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Now this is what you call a genre mash-up. The new game from Project Gotham maestros Bizarre Creations is a third-person shooter that you play like a cross between a racing game and a lightgun game, yet has much of the look and feel of an arcade beat-em-up. Frankly, it's not easy to get your head around all that - but then it's not always easy to get your head around The Club.
Play something like Gears of War and you basically know where you are. You start at one point on the map, make your way to an objective or an exit on the other side, and try your best to kill anything that stands in the way. The Club is very different. True, in the most basic game mode, Sprint, that's exactly what you're doing. However, simply getting from A to B while blowing up enemies X, Y and Z really isn't going to get you very far. The Club isn't just about surviving; it's all about shooting with speed and style. If you're a cowardly custard camper or the kind of bore who likes to carefully work their way through a shooter, headshot by headshot, The Club probably isn't for you.
As you might remember from our preview, the storyline is a reworking of The Most Dangerous Game/Hard Target and Fight Club, where an elite group of morally bankrupt moneybags hosts an underground kill-or-be-killed competition, dragging in fighters from all over the world. Essentially, the set-up is much like the King of Iron Fist tournament in the Tekken games, with eight playable characters, all of whom have some sketchy storyline and a reason to enter the fray. The Tournament is played out across eight different locations around the world, and each location has six or seven separate events. Some will be sprints, where you simply have to get to the exit. Others will be Gauntlet events, where you do the same but against a worryingly draconian time limit. Others may be Siege challenges, where you must survive for a set period without leaving the prescribed area, or Survival events where waves of enemies converge on your location. Finally we get Time Attack, where you have to run a course through the level, managing up to three laps while killing foes, shooting targets and collecting tokens to keep the meter running long enough to reach the finish line.
PS3 and XB360 versions reviewed, PC version available.
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