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Ghost Canyon

Game Reviews
By: Bethesda
(Xbox360 / ASIN: B000XJS00K / Rated: M / $56.99)

Features: Innovative 3rd person shooter gameplay. Action takes places over three continents in cinematic fashion. Unlockable death-defying acrobatic moves and weapons for multi-staged stylized attacks. Unlockable challenge levels add to gameplay.

Description: Rubi is a mercenary with an itchy trigger finger and a sharp sword. She takes a job finding and bringing back a wealthy man’s wayward son for a simple pay day. She thought wrong. The switch is in and the man who hired her isn't who he appears to be. Now Rubi's stuck between two warring drug syndicates, looking for payback and painting everything in her path blood red.

Verdict: Combine three parts of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” for character, storyline and music with one part John Woo slow-motion effects. Cover it with a layer of Bullets and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse cinematic style; nuke it in your system for a week or so and enjoy. The lead character Rubi isn’t much of a stretch from “Black Mamba” of the acclaimed Kill Bill movies by Quentin Tarantino. Both are scorned women looking for the payback, with an acrobatic fighting style and a penchant for blood set to great soundtracks. Bethesda committed to giving “Wet” a complete double feature feel from the grainy 8MM reel effect during gameplay to the loading screen concession stand ads.

What stands out is that the effect isn’t just filler, it’s functional. Instead of the standard health meter in a far off corner of the screen, as Rubi takes damage the screen edges begin to corrode and tear causing the graininess to become more pronounced. The acrobatic fighting style tied in with a slow motion effect similar to that of the “Stranglehold” or “Max Payne” games make “Wet” worth playing until the wee hours of the morning.

Levels are a standard third person on a mostly closed campus until you get to an arena section and are unleashed upon the henchman masses. Much like the Crazy 88’s of the Kill Bill movie arena sections are a constant flood of thugs allowing for high combo levels and thus more acrobatic blood spraying. An action scenario in later rounds could include sliding into the arena shooting multiple villains on a zip line, sliding across the ground ending in a samurai sword uppercut, running across a wall shooting, jumping onto a pole shooting people on each rotation, etc… My personal favorite was running up a wall between two bad guys doing a back flip and shooting them both while doing a slow-motion back-flip.

While platform and arena levels dominate the landscape of the game, Bethesda did throw in a few other types to mix things up. Adrenaline infused car chase levels require Rubi to play leap frog with car roofs while trying to keep aim on her foes. A level that really stood out involves Rubi falling from out of an exploding plane taking out henchmen and avoiding spare plane pieces en-route to the lone parachute. Once or twice per continent Rubi gets covered in blood after killing a thug and what follows is one of the few parts of the game I wasn’t happy with. The screen is instantly immersed in a blood red silhouette effect and the expectation is that Rubi is going to slice and dice her way into a 20+ kill combo. The problem is that she still has to navigate a level to get to other thugs to keep the combo going and the lines are skewed by this “seeing red” effect making it nearly impossible to gain continuity.

Some additional gameplay features include hanging out at Rubi’s Boneyard home running, jumping and shooting your way through numerous challenges and utilizing her complete arsenal in the process. There’s also a daunting free roam challenge to find and kill all the scorpions in the Boneyard for added fun. So, while the story wasn’t completely original and there were some issues with level structure; “Wet” has the style and action necessary to keep you playing fast, thrill you with slow-mo, cover you in blood and leave you screaming for a sequel.

Reviewed by: Tony Weakland