'Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon' Is Latest Tribute to 80s Game Nostalgia
"Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon" provides tongue-in-cheek pokes at the 80s while remaining an entertaining first-person shooter.
The 80s were a glorious time, filled with blown-out hair, synthesizer tunes and Brat Pack movies. (C'mon, you still find time to watch "The Goonies.") And now it appears the decade's making a comeback with video games.
Ubisoft's latest downloadable title, an "Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon" is the latest game inspired by the decade. Beginning this week, it's available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Steam for PCs for $14.99.
In the game, you play Sgt. Rex Colt, a smarmy Mark IV Cyber Commando, as he takes on an evil cyborg army in the future (which, in this case, is 2007). The game features a variety of missions, as well as side objectives, in which you rescue "nerds" and build up your weapon supply.
"Blood Dragon" has plenty of 80s essence: "Terminator" and "Aliens" actor Michael Biehn voices Colt (with jokes aplenty — he chews out the computer system in the beginning when he's forced to go through a tutorial); the soundtrack is inspired by 80s sci-fi like "Blade Runner" (courtesy of a band called Powerglove); and plenty of neon-lit territory almost makes it seem like you're running through a world fueled by bad dance-club lighting. There are even NES-console-style cinemas between each stage, inspired by games from that era. [See also: Midway Arcade: Classic Gaming for Your iPhone or iPad]
"Blood Dragon" pulls off a nice trick: It's a very capable shooter that stands out from last year's version of "Far Cry 3." (You don't even need "Far Cry 3" to play the "Blood Dragon" download; it's a separate release). But it also pays a loving tribute to the 80s, with pop culture references, sci-fi-inspired graphics and pure action machismo that we haven't seen since Jean-Claude Van Damme starred in "Cyborg."
If you're looking for other games with 80s flair, we've got some suggestions for you. First, there's "Retro City Rampage," a game that resembles what the "Grand Theft Auto" universe might have been like on an 8-bit Nintendo system. Filled with a variety of missions and more 80s jokes than you can shake a Rubik's Cube at, it's well worth the $15 price tag.
"Double Dragon Neon" is sure to fulfill whatever retro needs you haven't satisfied with these first two games. The beat-em-up game, released last year by Majesco Games for $9.99 on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, returns brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee to action as they take on the evil Skullmageddon and his ridiculous-looking thugs. (Pant suits and afros? Check.) Featuring a variety of classic "Double Dragon" moves and an inspired presentation — complete with soundtrack (we suggest track 4, "Mango Tango") — this game is truly a blast for everyone, especially fans of the original release.
So, with the help of these games, and other ones on the way (like the return of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in the forthcoming "Out of the Shadows" game), the 80s are definitely living on. But no, we will not lend you our VHS copy of "UHF." Get your own.