Things have taken a bad turn for Vinnie Cannoli. As a seasoned mob enforcer during the roaring 20’s, prohibition has made the Sicilian families for who Vinnie works extremely rich, extremely powerful and extremely adversarial. One of these mob godfathers has ordered you to infiltrate Thugtown to find a missing stooge called Frankie the fly, and extract him, unharmed.
The situation in Thugtown has been discordant for days following prohibition rioting the local rags have been reporting, and with a communication black out in effect, now is decided to be the time to sneak in by ship, to extract Frankie.
Within moments of docking, the truth of the situation is all too apparent, as the undead pour onto the ship and overwhelm the crew; but then a few scrawny dead heads aren’t going to stop Vinnie from finishing a job, so you disembark, determined to find Frankie, find out what is really going on in Thugtown and hopefully get both of you out alive.
Guns, Gore and Cannoli is a 2D side scrolling action shooter, where the streets of Thugtown, USA must be traversed to escape the rampaging horde that has overtaken the rundown areas of the city.
Controlling Vinnie is extremely refined. Movement feels fluid and responsive, with the minor niggle of ascending/descending stairs through precise jumping or falling its only drawback. Being a mob enforcer, Vinnie is more than familiar with firearms and a wealth of period based weaponry is available to decimate the ravenous undead horde, including double barreled and pump shotguns, tommy guns and even a Lewis machine gun available for those willing to explore. Each of these additional weapons have limited ammunition, but with frequent supplies of bullets and a 12 shot pistol with infinite rounds available throughout, there is more than enough lead to carry you through a level.
The enemies are one of the best parts of the game. Within the first level you will encounter a large variety of adversaries, ranging for the simple shamblers and crawling dead, to the exploding chefs, barrel throwers and sprinters you will battle throughout. Later in the game you will also take on other survivors, who along with wanting to stop your progression at all costs will also have to fight off the denizens of the undead. This interplay between different enemies allows you to take them on in diverse ways.
Each chapter is punctuated with a boss fight, and in typical old school platforming shooters, these are both challenging and extremely fun.
All of the above is accentuated by the cartoon art style, with its smooth animation, bold lines and extremely detailed environments; each moment is a feast for the eyes.
Add into this the fantastic audio, with voice work which compliments the Hollywood style mafia storyline and quippy one-liners while dispatching the undead, to the Godfather-esque soundtrack that overlays the entire adventure and you have a culmination of components that form something truly special.
At around 4 – 5 hours long, most would dismiss Guns, Gore, and Cannoli as a missed opportunity but after playing it through once I was immediately drawn to play through it again. Crazy Monkey Studios have obviously decided to opt for quality over quantity, and while the included co-op mode will extend the game beyond a single play through, the sheer joy I found within this panic inducing side scrolling shooter would be enough to draw me back for another go.
There are few games that I would joyfully return for a further helping after completion, and Guns, Gore, and Cannoli happily sits within that limited group.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 9/10 Format: PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Gun, Gore and Cannoli by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.