He's not really an 80's legend.Despite the title of the game suggesting otherwise, there’s a very good reason why we haven’t heard of Matt Hazard. The third person shooter, Eat Lead The Return Of Matt Hazard, parodies the last 25 years of gaming and its star character is said to have began his career in one of the 2D side-scrolling shooters of the 1980’s. Of course he hasn’t, he's been totally made up for Vicious Software's latest foray onto Xbox 360 and PS3, but the joke goes that Hazard was an immensely popular character for over a decade before a bad decision by the franchise’s developer to try and cash on his fame by releasing a game similar to Super Mario Kart, entitled Hazz-Matt Carts, brought his career crashing to a premature end.
Eat Lead is meant to be the long-awaited return of Matt Hazard, brought back to his very best for next-gen consoles by mega game publisher Marathon Megasoft. Essentially, it's a straight forward no thrills no spills third person shooter, with a unique storyline that pits Hazard as a space marine who believes that he’s starring in a brand new adventure. However, he’s soon brought back down to Earth after hackers break into the game’s code and send foes from his past appearances, from fictional games such as A Fistful of Hazard and You Only Live 1,317 Times, back to ruin his big videogame comeback.
Eat Lead is a tongue-in-cheek mockery of many different genres, in particular shooter games from the past. There are zombies, cowboys, commandos (with water-guns), monsters and even 2D German soldiers to eliminate as you make your way across some locations that have become a familiar sight in shooters over the years, including warehouses, casino floors, saloons and a mansion. There are power-ups to collect to improve your weapons, mini-bosses to fight, and plenty of fun poked at bad design decisions in past games, such as over the top QTEs (Quick-Time Events), long loading times - masquerading as elevator rides - and awful blind-fire mechanics. The problem is that it's hard to know what's deliberate and what's just poor gameplay design. As a result, the 101 shooter genre clichés don’t quite have the desired effect. Eat Lead starts off being mildly amusing, and it does have the occasional funny moment throughout it's 6-8 hours of gameplay time, but the repetitive gun-play, the poor A.I., the dawdling pace, and the lack of genuine excitement will soon wipe that smile off your face.