Another opportunity for temporary power-ups is offered through time-based scenarios, which are triggered at scripted moments. For example, vans carrying enemy reinforcements crashed into a skirmish and an on-screen message appeared instructing 50 Cent to kill the arriving troops. When he'd successfully wiped them out within the time limit he was awarded some molotov cocktails to play with. Another objective produced explosive ammo as the reward.
For up close brutality 50 Cent is also able to execute up to 20 different counter kills - melee attacks that require perfectly timed presses of a single button to perform. The ones we saw looked pretty nasty - a fatal flurry from 50's fists and some slashing and stabbing with a knife. Players will be able to arm 50 Cent with the counter kills of their choice by assigning them to 'slots' before heading into battle.
Seeing all the layers that Swordfish has wrapped around the core shooter mechanic makes us optimistically happy - the developer is obviously intent on creating something that will appeal to gamers beyond the 50 Cent fan-base (whether those gamers will be open-minded enough to care is another matter). And with such an unashamedly arcade experience, Swordfish seems to have tuned the game to just the right frequency to capture the essence of theatrical hip hop bravado and showmanship without it seeming contrived or painfully street. At least, not in the bits we've seen so far.
So, after our first encounter we're more pumped about Blood on the Sand than we ever thought we would be. There's still plenty more to see - like co-op play, vehicle sections and, of course, how 50 Cent's music is woven into the experience - but for now we're more than just a little encouraged by what we've seen. Next time we're invited to see Blood on the Sand we won't be so quick to dismiss.