Blood on the Sand is a work of mad genius. It’s all about killing, smashing stuff, collecting trinkets and swearing – using a swear button – to the beat of the most aggressive rap 50 Cent has to offer. It’s silly, relentless and – in a guilty way – pretty fantastic.
The scenario is ludicrous, but totally in keeping with the rest of the game’s bullet-riddled lunacy. 50 Cent and G-Unit have just finished their gig in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, and instead of a briefcase full of dollars in payment, the shady promoter offers a skull encrusted with diamonds. This is promptly swiped as Fiddy and friends are driving out of town, and the rest of the game sees Fiddy and friends shooting up the city to take back what was rightfully theirs.
As a third-person shooter, Blood on the Sand feels rough and ready. Although it runs on the same tech as Unreal Tournament 3, it doesn’t offer the same polish or seriousness. Most guns sound like toys, generic characters are copied and pasted from firefight to firefight, and the action is repetitive. However, the true beauty of the game is in its honesty. Blood on the Sand knows it’s a cheap and cheerful arcade shooter, so all it does is chuck enemies into your line of fire and give you rewards for killing them.
Much like Sega’s flawed and ignored gem, The Club, BotS encourages you to slaughter quickly and stylishly. Kill a grunt and you get a 2x point multiplier, which disappears after a few seconds. Off someone else before your multiplier runs out, and you get a 3x multiplier, then a 4x and so on. Extra points are awarded for everything from headshots to smashing up scenery, so the more damage you cause, the higher your tally at the end.
You can play online co-op, buy new swear words (really), unlock 50’s back catalogue and learn horrific close-combat moves, including the ability to stab a man in the arse. It’s only about six hours long, too, despite the replay potential. Classy this ain’t, but fun it most definitely is.
Feb 24, 2009
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