I used to absolutely love a good “button masher” back in the day. I’m not talking fighting games like Street Fighter. Those can be too technical. I’m talking about games like the old arcade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or even The Simpsons arcade game. All I need is somewhat of a decent story and a handful of buttons to randomly smash.
Well, that’s what the team at La Cartel Studio set out to do with Mother Russia Bleeds. The game is set in an alternate 1980’s Russia that’s ruled by the Soviet Union. Four workers fight for a guy named, Mikhail to make extra money on the side. During a match, the fighters are gassed and kidnapped by government employees, only to wake up a month later in a secret underground laboratory. Turns out they have been made into test subjects for an addictive drug called, Nekro. The nasty stuff causes all sorts of side effects, but is absolutely needed in order to survive.
You spend most of the game escaping the secret lab and prison you’ve been kept in. You’ll be met with pissed off bodyguards, acid throwing scientists, hell, even zombies and wild animals! Everyone is trying to stop you!
The gameplay itself is plays like a hardcore version of Streets of Rage. There’s tons of blood and gore in the level-based story mode! MRB definitely has an “adult” feel to it. What’s different about this game is that you’ll need this Nekro drug in order to survive the game. Once the drug starts leaving your system, you’ll start hallucinating, slowing down, and eventually dying. So, you’ll constantly be shooting yourself up throughout the game. You’ll be able to syphon out the drug from fallen enemies when you start getting low or just want to stock up on the drug.
You can play the story in couch co-op or local multiplayer. That’s where most of the fun is at. There’s also survival and boss rush modes. In the survival mode, you can unlock different forms of the drug the further you get. These different “strains” can be used before each match to enhance your body in different ways. It’s at least a little something more to play for besides just a high score I guess.
There’s honestly not much else to Mother Russia Bleeds. I really wish there was more to it. I understand what the developers were trying to achieve with the game being an old-school brawler, but I still felt it needed a bit more. The story mode is fun enough, but tends to get a bit repetitive at times. As far as the survival mode and boss rush, they are nice additions, but didn’t have enough to keep me entertained more than a few minutes. Regardless, Mother Russia Bleeds is a pretty solid homage to the brawlers of the past. Just don’t expect much more than that.