It’s an old, common trope. A lone soldier taking on a horde of aliens, slaying every one of them in sight until he is the last man standing. Blowing up their lairs, destroying their home worlds, we’ve seen it many times in both videogames and movies. Contra, Aliens, DOOM: The list goes on. The hero commits genocide against an entire race and goes on to be showered with rewards and gratuitous praise. In BUTCHER you take control of a cyborg sent to Earth, programmed to eradicate humanity and destroy their planet. Let the humans see how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot, as you paint level after level red with their pixelated blood and guts.
BUTCHER is a lightning fast 2D sidescroller that will for sure put your reflexes and trigger-finger to the test. The enemies are fast and vicious, especially on the higher difficulty levels. If you don’t keep moving quickly enough you can get mowed down in seconds, as I found out the hard way. On the PC there was no easy mode, originally. It was only added in at a later date as DLC. Fortunately for the lesser skilled gamers out there, the console versions come with the Casual mode built in. Fun fact: it’s described in the menu as “I Cry When I Die” Mode. However, you will not be able to find any of the collectible skulls that are hidden throughout the games various levels, so be warned.
Only minutes into the game and it is easy to see how the inspiration that Transhuman Design drew upon from the iconic DOOM series that has influenced it. Running and jumping around frantically blasting hordes of enemies, listening to their dying screams as I splatter them all over the map. Snatching up health, ammo, and armor packs to keep the goods times rolling. And all while listening to an ass-kicking soundtrack. If DOOM was reincarnated as a sidescroller instead of an FPS, BUTCHER would be the result. Ultra-violence has always been a hallmark of these types of games and you’ll be happy to know that BUTCHER has it in droves. According to the developers, there are approximately 4 million pixels available per level dedicated solely to the permanent blood splatter effects. So one that note, let’s take a look at the tools you’ll be using to try and reach that pixel count.
As with any shooter, you have a selection of weaponry to choose from. You start off the game with the shotgun (my personal favorite) and a chainsaw for when you run out of ammo. As you progress you will find such classics implements of destructions as a flamethrower, an assault rifle, a grenade launcher, and a railgun. Each one has their own benefits and drawbacks. The shotgun, for example, doesn’t have the same range as the assault rifle but it does pack more of a wallop. The game strikes a nice balance with the ammo pickups: ammo is just scarce enough where you will have to switch between your weapons often enough that it encourages you to be more adaptable. The environment is also a vicious weapon to be used against the humans. There are lava pits, piranha-filled waters, deadly traps, and last but not least, meat hooks. You have the ability to kick, so booting humans to their grisly doom is a viable option. I found it a little difficult to kick around guys on the harder difficulties, however, as they can deal a bunch of damage to you by the time you get close enough to them. Now that we know what we’re using, how about the levels we’ll be umm, “decorating”?
When you start off a new game, you are brought to the Space Station. This small area serves as a hub in between the five main areas of the game. Each area contains four different levels. Once you clear the four levels of an area, you can progress to the next. Surprisingly, there is only one boss in the game and it takes place after you beat the final area that is aptly titled The Last City. Each level has its own little gimmicks to look out for, like the piranhas in Jungle Outpost, or the spinning metal blades in the Ironworks. I really enjoyed the variations between the different areas; it made me feel excited/anxious to see what kind of horrible deathtraps I would have to navigate next.
So when all's said and done and the screams have died down, BUTCHER more than lives up to the classic games that inspired it. It's a blood-soaked rock n’ roll ultra-violent no holds barred slaughter fest where the fast survive and the slow get kicked into meat hooks and lava pits. While the game itself is not quite lengthy, there is plenty of replayability to be had for people who enjoy finding all the collectibles and clearing every level of difficulty. BUTCHER’s style of gameplay lends itself quite well to the speedrunning crowd due to the inclusion of speedrun-based achievements, and even a speedrun practice mode. If you're looking for a solid game to blow off some steam by pulverizing your enemies mercilessly, BUTCHER is well worth the price of admission.
*Note: A Copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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