It’s not often that a beat ‘em up game can pay homage to the classics, have an intriguing premise and also be able to stand on its own as a unique title. Mother Russia Bleeds, in all of its bloody glory, seems to walk this line with ease.
Set in an alternate, dystopian 1980’s U.S.S.R, Mother Russia Bleeds sees you imprisoned and under the influence of “Nekro”, a drug distributed by the Russian mafia, who also happen to be working with the government. Unlike many brawler-type games, Mother Russia Bleeds puts a lot of work into the story and – although the dialogue itself leaves much to be desired – it manages creates a much more immersive experience than other titles in the genre.Part of why the story is so successful is because it’s an integral part of the gameplay. Not only are you trying to uncover the secret behind Nekro and how far the mafia’s influence reaches through the story, but also during gameplay, as you constantly have to inject yourself with more of the drug in order to stay alive. Nekro can be harvested from the twitching bodies of some of enemies you kill, and as well as replenishing health, it can also be used to go into berserk mode, which will see your strength and speed boosted for a short period of time
The game deals with some mature themes, and apart from the obvious drug usage, you’ll also venture into a pretty disturbing BDSM club among other things. It is this disturbingly over the top violence and gore that makes Mother Russia Bleeds so enjoyable. The game can get away with churning out violent deaths and bucket loads of blood thanks to its pixel art style. Highly influenced by old school games, the graphics fit in well with the 80’s storyline, and the lack of realism makes it easy to sit back and enjoy the carnage. The soundtrack plays like a cross between an 80’s sci-fi film and a Combichrist album, which – surprisingly enough – really lends itself to the dystopian nature of the game.