I recently had the chance to check out the first three levels of Mother Russia Bleeds, a new beat-em-up from French team Le Cartel. In the game, up to four players are tasked with escaping a Russian prison, a feat that requires beating hundreds of enemies to bloody stumps by whatever means necessary, doing gobs of a weird drug called Necro, and, erm, throwing feces and teeth to celebrate. Take a look at the extremely graphic trailer below.
If you’ve spent any time with classic games like Streets of Rage or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, you know what to expect. Players are armed with three basic combat commands: punch, kick and grab. All moves, including the grab, can be performed in mid-air. We encountered a wide variety of enemy types during our four-person cooperative demo, from roided-out prison inmates to scientists wielding explosive beakers.
Throughout the game, players will encounter corpses bloated with the drug Necro, a strange and seemingly experimental narcotic that seems like a weird hybrid of PCP and bath salts, that they can extract using an enlarged syringe. The player can use Necro to either heal or amp themselves up, letting them unleash a wild barrage of attacks or just rip an enemy in half. You can also use Necro to heal your teammates if they are running low on juice. William S. Sessions would be really disappointed.
Players can use almost anything as a weapon in Mother Russia Bleeds, including severed human heads and toilet seats. We had a good time trying to play baseball using one of the heads and a baseball bat, but couldn’t quite connect, putting a big ding in our RBI. During one memorable sequence, the entire team was wielding rat corpses.
At first, Mother Russia Bleeds seems to channel recent games like Hotline Miami, with an over-the-top, ultraviolent ’80s aesthetic, but it quickly proves itself as its own beast entirely. The game is aggressively disgusting and unsavory, and tries very hard to be as grotesque and off-putting as possible, dressing a straightforward beat-em-up experience in gallons of blood, drugs, and fecal matter. It will definitely be enough to turn some people off from the game entirely.
That said, even those who stomach the bodily fluids might have trouble finding the meat of the game. While a combo counter keeps track of the number of hits made in succession, it seems mostly superficial — players are still mostly confined to a few simple, repetitive attacks. As it stands, Mother Russia Bleeds seems to be leaning more on style than substance at the moment– hopefully the full game will be a bit deeper. Look for Mother Russia Bleeds to launch on PC and PS4 this month.