El Matador hands-on

Following in the proud tradition of blatant rip-off pioneers like Coming to America 's McDowell's restaurant,the Chinese DVD black market, and the phrase "copy-and-paste" comes the third-person shooter El Matador.

Let's just call this what it is: a sharp-lookingclone of Max Payne. With no word of Max Payne 3 on the horizon, this may be happy news for some. El Matador comes complete with an exact replica of every game mechanic, menu system, sound effect, weapon and bullet-time ability that the original Max Payne titles had. Except this time, instead of a dual-Uzi-wielding renegade cop jacked up on drugs, you play a dual-Uzi-wielding renegade cop fighting against drugs. See what they did there?

We got to play a bit of El Matador in a short demo we recently received. While we were dropped straight into the middle of the "Just Say No" storyline, we got to shoot our way through three levels of this heavily scripted, corridor-based shooter.

The main character, El Matador, is part of a paramilitary Central American anti-drug task force. However, this team-based premise is purely illusory and simply a device to prop up the thin Reagan Era plot: your teammates are stone-cold stupid and less than worthless. We essentially fought alone against scores of thugs who'd come at us in groups of 3 or 4, announcing themselves with a snarl or accented English epithet (sound familiar?).