before I threw it away.
Blood, Bath, and Beyond has been out for a few weeks now, and from the leaderboards it looks like less than four hundred people have beaten it. When I was sent a review code for the game, it had already been redeemed by someone else. I’ve talked with another game critic who had the same experience. The PR person distributing these codes is a very nice person. When she sent it, she enthusiastically told me to be sure I checked out that I can steal a partner’s life in co-op and that there is a difficulty setting called “Fuck This Shit.” These are decidedly inconsequential features (what game of its type doesn’t let you steal a partner’s life?). Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond is a game that knows it’s got two feet planted firmly in the grave, shouting this fact from its narrative, to its design, to its publicity.
The only thing strange about all of this is that, for the two hours that it lasts, Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath, and Beyond is a solid run-and-gun shooter. Two summers ago, the XBLA catalogue hadn’t really picked up steam yet. One of the best games available on the service at the time was a crappy port of Super Contra. I played it every day for around a month, even though the amount of fun you’ll have on any given playthrough is determined within the first few seconds: did you grab the scatter shot, or did you miss it? Blood, Bath, and Beyond isn’t nearly as difficult as Super Contra, and it doesn’t have the benefit of nostalgia going for it. But if you’re a fan of Super C with a hankering for the old bird, who remembers that your twitch isn’t quite as honed as it used to be, Blood, Bath, and Beyond might just be the perfect thing to scratch the itch.
You can read the rest of the review at Sleeper Hit here.