Sunday, May 21, 2017.
by Adam Dileva

BUTCHER Box art With a game title like BUTCHER, you’d expect it to be filled with tons of violence and gore, and you’d be right, as developers Transhuman Design have done just that, but in a stylish sidescrolling 2D aesthetic. When the main quote for the game is “The easiest mode is ‘HARD’!”, you know you’re in for a good time of brutal, gory, and challenging gameplay. And if you were wondering, yes, the title BUTCHER is in all caps, probably in an attempt to be more hardcore.

BUTCHER can be described very easily: If the original DOOM was made as a 2d sidescrolling shooter instead of a FPS, this would be the result. Even though the gameplay is quite different, it’s got that DOOM spirit, complete with awesome metal inspired soundtrack, vicious brutality, and enough blood you could paint the walls. If you’re going to make a tribute to a game, it’s hard to go wrong with one of the legends of all gaming.

Just like its inspiration, BUTCHER isn’t going to wow you with a dramatic narrative, in fact, you’re a cyborg tasked with eliminating all of humanity. With your wide array of weapons, ranging from your trusty shotgun, assault rifle, flamethrower, grenade launcher, and even a rail gun, you’ll shoot anything that moves to complete your mission as you travel from stage to stage.

The inspiration from DOOM is apparent from the get go, as the levels are displayed in the same manner, and upon completion, even the blood style drips to wipe the screen happen, bringing you nostalgia if you’re as old as I am. The easiest mode is HARD (though technically there’s an easy mode, but it’s far too easy and meant to just experience the game), and while that’s true, it’s borderline too difficult to be fun, especially in the latter levels when you’re fighting incredibly hard enemies.

Your go-to weapon will be your trusty shotgun, as it’s your starter firearm, but it doesn’t perform like any other shotgun I’ve used before in any game. While it is incredibly powerful close range, you can get some incredibly long range shots that are accurate, thanks to the slight aim assist, making for some rapid gameplay. You get new and more powerful weapons as you progress, finding a favorite that suits your playstyle, though eventually you’ll run into certain types of enemies that have weaknesses to specific types of weapons over others.

The best part about your arsenal is that each weapon feels incredibly powerful. Seeing an enemy splatter into a pile of red mist is always entertaining, and even though the graphics are pixelated and 2D, the amount of detail put into the blood effects is astounding. Puddles of blood will drip based on where the enemies have died, and body parts will even stick to some surfaces. The relatively clean areas will eventually become painted in red blood by the time you clear each stage, especially the sections that has you trying to survive waves of enemies.

There are a handful of stages, each broken into four levels that don’t take terribly long to beat, though there are hidden collectibles scattered throughout the levels for those that want to earn 100% completion and achievements. Some levels are much quicker than others, where the later stages are a little more complex, having you flip switches to raise and lower doors and platforms to progress. Your first playthrough will probably take a few hours until you get the hang of things, but subsequent runs should be much smoother, depending on your difficulty level of course. There’s even achievements tied to completing the game under set times, which is going to take some dedication.

To accompany all of the bloody goodness is an awesome metal inspired soundtrack, something that sounds as if it was taken directly from DOOM as well. With each stage having a different backdrop and theme, the music tends to fit alongside. The pixelated 2D graphics may seem primitive at first, but there’s an incredible amount of detail and style hidden within.

My only real complaint is the controls. While the shooting works just fine, you need to jump with the Left Trigger, something that doesn’t feel natural, and cycling through the weapons with the Bumpers wasn’t as easy or as quick as I wanted, causing for a few unfair deaths. It feels awkward at first, but you will eventually become accustomed to it, though just be prepared to die and restart from the beginning of the level until it feels natural.

While DOOM was revolutionary for its hyper violence in the early 90’s, seeing violence and blood in almost any form of media these days is par the course. So while it doesn’t have that shock value that the legendary game BUTCHER is pulling its inspiration from, it nails the soul of the game perfectly, even with its completely different visual and gameplay style. BUTCHER doesn’t wear out its welcome with its perfect length and options for replayability with harder mode and collectibles.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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