Guns, Gore & Cannoli is developed by Crazy Monkey Studios, who have created a 2D side scrolling shooter like such games as Metal Slug and added in zombies, cheesy comedy, and over the top action. You play the game as Vinnie Cannoli, who is a gun for hire gangster who has a contract to find a man called Goodfella in Thugtown. Before getting off the boat, Vinnie’s job in searching for Goodfella is halted by zombies! Nearly everyone in Thugtown have now turned into the walking dead, who are on the lookout for some fresh brains. Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a run and gun side scroller like Metal Slug or Contra. The controls are all rather simple with you moving left and right, jumping, shooting, and with the ability to kick when it’s needed. You will shoot everything that moves, but you can’t aim your shots, so you will either shoot standing up, crouched, or even jumping. Most of those shots will hit the body, but head shots are common also and just happen to be the fastest way to take out an enemy. You will face many types of zombie as well as other mobsters, soldiers and even massive rats! The mobsters and soldiers all carry weapons, but the bullet fire can easily be dodged by ducking or jumping over the bullet. Zombies come in all shapes and forms, you have the slow mindless ones, ones that can spew poison gas, the big football player zombie who takes quite a few shots before going down. The worst enemy of them all that I encountered were the rats however. One reason being I just don’t like them, and secondly I had more trouble killing them than any other basic enemy.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a Mafia story that involves a lot of zombies, and it’s really quite an amusing experience. The plot has a couple of decent twists and in it, and the voice acting holds true to the stereotypes Hollywood has solidified in everyone’s mind of what 1920’s gangsters sounded like. If you turn on the subtitles, they sometimes act as a translation for the more unusual phrases uttered by Vinnie, though the game does cycle through the same list of quotes as you go blast away zombies and gangsters alike.
Being part of the mob you will of course have a lot of guns at your disposal to off these undead. You start off the game with a 12 shot pistol with unlimited ammo, and while it’s fine against an everyday zombie, you will need something with a bit of kick to take down the stronger ones in the bunch. While ammo drops are quite generous, there will be times where you’ll run out, forcing you to cycle through all the weapons in your arsenal. Different enemy types take different amounts of damage to put down, so while your pistol may do against one creature, you’ll find you’ll need to get in close with a shotgun to finish something else off. There’s never really a lull in the action as bullets fly, and grenades explode and you’re encouraged to just fire away at everything you see, even if that may lead you to a quicker death than you had planned. The environment design is also pleasing to the eye as it all looks a bit like a cartoon, down to the fires that burn and the cars that sit in Vinnie’s way. Enemies change facial expressions when hit and there is some destructible terrain where windows shatter and wooden towers blow apart. When you get a chain of explosions going it all looks chaotic in a good way, though I did notice some slowdown in the frame rate in the most intense scenes. This also occurred rarely when a large number of different types of enemies were on screen.
The best addition to the game is the added local multiplayer which can go up to 4 players, and I personally believe that games like this are meant to be played with family and mates. Playing together you can cover each other and make sure you don’t miss any hidden ammo packages. There is a versus mode in which it puts you in an arena against your friends, but it’s nowhere near as good as playing through the campaign with them. Visually the game looks pretty good for a 2D shooter. The art is all hand drawn, which gives the game a cartoon feel, especially when you see the explosions and fire effects. I’ve always been fond of the whole mobsters era on how it looked and how people dressed, which is great as the developers went with a style of music that suited the era along with the stereotype gangster speech.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a short game that can be completed in around 3 & half hours, though I think that is the right length for what the game is. Any longer and the gameplay would have worn thin and outstayed its welcome. Run and gun games are lacking these days, so it was nice that Crazy Monkey Studios has filled that gap and until Mafia comes back onto the scene it was great to have a game from the era where mobsters ruled the cities. The only real disappointment I had with the game is that Vinnie couldn’t direct his bullets a little more, as it had to be straight on and nothing else. Hopefully if (or when) the developer decides to do another game in the future them this is something they could take a look at.
There’s a lot of fun to be had in the time the game lasts, and it looks great to boot. The exaggerated voice acting fits perfectly with the tone of the title and the story is surprisingly entertaining too. There’s never a dull moment in Guns, Gore & Cannoli, and it ends just at the right time too. Vinnie may not be the most likeable protagonist in a game (I like him tho) but he knows how to get the job done and thats what counts! KASANOVA APPROVED