CGRundertow JOHNNY CARNAGE for Xbox 360 Video Game Review
Guns? Check. Damsels in Distress? Well, there’
actually frozen in blocks of ice, so I guess that counts as a check. Hordes of evil skeleton
mutant things, attacking you from every angle? Check. Vending machines full of guns and grenades?
Check for your convenience. This is Johnny Carnage for the XBLA indie channel, breaking
down the story of just how one goes about changing a C to a K and putting “Lord”
as his first name. Or maybe it’s just an action-platformer race-against-the-clock with
lots and lots of bullets. I lean toward the latter. We’re not really given a reason for the
carnage, just the carnage itself, and that’s fine. Here’s the skinny: You’re a dude
with a gun (which actually exhibits recoil, word to your physics professor), there are
girls trapped in this cavern, and you’ve gotta rescue at least five of ‘em before
you can move onto the next. Unfortunately, there’s also a slew of evil Vault Boy-looking
robot skeleton monsters, with varying levels of armaments, standing between you and sweet,
sweet victory. But rather than a life bar, they chew up your clock; once the timer in
the upper-right hits zero… That’s right, it’s time for your patented Rambo scream
of anguish and despair. Fortunately, you’ve got a number of power-ups to facilitate your
carnage: Grenades, shotguns and other ammo upgrades, time extensions, and BULLET TIME.
Complete with absurd facial expression, even in this very-cartoony aesthetic. Some of these
drop directly from the skull-headed freaks themselves, though others must be obtained
from the handy-dandy vending machines with names like “‘Nades R Us.” You can even
pay off drone turrets to blast the hell out of a particular respawn point, thus thinning
the waves that you yourself have to muddle through. Milkstone Studios know this territory well.
Got an idea that’s fun as hell, but not really robust enough to justify a commercial
release? That’s what the Indie channel is for. Johnny Carnage is among the best of the
best that the cheap seats have to offer, and you can obtain it for just A BUCK. Honestly.
I can’t walk down the hall and get a Pepsi from the vending machine for that cheap, but
you can have a game FULL of vending machines, FULL of explosives and various flavors of
ammunition. And you’re gonna need it, because this thing – for all its simplicity – is an
old-school level of hard. Vicious, brutal, unforgiving… and alarmingly addictive. No
wonder he seems to have such a following in later life.