El Matador

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El Matador


For a moment, we thought Max Payne had made a return

Introducing Victor

It's not an easy life for Victor Corbet, special mission agent of the DEA. His job is to destroy the drug cartel La Valedora, and eliminate its boss. Such is a thumbnail sketch of the plot to El Matador or 'the bullfighter' (literally it translates to 'the killing one'). The goal seems simple enough, albeit with rather bloody consequences - but Victor's up to it. After all, he's a trained specialist - and as a crucial part of his training, he learns how to slow down time (one can only wish that real life DEA agents could undergo similar training).

Wait a minute - a DEA agent that can slow down time... haven't we heard this before? If you said 'Max Payne', you'd be correct. El Matador shares a lot of similarities to the 2001 hit and its 2003 sequel, chiefly in the gameplay department, and, of course, Victor shares the same profession as Max. But believe me, this is a good thing.

While El Matador doesn't have the gritty, comic-book style (and awesome analogies) that tied everything in Max Payne together, it does have the same great 3rd person over-the-shoulder camera, tight controls, and real-world inspired weapons which draw from the likes of the M16, MP5, .45 Desert Eagle, four Kalashnikov variants, dual MAC-10s, Uzi, sawed-off shotgun, and - my personal favorite - the Pancor Jackhammer).

In the mood

The game has an incredibly kickin' soundtrack, a high-tempo industrial/techno mix with good bass and a solid beat. The soundtrack is, to my mind, everything one could ask for in an action game. It is intense; laden with adrenaline, a perfect match to the game's challenging and exciting action.

There's a twist; the soundtrack actually slows down when the player initiates what Max Payne called a 'shot-dodge' (press a directional key and the shift, and Victor's character executes a leaping maneuver in that direction while everything else in the game world slows down - except your aim speed) or when entering the general 'slow down' mode. The rest of the sound for the game is similarly excellent, with gunfire and environmental effects being convincing (except, perhaps, for explosions - which could be beefed up a little bit).

If you're familiar with Max Payne, you already have a general idea of what to expect from the gameplay department: room-clearing breach tactics, proceeding from room to room and eliminating all your adversaries while performing tried and true maneuvers; or leaping into the lion's den with 'slow down' on, taking out opponents in one intense swoop. El Matador shakes up this equation by including sunnier, outdoor locations, in addition to the gritty industrial and low-rent interiors that drug cartels apparently favor.