Rubi is not your average video game heroine. She's a gun-toting, liquor-drinking, pole-swinging, opera-hating, sword-wielding, airplane-hating gun for hire with a big chip on her shoulder. She's the anti-Lara Croft; a hard-as-nails woman who isn't afraid to get some blood on her face and savagely eviscerate everything that gets in her way. She's the type of woman that will simultaneously arouse and frighten even the hardest metal head in the audience. Rubi is quite a woman.
Rubi is the star of Wet, an over-the-top action game from Bethesda Software. This action-packed Xbox 360 game takes its inspiration from the ultraviolent (and ultra-cheesy) Grindhouse movies of the 1960s and 70s. With its film imperfections (resulting in grainy, jumpy visuals), scenes missing, retro commercials and ludicrous story, Wet shares a lot in common with Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Quentin Tarrantino's Kill Bill series. This style sets the game apart from every other action game on the platform, even if everything else about the game is old hat to action game fanatics.
We're introduced to Rubi as she's on the chase for a stolen human heart. Within the first few seconds we learn that this chick isn't afraid to dual-wield a gun and carry a big sword. We also find out that she's okay with jumping from car to car on a busy highway, all while making sure to kill motorcyclists and cause as much chaos as possible. My type of girl.
Before long Rubi finds herself hired for a kidnapping job, unfortunately not all is what it seems and her reward for a job well done is being stabbed in the stomach and left for dead. As you can imagine, this kind of betrayal isn't to be taken lying down. So, after she has fully recuperated, Rubi vows revenge and goes on a globetrotting mission to rain bloody terror on the people involved (and maybe even a few that weren't). This simplistic (yet somehow convoluted) story is just enough to keep you engaged through this 13 level adventure.
Fans of movie-inspired action games like John Woo Presents Stranglehold and Max Payne will feel right at home with Wet's acrobatic gameplay. Rubi is equipped with two guns, allowing her to shoot bad guys when she's jumping, sliding, swinging on a pole, sliding down a ladder, running on a wall and much more. While in the middle of an action you can pull the trigger button and suddenly go into a cinematic slow-motion mode that makes it easier to aim your gun and get out of sticky situations. There is no limit to the amount of times you can use this slow-motion technique, it happens any time you shoot your gun while doing something acrobatic.
As you might imagine, the whole game revolves around you killing your enemies in the most exciting ways possible. You get extra points and multipliers for chaining together kills, something that will no doubt improve your style score and allows you to buy new abilities. As you play through the game you will learn all kinds of cool techniques, including a lot of stylish ways to kill your foes with your sword. By the end of the game I was an unstoppable killing machine; a one-woman army with so much style and grace that it almost looked like a well orchestrated dance. A bloody, ultraviolent dance.
What sets Wet apart from the other games is how it chooses to target the enemies. As you enter the acrobatic slow-motion one of your guns will automatically target a close enemy. This allows you to manually aim the other gun, giving you the option of taking down two (or more) bad guys at once, or aiming both of your guns at the same guy to get a faster kill. No matter what weapon you're using, you will always have the ability to shoot at two different people at once, which can be a real rush as you're adding up kills and increasing your score multiplier.
On top of the normal run and gun levels, the game adds a couple of mini-games that need to be completed before advancing the story. The first mini-game is set in a closed off arena, where you have to battle endless swarms of bad guys while cutting off their entrances. To do this you have to search around the level for the markers that need to be destroyed, all while dealing with a bunch of never ending bad guys that are only there to see you fail. Early in the game you'll find these arena levels to be easy and simplistic, however, late in the game you will be forced to deal with some truly powerful foes in levels that require you to explore your surroundings while dodging the bullets.
The second mini-game is called Rage and it happens only a few times throughout the course of the game. Unlike the arena, this mode actually changes the look (and feel) of Wet. The moment you enter Rage mode you will discover that everything looks like a comic book, using only red, white and black to display the visuals. Visually speaking, this mode looks a lot like Sega's stunning (yet underrated) MadWorld. Here you are tasked with killing as many people as you can; chaining kills together to increase your score and life. I almost dropped my control the first time I was sucked into a Rage mini-game, it was that impressive. Unfortunately a bit of its charm wears off after you've done it six or seven times, but I still love the way the game changes the graphics to emphasize the urgency of the game.
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