Mother Russia Bleeds review – Double Russian

From the visceral minds of 'le Cartel Studio' comes the drug-addled alternate U.S.S.R. blood bath that is 'Mother Russia Bleeds'. Whilst a plot has been established and we all have fond memories of hashing out 'T.M.N.T.' and 'Streets of Rage', is Mother Russia Bleeds simply worth your time?

Well, yes and no. Mother Russia Bleeds is a homage to all the great side scrolling beat em ups of past generations (Especially the early ’90s), but with all the good point come the bad also. Yes, players will encounter larger than life bosses, various enemies and have a health/power mechanic that involves draining half used drugs from opponents which is great.

Here, I made it from firmenting Potatoes…

However, Mother Russia Bleeds doesn’t go out of its way to fix and genre-specific faults such as lining up perfectly with antagonists to land a punch. Nor does it attempt anything to improve the formula such as combos or skill trees. Perhaps its the general consensus of such a title that it doesn’t need these features, but Reggie disagrees.

With the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre having a repetitive nature, it would make sense to try and cure the itch here by including mechanics that have served titles well since the golden age of Arcade Cabinets. Mother Russia Bleeds plays its cards close to its chest in this regard, which is a disappointment but at the same time is exactly what the developers seemed to be aiming for.

16 Bits of Mutant Beating

A CRT effect is included as standard which is a pretty good way to get players nostalgia engines fired up. This also compliments the 16-Bit textures well and allows Mother Russia Bleeds some ’90s street (of Rage) credibility. Animations look smooth given the deliberate frame drop to again match its legacy idols which add to the presentational polish of Mother Russia Bleeds.

Sound effects are hard-hitting and quite brash which frames the games overall need for bloodsport nicely, although the OST for levels often suffers from what I like to call ‘Bit-Chip Note farting’. Imagine a constant Guitar solo, on repeat in Midi and you’re more or less there. The main issue with this is not having any form of gravitas for boss battles and sticky situations.


Presentation: 8
Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6

Overall Score: 7

Mother Russia Bleeds is more or less a carbon copy of most titles that have come and gone before it and plays it safe within its genre-specific guidelines. That being said, it’s still a good title and one that shouldn’t disappoint side scrolling beat em up enthusiasts.

It ticks all the boxes in this regard, however, it would have been nice to see a risk being taking here and there such as the comedic plot points and misadventure of ‘Shaq Fu’ or the MKII sprite / Metal offering of ‘Raging Justice’. For most, drugged up angry Russians should do just fine though.

Format: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PlayStation 4 and PC
Price: £13.49 (UK eShop)
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: le Cartel
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 15/11/18

Review Copy Provided by Publisher.


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