Set in the year 2067, a Death Cargo, a ship carrying bioengineered creations, makes an emergency landing on Earth. The bioweapons escape and begin to infect new hosts. A new commander named Plasma is then sent to dispatch of them. Each one-on-one fight ends in a Mortal Kombat Test Your Might button smashing display with the possibility of slaughtering your opponent in a particularly gruesome manner. The concrete walls drop and the scene cuts to FMV (full motion video) of a ludicrous death scene dubbed deathrip.
“The more manic and less restricted style of low budget creation”I first stumbled across the production company Necrostorm at a film festival that had a late night showing of Adam Chaplin, an Italian splatter flick that harked back to the genre films of the ’80s and ’90s. Skip forward six months and a video of this upcoming title is posted on our forum. It’s colour usage, warped facial modelling and gore were an exact match to what was contained in the aforementioned film. Turns out they’re from the same production studio.
Death Cargo is a PC only fighting game that has reportedly already covered costs through other film projects, carrying a creative vision that has not been diluted. Though you may not care for the direction of this over-the-top debut. And that’s fine; attachment towards and enjoyment of videogames should never be dissuaded by diverse opinions. Researching it alone has been akin to digging out pieces of information on cinema sewer when amateur websites began reporting on the horror genre. There’s little information and some archived footage from 2012’s beta release. A rare feeling in this PR release saturated market.
Initially it can be easy to dismiss buckets of gore and low production values. However, there’s a niche audience that finds a timeless raw energy and truth in the more manic and less restricted style of low budget creation. Searching for gems among the manure, if you will. Often disregarded in their time – Lucio Fulci and H.P. Lovecraft both suffered from this – they later found a cult following which they never saw come to fruition. Videogames haven’t had this era yet.
FMV of real actors for the characters have carried with them an array of technical issues and complications. It’s never been an easy process for design. History has shown this and in many examples from the ’90s, an era of inspiration for the blueprint here, the narrative themes were also coated in their own fair share of gore to cover imperfections. Phantasmagoria and Harvester being examples of this. But Death Cargo is targeting a different genre rather than point and click – early ’90s arcade fighting games.
Whether Necrostorm succeeds in delivering a deep let alone entertaining fighting system is secondary to what’s important here: that it exists. Like the cinema that has inspired its creation, this looks to be chock full of unhealthy elements; greasy to touch, unappealing to clean eyes and yet coming with a want to consume it regardless. If it manages to balance that style with ’90s fighting mechanics this could be a trashy treat, an ode to the bygone era of video nasties and early Midway combat. With no previous design history it could go either way.