The Hong Kong Massacre was released one year ago – and was disregarded by the public. Highly anticipated by some people video game was completely ignored by many others, which is understandable – not everyone is enthusiastic about slow motion, the local culture and stories about wars of criminal gangs. The genre is too specific for the public and some technical disadvantages ruined the initial impression for some people, who left negative reviews, which alerted others, who decided to postpone the purchase. The patch, released a few days after the initial release fixed majority of the problems and later patches made the game stable for almost everyone else. Now, a year after its release, it’s time to talk about The Hong Kong Massacre once again to explain what is special about this game.
The game tells a story of police officer who disappeared after unsuccessful assassination and returned later with the revenge. Receiving clues from local informants, the main character gets closer to his enemies responsible for the damage done to him and his friend and starts to retaliate on them. Eventually he is able to finish his revenge upon his enemies, and then vanishes once again.
There is nothing special or spectacular in the story, however it’s needed to explain the events in the game. Every level is static – the movement of characters and their positions are always fixed, however sometimes they react differently in each situation and deviate from expected path. The main character is armed with a pistol, later he can gain access to other types of weapons, which can be improved to increase their characteristics. Upgrade points are also given for flawless completion of missions: in a limited time, hitting only enemies and without the use of slow-motion. The latter is the hardest task because enemies are quick and have very fast reaction. Moreover, the main character can be defeated by a single bullet, which restarts the level – everyone except for certain enemies needs to be hit only once – the same approach is utilized in Hotline Miami, for instance. The game forces you to make the very fast decisions; any delay can result in a restart of the level. That’s why the slow-motion is needed, it’s the only way to win battle with three or four enemies attacking the main character simultaneously.
Locations are standard for the game of this kind: streets, café, restaurants, warehouses, bars, apartments. There is also a hotel, casino and some other exotic locations; however, they don’t look much differently from the previous ones, even the bank. The game has semi destructible environment: doors, windows can be smashed, but the tables and walls remain undamaged. The game forces you to choose one of many tactics: either to find some quiet place where the main character is hard to be hit and can make attacks on enemies, either to move quickly and respond on enemy’s attacks.
The protagonist can jump, leap, roll and dodge bullets. Combined with slow motion, this creates really eye-catching spectacle. When you play this game, you actually feel your character and can control his movement, however sometimes he is stuck in walls, doors, vases because you don’t see them – the color gamma is very monotone and sometimes you just don’t notice objects on the map.
Music and sounds are functional, not disappointing but not excellent either. The voice acting of actors is missing here, however it’s not needed – you can play The Hong Kong Massacre even without listening to the dialogs. The game is actually quite difficult, even on the medium settings, and you’ll have to spend a lot of time in it in order to complete it.
There are also boss fights, who are incredibly hard to defeat – they have excessive amount of health, require a lot of damage and accompanied by regular enemies in addition to that. Some of them wear bulletproof vests and have additional protection from the main character – they can easily sustain one hit without any problems for them. Enemies can also dodge bullets and one single fight with them can turn into a tiresome somewhat tactical competition where the choice of weapons and the direction of movement can determine the outcome of the battle.
Speaking of weapons, only a pistol (after an upgrade) can have an infinite ammo, other types of weapons, including rifle and shotgun have very limited size of clip, so after the main character runs out of it, he needs to pick another gun lying on the floor. Sometimes it’s very inconvenient, sometimes you lose the game because the main character runs out of ammo during the gunfight. These are the rules of the game and there is nothing you can do with it, only upgrade weapons increasing clip capacity or change weapons after every gunfight.
All in all, despite all disadvantages (limited amount of ammo, the habit of the protagonist to get stuck in boxes and tables), The Hong Kong Massacre is not that bad game. It certainly has flaws and very fast reaction of enemies and their positioning on the levels may be called some of them, but it’s not as bad as many people described or predicted. It has its own unique atmosphere, some very interesting gameplay situations and some unforgettable moments and feeling of novelty – traits for which video games are praised and valued. As a result, the total 7,5 out of 10 seems to be the right score for this product. It can be recommended to everyone who loves slow-motion, intensive gunfights, battle choreography and acrobatics. After all, it’s one of a very few games in this genre and the rarity of products of such kind allows to rate it a little bit higher than usual. You also need to keep in mind that this product was created by two persons and for the game created by two people this is actually a product of a high quality. Just give it a try to see if it’s worth it for you or not.