I am 50 Cent and so Can You: Blood on The Sand Review

This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. And I love it. I'm not even going to try and defend myself, other than to say sometimes the craziest shit can be fun. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is ridiculous, crazy, and totally fun, and I'm not entirely sure why. It features a ridiculous, hackneyed story that's poorly written and beyond contrived. It's got uninspired, merely serviceable graphics, and utterly typical, unimaginative third person shooter, cover-based game play. And I spent the weekend playing the hell out of this game, often in lieu of playing clearly “superior game,” Killzone 2. Why is this? I have a theory.

First, the set up. Hard core gangsta rapper and all around super-magical badass 50 Cent has been hired to perform in some war-torn Middle Eastern country. But while he's on stage, some pussy-ass bitch goes and steals the money. 50 Cent wisely puts a gun to the convert promoter's head, demanding payment. The promoter does what we'd all do in this situation and gives 50 the diamond encrusted skull of some dead courtesan he's got in his safe. But then on the way outta town with his skull, some Russian “bitch” and a bunch of guys with guns ambush 50 and his faithful G-Unit companion, taking the skull and leaving 50 with nothing but a gun and a hankering for vengeance as he quests to get his fucking skull back. Then comes lots and lots of shooting and cursing and yelling, with a 100% 50 Cent performed soundtrack thumping along in time with the rocket bursts and shotgun blasts.

I won't give any more of the story away, because if I told you any specifics, they'd probably just encourage you to not play the game. I will mention, as has anyone who's played the game, that 50 Cent clearly hate helicopters, because you'll be blowing up a lot of them. Pretty much all the boss battles are versus gunships flying high above you. Here's a pro-tip for ya – the rockets are annoyingly slow and the choppers dodge them, so the key is to save up your Gangsta Fire power bar and then use it to slow time so the enemy can't dodge the rocket. Works like a charm. What's that you ask? Gangsta Fire? Why that's 50 Cent's ability to slow down time after he kills bunches of dudes with his machine-gun. The more you kill, especially if you do it in rapid succession, the higher the bar. Of course 50 Cent can't really control the flow of time – that's ridiculous – no, it's just a way to simulate in the game his preternatural gangsta combat reflexes. It's also pretty much the exact same mechanic as seen in FEAR 2 and all the way back to Max Payne, which is fine with me. It works. Especially against helicopters.

You won't need that Gangsta Fire all that often in other fire fights, because they're mostly pretty easy. There's plenty of cover to dodge between, and if you're careful and choose your shots, you can make it through without too much trouble. Or you can be like me and eschew cover except in the most dire of circumstances (e.g., facing heavy machine guns or lots of RPGs at once – 50 can shrug off just a single rocket to the chest) and just wad in, guns blazing. This becomes particularly satisfying once you've got a machine-gun. But really all the combat is satisfying – the guns make great sounds, the enemies go down easy, and there's always points and bonuses and money flying up in the air as you lay waste to your foes. It's all some wonderful, blood-soaked, rap-fueled dream.

And that's my theory about this game's appeal deep appeal, at least for me. I don't much care for 50 Cent's music on its own, but the game wouldn't be half as much fun if there weren't a play list of dozens of 50 tracks blasting away in the background at all times, the over the top gangsta bravado melding seamlessly with the staccato of gunfire, the screams of your enemies, the warnings from your G-Unit compadre, and the obscenity-laced taunts that 50 slings at those who've wronged him (that is, everybody). The music belongs there, because this is not a shooter really, nor is it an action game really. This is a teenage boy fantasy simulator. This is a kid after school playing gangsta with his friends – everything is over the top, everything makes 50 Cent look awesome and bad ass. None of it makes any sense, which doesn't matter, because it's all about the ego stroke. With 50 Cent: Blood on The Sand, the Vitamin Water-owning rapper millionaire is letting us into his little daydream world for a while. Some people will fine this an unappealing prospect. The teenage boy in me, the wanna be badass in me, and the sheer egoist in me all love it. So if any of that sounds like something you'd enjoy, then I suggest renting that bitch, yo. Buying it? Maybe not. We still have to live in the real world, and there's better stuff to spend your money on.

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