By: Jeff Cater
Get those Bruno Magli shoes laced neatly and bend the brim of your fedora, because you are Vincent Cannoli; hardened mob enforcer on a mission to find a couple of fellow players in the mob scene. Only problem is, the streets are filled with the undead! Gun, Gore, & Cannoli takes place during the prohibition era and offers a new take on the story of the Roaring Twenties — one that might make us think twice about all the horror and blood spilled during that time.
Whether you choose to use the left stick or d-pad to control Vincent, you’ll find them equally snappy and responsive. Usually using a thumb stick in a side-scrolling game like this can be pretty problematic when it comes to lining up to a set of stairs or similar, but I didn’t face any of that in my time with GG&C.
Switching weapons is done with the Y button, and firing said weapon uses the right trigger. Throwing a grenade can be done with the left trigger, and the left bumper can be used to toss a Molotov cocktail. Reloading is bound to the right bumper, which is the only trouble this game provided: I kept switching weapons with X and Y when I meant to reload.
Cycling through weapons with X and reloading your gun with the right bumper just sort of feels backwards, but it’s easy enough to get used to after a short while. Plus, you’ll likely be grinning and giggling too hard to really notice.
Everything you see in GG&C has been carefully hand-crafted by truly talented folks. From the weather effects to zombies going up in flames due to a Molotov, Vincent’s grimace when he takes a hit and more, there’s a huge amount of small details within. Shotgun blasts are nice and powdery, and the Tommy gun rains shell casings that bounce comically on the ground. There is a pretty wide variety of enemy zombies to deal with as well, each with their own wonderfully done death and attack animations.
The soundtrack is simply amazing, pulling music right out of the 1920s and injecting it directly into a comedic zombie shooter. Very few things rival taking on waves of the undead when you’ve got a nice, soft music bed of snappy swing tunes. The voice work is incredible as well, even if the subtitles sometimes miss a few key words.
As Vincent Cannoli, you’re on a private mission to go discuss a few business matters with some of the other mob bosses in town. Trouble is that the streets are overrun with the undead; though that means very little to a man like Vincent.
He has access to a bevy of weaponry including a breach-loading shotgun, a veritable hand cannon and, of course, a Tommy gun. You’ll find all of these rather early in-game, so the discovery of new weapons quickly falls off.
Thankfully, the rest of the equation that makes up the gameplay here is absolutely wonderful: you must guide Cannoli from one end of the stage to another, often taking hidden paths to find secret rooms with ammo or food. Checkpoints, which are old-school traffic signals, tend to blend mercilessly into the background, but you’ll often activate them unintentionally.
The various enemy types you face all have a certain tactic required to defeat them. For example, just when you’re getting used to blowing off zombie heads with your hand cannon, a bunch of WWI clad soldiers with bullet-proof helmets (and rifles!) start bearing down on you. The flow of each stage coupled with the game’s superb humor makes it very hard to put down.
Then! THEN! You can even get up to three friends to run amok with you, choosing other mobster characters or even silly ones, like the Rambo knock-off, or the soldier that looks suspiciously like a Stormtrooper with a flamethrower. Whether you decide to knock around your friends in Versus mode or take them through the story with you, fun will be had. Lots of it.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli might be the most pleasant surprise of the year: it’s got refreshing humor, stupendous graphics and a soundtrack that’s incredibly easy to fall in love with. It might be a bit bloody for kids, despite its first-glance charm, but then again it’s called Guns, Gore & Cannoli. Lucky you, you can pick it up on Steam, Xbox One and PS4! So whaddya waitin’ for, wiseguy?