Kick, Punch, Chainsaw: Shank

By John Walker on February 19th, 2010 at 11:26 am.

He's really late for that bus.

My chosen fighting style is an insane combination of guns, knives and chainsaws, all used simultaneously in a mad, clattering rush. And finally there’s a game that represents this for me. Shank, from the creators of Eets, Klei Entertainment, is up for the Excellence In Visual Arts award at this year’s IGF, and from the look of the trailer below it’s going to be ace.

It’s a side-scrolling 2D platformer, and it looks absolutely lovely. Especially when wedging a chainsaw through a man’s chest, then pummelling him against the ground.

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56 Comments »

  1. ChaK_ says:

    Man I wish they kept doing 2D scrolling lovely plateformers. Mario style

    and no, I’m not 10, I just like dreaming in video games

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Actually I believe any ten year old would think, quote, “that’s retarded”. 2D is an older thing.

    • froibo says:

      kids these days

  2. Mal says:

    Side scrolling is still awesome. Even in this day in age of mass effect and dark spawn.
    Actually, they should make a side scroller of dragon age.

  3. Rich says:

    The hero of that game looks like the chap from Gears of War.
    He shares his apparent anger issues too.

  4. terry says:

    Looks very nice, though I prefer my brawlers into-the-screen style like Target Renegade. With delicious destructible scenery. MmmMMmmm…

  5. Stupoider says:

    That looks great! However, whenever I see a chainsaw in games, I see gibs. There were no gibs. :(

  6. Dominic White says:

    While it does look lovely, the 2d scrolling brawler genre has regressed steadily since Guardian Heroes came out on the Saturn in 1996.

    That’s not hyperbole – get an emulator (SSF actually runs it better than a real Saturn), find a copy of the game (it’s rare/expensive, so I really can’t blame anyone for just pirating it), and it’s still as good as it ever was, which is better than anything else out today.

    • Ian says:

      I still have my Saturn copy of Guardian Heroes (it’s in the same drawer as my copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga.)

      Everybody who doesn’t should envy me.

    • Mechalith says:

      I haven’t had a saturn in years, but I steadfastly refuse to get rid of my Gaurdian Heroes disc. It’s that good.

    • Michael says:

      I’ve always wanted to play the older Panzer Dragoon games since I played Orta. Consider me envious.

    • Ian says:

      @ Michael: Well, as you possibly/probably know, Saga is quite a different kettle of fish to the others in the series. The others are all (I believe) rail shooters. Saga is a great, big, glorious turn-based RPG affair.

  7. Ian says:

    That looks splendid.

  8. Yehat says:

    And this is why is still prefer great 2D graphics to crappy 3D.

    • Jayt says:

      You consider the 3d work indie devs Unknown Worlds to be crappy? I get your point, but your still being an ass.

  9. Hidden_7 says:

    Yeah, but how do you feel about crappy 2D graphics as compared to great 3D?

    Also: This game looks AMAZING! Do want!

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      Can’t say any crappy 2D graphics come to mind…

    • Yehat says:

      My point was that 2D is all about cost-efficiency. The average indie developer could never make such a pretty 3D game even if they they were the best artists world has ever seen.

    • Rich says:

      The way I see it, to make a beautiful 2D game, you have to be able to draw and paint those beautiful graphics yourself e.g. this game, machinarium etc. Whereas for 3D graphics, it’s more about programming skill, knowledge of how to best use an engines abilities, art direction and 3D modelling.

    • Wulf says:

      I agree with Rich, but I totally disagree with Star Control 2 Man.

      Zeno Clash was put together by an indie developer and it was breathtaking. There are so may examples of mods looking astounding, too. Indie developers can’t do astounding 3D graphics? Tell that to Zeno Clash, also tell it to the bloke who’s doing the graphical update of Dear Esther, and even the Onos in NS2 looks like a thing of beauty. So I’m really not convinced that indie developers can’t do amazing 3D graphics when there’s piles upon piles of evidence to the contrary.

    • Taillefer says:

      I think it’s always about the art direction, really, in 2D or 3D.
      Edit: Fail at reading comprehension.

    • Yehat says:

      Rich’s point is actually pretty much my point. In a 2D game, you have to paint the shiny yourself, in a 3D game you have to do the same AND possess the programming and modeling skills plus the tools required.

      For clearly commercial or otherwise popular indie games and devs the choice between 2D and 3D is pretty much just about personal tastes, but for really small devs good 2D graphic is much, much easier to create (yeah, this game isn’t really a good example for what I’m saying).

      Btw, I wasn’t really saying that no indie dev can create good-looking 3D games. I just feel that in most cases, if the game mechanics don’t necessarily require 3D (Zeno Clash, Natural Selection and Dear Esther do) 2D is the more convenient choice.

    • Rich says:

      Actually my point was that 2D and 3D games require an entirely different skill-set. For good 2D graphics you need to be capable of drawing the shiny yourself and then program them into a decent game. 3D graphics on the hand, a lot of the shiny comes from the engine, which is more about programming and knowing how to get hardware to do what you want. OK, texture and model making is skill based, but it’s not exactly hand drawing hundreds of animation frames is it?

  10. JonSolo says:

    I bet Mike and Jerry wish they came up with this one.

