This article is a revised version of a retrospective written last year for PC Gamer UK.
There was nothing funny about Kingpin. It was a genuinely vicious game, with some of the most violent scenes from any shooter I can recall. Severed heads, gashed bodies, screamed obscenities: only the absolute dismemberment of Soldier of Fortune managed to outrank it in bloodiness. Presumably it was this surface gore that drew me in: the promised thrill of transgressive videogame violence. Then again, maybe it was PC Gamer’s (overzealous) review, or perhaps it was the fantasy-gangster chic, with its 1920s Bladerunner horrors. Then again, perhaps it was a hunger for something in the FPS world that did things differently. Whatever it was, something plugged me straight into its ugly wavelength. And whatever that thing was, it meant that I stayed a while.
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