50 Cent: Blood On The Sand
360 / PlayStation 3
You’ve gotta give Fiddy cred for taking the commercial cash-in to previously unexplored heights. Two video games plus the usual range of clothing, posters and kicks and his very own Pontiac G8, dude knows how to get money, and if it keeps him in fresh rims for his Hummer then who really gives a shit, right- Luckily this latest gaming cash-in on the 50 Cent brand is actually a vast improvement on the woeful Bulletproof, utilising the Unreal Engine 3, which you might have previously seen powering the likes of Gears of War. This means it looks great, plays fast and smooth and isn’t lacking in the fun department.
Perhaps the best thing about the title, though, is the hilarious plotline – after playing a gig in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, the ‘World’s Biggest Rapper’ goes to collect his $10 million fee, only to discover that it’s been stolen by a rogue, heroin dealing CIA agent. But that’s OK, because instead the promoter gives Fiddy an iced out crystal skull. But oh no, Fiddy’s Hummer convoy gets attacked by the rogue agent and his mujahideen and the skull is stolen, which means Fiddy and a G Unit cohort have to get tooled up and go blasting their way across some decimated urban landscapes to get the skull back. Once a gangster, always a gangster, I guess.
If you can overlook the moral queasiness of playing an American millionaire going about massacring Arabs then there’s plenty of fun to be had, all to a soundtrack of about a dozen 50 Cent tracks (and thankfully an instrumental hip hop soundtrack, for when you get tired of hearing ‘N***a my gun go off’ on repeat). The arcade style scoring system, where you get points tallied for each kill and money find, is a good motivator, but after a while it becomes apparent that the gameplay is definitely targeted at Fiddy’s key demographic – 12 year olds. It’s all very linear and basic, there’s only one line to follow through each level (go here, kill them, lift this shutter door, climb this wall, blow up this radio equipment, take down this helicopter) and the bosses are rarely a challenge. Also, what’s with the swirly cloud graphics every time you break into a money box- I thought this game was about a gangsta rapper, not Pixie the Magic Elf-
Either way, you’ll chow through it pretty quickly, and while not the best FPS to come out in recent times, it’s certainly a decent addition to the canon.