  11. Pemptus says:

    Very, very pretty and fluid-looking. I really hope there’s some kind of challenge involved in the actual game though, as right now it looks like you can absolutely mow through enemies with that combo system.

    • Vapor says:

      Agreed, the player only go hit three times before he made it to the boss

  12. Yghteaz says:

    This looks really great. My beef with it is everyone seems to have an awful lot of hit points, there’s a disconnect between how powerful and awesome the attacks look and the actual effect. Another downside of high HP is the slower progression. As it is, it looks more fun to watch than play, but I’m thinking just a tweak in HP values would completely turn that around.

  13. Koozer says:

    Co-op or no sale.
    I haven’t bought a console game for months because of this…

    • Choca says:

      Ditto.

      Some games just can’t afford not having a coop mode (Muramasa comes to mind).

  14. Khargan says:

    Looks great!

    Now give me something like this in a Warhammer 40k setting – chainswords I say!

  15. PixelCody says:

    This over Rocketbirds in my never-had-my-hands-on-either opinion.

    • Rich says:

      Rocketbirds is pretty unforgiving in the damage you can take and the need for lightning fast reflexes. Also, I found the controls for drawing your gun and moving while aiming to be horrible.

  16. Cynic says:

    The chainsaw (in fact, all the weapons, but lets focus on the one that can cut a man in half in four seconds) seems pretty ineffective, and the AI all wait for you to stop fighting someone before trying to hit you. Check around 2:34 where the big guy and his partner back away from the player because he’s busy.

    Beautiful 2D art, but not looking forward to the game itself .

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s the first level – it’s really hard to gauge difficulty or enemy aggression from what is effectively the tutorial section.

  17. klajsflflsflksjlkjaf says:

    They did… Google “EA Flash promotion”

  18. Muddy Water says:

    Game doesn’t seem that appealing to me. He’s basically doing the same thing again and again, but my God, it’s GORGEOUS!

  19. piphil says:

    Looks great; I fear it may become somewhat repetitive over time however, as it looked like you spend most of your time travelling from groups of 2-3 identical (in terms of how you kill them) enemies. That’s only from a single level though, so hopefully there’s more variety in later stages.

  20. The Great Wayne says:

    Seems genuinely fun. It makes me miss Metal Slug, *that* were true 2d masterpieces.

    • Dominic White says:

      Were? They’re still making new Metal Slug games to this day. I forget whether it’s out now, or due for release soon, but there’s a new one floating about.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Metal Slug 7 came out for the DS November of 2008, and rereleased on the PSP a few months ago.

      It’s also AWESOME!

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Holy crap, I have to get myself updated on these. However, don’t think they’ll beat the old school ones, there’s something to them which tend to evoke fond memories of pubs, beer, smoke, flipper noises and ’80 music.

  21. Dave says:

    He looks like a bad enough to dude to rescue the President.

  22. Archangel says:

    Wow, that is some fantastic visual design. It’s (very) reminiscent of Samurai Jack, with the excellent camera work, split-screening, and slow motion effects. The lighting on the bridge scene is pure art. Congratulations to the whole design crew!

  23. Bartiaco says:

    I had a chance to play through the first level at PAX last year.

    These guys seriously know what their doing. It plays well and looks even better in person. I was reminded of playing the old school ninja gaiden games as a child.

    I’m definitely looking forward to the finished product.

  24. Michael says:

    Indeed. I’ve heard it’s ace though. I never played orta enough when I had my phat xbox. It also strikes me as somewhat tragic that nobody made a decent saturn emulator.

  25. Cassette Kids says:

    Wario Land: Shake It! is awesome.

  26. Beck says:

    Brock Samson: The Video Game

  27. Carra says:

    Looks a bit too easy.

    And the chainsawing people reminds me of Madworld for Wii. We need more chainsaw games!

  28. PHeMoX says:

    This looks epic!!!

  29. Bartiaco says:

    Sidenote: I do know the difference between their and they’re. My bad.

  30. Dominic White says:

    For those of you with 360s (I know there’s a few of you out there in the RPS comment box, even if you don’t want to admit it), if you want a flat 2D brawler with a really good combat engine, varied weapons and co-op (2 player normally.. 3 player if you have a Guitar Hero controller) hit Xbox Live Arcade and get ‘The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai’. It’s by indie punk-rocker-cum-one-man-army James Silva.

    http://www.ska-studios.com/

    And yes, the game looks dark and gothy. Don’t worry – it doesn’t take itself the slightest bit seriously. The ending had me laughing for ages.

  31. Jambe says:

    afaik this hasn’t even been confirmed on the PC yet; I do hope it ends up here, though.

  32. mlaskus says:

    It reminds me of Metal Slug series… Please tell me it has coop :D

  33. Kinda looks like Eddie.... says:

    DECAPITATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Trashy says:

    I assume the Giant Bomb Quick Look (http://www.giantbomb.com/quick-look-shank/17-2029/) features the same demo…the players mention that, in the demo, the protagonist is in godmode and doesn’t take damage.

    Personally, I’m hoping for more gibs as well. More DoW sync-kill style brutality reserved not only just for bosses. Other than its great artstyle, I don’t see anything that really grabs me.