If Max Payne and Hotline Miami got into a horrible teleporter accident, the result would probably look a lot like The Hong Kong Massacre. Released today, five years after RPS first covered it, it looks like a blend of Miami's frantic twitch shooting with Payne's slow-motion evasion plus a dash of John Woo's penchant for over-the-top impact effects. Developers Vreski are clearly proud of their clouds of sparks, paper, chunks of wall and puffs of blood as bodies hit the floor. Take a look at just how many particle effects can be crammed on-screen in the trailer below.
If anything, The Hong Kong Massacre looks even less compromising than Hotline Miami. Death is instant, and being grazed by enemy fire is still lethal, hence the bullet time. You've got a few seconds of superhuman reflexes available at any given time, and the gauge recharges quickly when you're not shooting. The game seems to nudge players into using this power, but there's rewards available if you somehow survive without it. Bonus stars are awarded for completing levels under par time, without using slow-mo or while only hitting enemies, and these stars can be spent on permanent upgrades for each weapon type.
While I've only had the chance to watch this game in action so far, rather than going hands-on with it, the impression I get is a slightly looser and wilder game than Hotline Miami. The Hong Kong Massacre's fights are loud, messy and visually overwhelming, and its enemy AI is smarter and more reactive. It's an interesting time for The Hong Kong Massacre to launch. Slow-motion gunplay is in vogue once more, and the upcoming Katana Zero and My Friend Pedro both have similar ideas about dodging bullets in two dimensions. While they're both going for a side-scrolling approach, I'm eager to see how they all stack up.
The Hong Kong Massacre is out now on Steam for £13.94/€15.11/$17.99