Crispy Gamer

First Shot: Shank

Watching the trailer for Shank, I knew that I was in for something different from the norm. Shank is presented as a hyperviolent stylized old-school beat ‘em up, a Double Dragon-type side scroller where the constant use of bats and knives led to actual bloodshed. I’m truly a sucker for retro-type games, and one of the things I’m consistently impressed with by modern developers is the ways in which they are consistently changing the form that became a cliche long ago.

The game even follows a tired storytelling device; left for dead after his girlfriend is kidnapped, you control Shank as he marches out to find his girlfriend’s abductors. In a not-so-subtle nod to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films, Shank discovers that his girlfriend’s capture was at the hands of his former comrades, an elite kill squad out for revenge when Shank tries to quit the team cold turkey.

So far through Shank, I’ve managed to decimate, kill, behead, slaughter, and maim dozens of enemies using a knife, grenades, a chainsaw, and a set of dual pistols. And I’m only done with the first level. Enemies so far have not been too difficult, and the game is as old-school as they come; I spend most of my time going from left to right destroying everything I see on screen. The first boss took a little bit of time once I got used to his patterns, but really, it’s your basic Streets of Rage-styled fight. The biggest question I have so far with the game, and I would say this is a question that applies to the entire genre, is does Shank have enough depth to stand out amongst a pretty tired and mostly forgotten genre?

Be sure to check back in soon at Crispy Gamer when I’ll have a full review of Shank.


Tired and mostly forgotten genre? Maybe a couple of years ago that argument might have been valid but I still the old-school beat-em-up is making a comeback. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and and Castle Crashers are just two of the notable entries in this genre. This resurgence is likely because of the related comeback of retro games in general; two games that come to mind there are Mega Man 9 and Retro Game Challenge.

That screenshot on the front page really reminds me of Samurai Jack for whatever reason, that super cool Cartoon Network cartoon that's now on Boomerang. I dig the style and the genre. I look forward to the review buddy.

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