Take the film Kill Bill, replace the Bride with an angry gangster, and then transform the same revenge tale into a vicious beat-‘em up and you have Shank, the latest game from Klei Entertainment. As Shank, you’ll embark on a bloody quest for revenge against your past gang affiliations slicing and dicing your way through hundreds of enemies.  Between levels is a number of boss battles and cut scenes to keep the story going while giving your thumbs a bit of a rest between the next bloody area.

Take the film Kill Bill, replace the Bride with an angry gangster, and then transform the same revenge tale into a vicious beat-‘em up and you have Shank, the latest game from Klei Entertainment.

As Shank, you’ll embark on a bloody quest for revenge against your past gang affiliations slicing and dicing your way through hundreds of enemies.  Between levels is a number of boss battles and cut scenes to keep the story going while giving your thumbs a bit of a rest between the next bloody area.

 

 

Graphics:
Shank is a 2D side scroller similar to old arcade games like Final Fight or River City Ransom.  The art is crisp and visually appealing while the animations are excellent.  At times you’ll think it’s a high quality flash game on the PC, but the number of frames of animation and the responsiveness of the controls will dispel that quickly.

       

You’ll truly appreciate the art style in the cut scenes as the game takes on a look similar to modern day cartoons like Samurai Jack complete with sun drenched levels wrapping you and your enemies in hard shadows as you shoot your way through them.  There’s plenty of variety in vistas as well as the game jumps from saloons to trains and to churches just to name a few.

Sounds:
The sound in the game is a bit of a mixed bag.  The music is well done if not a little repetitive in some of the longer levels.  It’s also available for free on their website in mp3 format.  The sound effects are also well done evoking all the proper guttural noises and weapon sounds typical with this type of game.

       

The voice work leaves much to be desired.  The lines themselves are cheesy enough which is typical of most writing for this type of game, but the delivery makes the dialogue even worse.  Perhaps the game takes itself too seriously and the art style doesn’t lend itself well to that and the voice acting makes it even more comical.

Gameplay:
This is as classic as it gets.  As Shank you move from one edge of the screen to the next killing everything along the way.  Interspersed with your bloodlust are small platforming sections that are more or less automatic with Shank doing the bulk of the work while you press one button to jump and left or right depending on the direction you need to go.  Little timing is required to be successful.

To dispatch the enemies, there is much at your disposal.  Shank starts off with a chainsaw, guns, a knife, and a set of grenades.  Each of these can be used together to chain a number of assorted combos together.  Some of them are so flashy and will tally up dozens of hits.  You can mix up gun attacks with melee attacks while hitting multiple enemies at the same time.

Your weapons will also change as you go gaining new types of guns and melee weapons increasing your power and effectiveness.  Some weapons even serve specific purposes such as crowd control when the mass of enemies truly becomes thick.

       

The game also has a local cooperative mode where two players can take to the streets playing their own separate campaign from the single player.  It’s short, but harkens back to the arcade style action of ‘ol just with far less quarters.

Longevity:
The single player is a mere 3-4 hours in length with the coop being no more than two.  Players can play through each on different difficulty settings unlocking achievements and new costumes along the way for Shank.  One in particular is Bruce Lee’s now famous black and yellow track suit.

If you like a fun and quick brawler with a bit of cheesiness and homage on the side, Shank is definitely for you.

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