Being a child of the 90’s mean that you were actually born in the 80’s to appreciate the era. Back then, an explosion of fighting games erupted after the huge success of both Street fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat, with the latter being praised for it’s use of digitized fighters in a very impressive way.
Soon afterwards a slew of fighters came along that jumped on the bandwagon only to fail miserably. In their demise, they left us fond memories of games the likes of Time Killers, Kasumi Ninjas, Tattoo Fighters, Way of the Warrrior and Pray for Death. All these games were horrible but the so-bad-it’s-good’ horrible. They are now cult classics today and this is exactly the same fate that Death Cargo can expect.
Death Cargo is a one-on-one fighting game with 6 playable characters and 12 unlockable ones–so far–each possessing a unique set of skills and an interesting enough back-story. The game consist of three attack buttons and a special attack button, but the most interesting aspects of the game are the breaking points which are activated when the first life bar depletes, and the fatalities. Strangely enough, the moves are varied and quite complex and executing them is a joy to behold.
Speaking of fatalities, unlike most fighters, the moment an opponent staggers, you can destroy him in very graphic and amusing ways by executing either a ‘liferip’ or a ‘deathrip’. These actions force FMV sections to popup with some eye-popping visceral scenes that make the whole package worth it.
Death Cargo aptly follows the crash-landing of a death cargo–a ship that transports bio-weapons–on planet earth and the escape of it’s deadly cargo. Another death cargo is dispatched to retrieve the lost weapons and it is up to the captain to figure out what exactly happened.
From the get-go you are given 6 playable characters to choose from, and 12 non playable ones, possibly revealed via game rewards or future DLC’s.
Necrostorm really made the game shine in the gruesome department. Being horror movie-makers gave them an edge in the special effects department as unlike other games, the fatalities are live-action with a very graphic nature and a liberal use of blood and guts.
The game resembles an HD remake of an 90s arcade game, with larger than life characters and fluid animations. The main protagonist, Plasma, looks like an alien version of King of Fighters’ Kyo Kusanagi, and is a rather interesting character with fireballs, uppercuts and some devastating moves. Unfortunately, controls lag and the game is more like a special moves fest and a button masher rather than a combo-heavy slobberknocker but then again, this is what most of the games that inspired it are.
Death Cargo has a polished look with most of the features and modes you expect from a fighting game. The characters are interesting enough to make you want to see each of their endings, even though the game is not much fun to play. The thing is, no one should treat this game as a pure fighter, but more like a curiosity. Death Cargo feels more like a nostalgia trip with some amazing FX thrown in to it, and comes attached with a $20 price-tag which I found to be fair for what it offers.
Now here is where I face a dilemma. Death Cargo is not a great fighter but it is also not a horrible one: It has glitches, runs with an external codec and has no online or steam support. What it does have is a deep sense of nostalgia that will awaken inside every 90’s kid raised on arcade fighters. I applaud the developer for putting out a game like this, and maybe next time they will be able to produce an amazing game, but in the mean time Death Cargo will have to do and is definitely worth a shot.
Death Cargo is available for the PC and was made available to us via a review code from Necrostorm.