Big Drunk Satanic Massacre, as evidenced by its cheeky title, is primarily concerned with eliciting a chuckle at its various excesses.
As an isometric mouselook shooter, the game puts players in the role of Satan’s son Lou, a down-on-his luck wino who’s had a rough time since America invaded hell thirty years earlier in search of resources to exploit. If that sounds like the game is a parody of Doom told from the demons’ point of view, it’s because that’s exactly what the developers were going for.
While the demons are fairly standard fantasy fare — Lou’s design owes a great debt to Hellboy, for example — the human enemies are explicitly based on the space marine armor from ID’s long-running shooter franchise. BDSM gets a decent amount of mileage out of these references, and even makes some strong satirical points about the tendency of corporations to treat workers as consumable resources. It’s literally true in this case, where Lou finds himself faced with three options — be ground up into food to serve to fat American tourists, go to work as a plaything in a brothel, or lead a bloody revolution against his oppressors.
The third option makes up the majority of BDSM‘s running time as Lou moves through hell, battling the demons who’ve accepted the new social order and the humans who oversee their toil. Combat is fast and brutal, with guns, rockets, and even Diablo-inspired laser beams blasting foes to pieces. While there are just three bosses and a dozen levels, there’s still a decent amount of variety in the settings, and new enemies continuously appear for the entire campaign to keep things from getting too dull.
What surprised me most about BDSM, though, is how weirdly tame it is about everything but violence and foul language. For example, Lou heals himself by drinking booze, but the game is careful to only refer to it as “MILK”. Even stranger is the game’s bowdlerization of its sex scenes.
When I first played the preview build, it featured a sex-themed minigame whenever Lou encountered one of the many succubi. A pin-up card featuring a demoness would appear onscreen, and the player would be prompted to rhythmically tap a few buttons on the keyboard while a voice actress moaned in the background. Upon completion, the player would unlock the flip side of the card featuring a topless version of the same art. It was fairly tame, and an obvious parody of the Witcher franchise’s treatment of its hero’s womanizing.
When the build updated, I was surprised to see the minigame changed. The succubi have now been replaced by a picture of a gun, and the moans are now the sound of gunshots at the firing range. In a note from the devs they mention that they weren’t psyched about the censorship, but in such case I can’t imagine why the minigame was left in at all, since it no longer has anything to do with the act being performed.
Even with the more salacious content chopped off, BDSM is a pleasantly sleazy bloodbath that should satisfy anyone looking for a gory, fast-paced shoot-em-up.
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