Review: Hotline Miami

Okay, before you read this review, play this song simultaneously.

Playing? Good.  Now picture this in your head.  You’re standing in front of a door.  You’re wearing a tiger/chicken/duck/pig/giraffe/lion/frog/elephant mask.  You’re empty-handed but totally wired.  You bust the door down and knock over whoever was standing behind it.  There’s a guy with a gun in the room next door, he hears you and comes rushing in.  There’s no time to rush that armed guy with the tire iron that’s on the floor, you’ll be shot to pieces.  So you throw it at the guy, it knocks him down and then you jump on the guy and beat his face into the ground.  As the first guy you knocked down struggles to get up, you beat him into the ground too.  Blood spatters everywhere.   You pick up the gun and proceed to mow down the other lackeys in the rooms that follow.  Shit is torn to shreds; you step over corpses, pick up a new weapon as the gun empties, more deaths.

I don’t know why I’m doing this, why I’m killing all these people but the music, like the one you should be listening to as you read this, is driving me on.  That’s all that matters.  The heart-pumping, bass-booming beats, and the occasional staccato of gunfire or splatter of blood on the cold tiles of a kitchen/toilet floor.  My fingers race over WASD and left and right click like some maestro of death.

Turn the corner, oh f- a dog just ripped out my throat/some guy shot me before I could get him/a golf club connected with my skull.  Now I’m on the floor, my mask ripped off.  Press R to Repeat.

And I’m back on the trail for blood again.  From the beginning of the level.  But that’s okay, I can do this all night.  For I am Ryan Gosling.  I am the Driver.  I am also wearing an awesome white jacket.  I can’t really see if it has a Scorpion embroided on the back from this top down view, and although everything is a murky mash of colors and pixels, I can certainly see when my fingers go into some guy’s eye sockets, or when blood spurts out of a headless corpse after I’ve blasted it with a shotgun.  Man, this game is graphic.  But- but fuck, I love it.  Give me more.  MORE I SAY.  Next level.

I’m the master of my own narcissistic cinematic killing spree.  I’m not only playing Hotline Miami, I’m playing the imagination in my head of me enacting all these murders if any of it were to happen in real life.  Every methodical move I make, every pointless life I take, I become stronger, faster, more alive.  Oh shit, I got killed again for the fifteenth time.  Keep going, keep going.  Try this tactic instead.

Every time I die and return, the world seems to get fuzzier.  Why are there masked men talking to me?  What is with the messages that are left on my answering machine?  Am I imagining all this?  Does it matter?  The colors are bleeding into one another like the sick that comes out of my mouth after a hard night’s partying.  Or killing.  Chunks of food, lots of tequila, and maybe an undigested pill or two.  Press R.

And we’re back to stabbing some more bad guys and shooting them in the face to the endless sounds of enlightenment.   More.  More.  I feel really good.  Like, really good.

All this while, there’s a thought at the back of my head.  A small thought, but it’s there.  This is just a game.  This is just a game.  Don’t embrace it so wholeheartedly.  It’s nothing more than a lean, mean game with a good soundtrack, a fucking great one.

Don’t go crazy on me, Jun.  This is just a fucking game.  The violence is not real.  You’ve got to remember that!

Fuck it.  I want my next building full of goons to kill.  I want the maze of death.  My answering machine is beeping.  The music has started up again.  Time to put on that mask and get to work.

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