by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I had no idea what the original game Guns, Gore, and Cannoli was when I reviewed this game, though I did some research to keep up. It was a franchise that, up until this month, I had no idea existed. But when I learned that not only do you pick one of four characters that wield a variety of insane guns, but you also shoot Nazis and Nazi Zombies, I was immediately sold. Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 is a sequel to the game of the same name, and the main character, the anti-hero Vinnie Cannoli, has been captured by a rival family 16 years after the original story took place. Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up with online/local multiplayer where you pick one of four characters (though that’s only garnish; doesn’t rightly matter who you pick) and explore challenging, but lovingly crafted stages with puzzles, guns, and lots of violence. I did notice that no matter who you pick for the single-player story, you still only see Vinnie Cannoli in the cutscenes.
The flow of gameplay is pretty simple: You pick your character, enter the stage, and blast through incredible amounts of soldiers, zombies, Nazis, mafioso, and anything else that happens to get in your way. You have a melee attack that has unlimited uses (a baseball bat) and a gun. Your pistol also seems to have infinite ammo, but you can pick up a second to dual-wield (which will have a limited supply of ammo). Instead of ammo packs, you’ll pick up more guns, from the Contra-esque spread of the Shotgun, a Tommy gun, or even a flamethrower with a ridiculous amount of spread/coverage on the screen. There are stage hazards that are tied off that you can shoot with your guns to murder foes that are just out of reach, or to open up new places to explore. Several of these are required, but it is not always clear that you have a hazard to trigger. A prime example is stage 2, when you run into a dead-end and Mafioso are popping out of windows to shoot you. You have to stand near the wall of the building and kill them till a car is triggered and plows into the building, letting you through. Frustration would quickly pass, as I resumed my murder spree.
However, while these stages are mostly linear (with hazards requiring a little extra exploring), it does reward you with secrets and hidden weapons. I found one of my favorites early in the game, and while it had limited ammo, the destructive capacity was not to be trifled with: An RPG. Rocket Propelled Grenades to fire at whatever happens to be in front of me? Oh yes, that was a blast. I do wish there was more variety in your weapons though. They could have gone further than they did in the first game, and offered some really ridiculous stuff, but opted not to. That’s does lead me to the major drawback for fans of the first game: It’s really going to feel like more of the same because it is. The stage layouts, while gorgeous and clever, aren’t really that different from the first game, which is unfortunate. You have the same guns, the character you pick doesn’t really matter, and there are only one or two new enemies added to the game.
I tried both sets of controls (keyboard/mouse and controller) and for once, I preferred the keyboard and mouse. Aiming with the mouse and firing felt far better than the default controls for a PS4 controller. I tried several times but simply could not get the hang of it. It was easy to swap guns, and other than the tactical roll, everything else just felt right. There were some spots that I felt overwhelmed in and thought to myself that it might be easier to play this in a multiplayer setting, so my next goal was to find at least one online game. That’s where this all fell apart for me. I spent a week, logging in at different times, desperately searching for an online match, only to come up empty-handed. If there were more people playing, I would likely get more replay value out of this. It’s a bit on the short side, but the action and fun are definitely there.
Vinnie Cannoli 2: Electric Boogaloo: 4/5
Despite that it does seem to be a re-hash of the original game but zoomed out to offer a greater look at the stages, Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 is still a lot of fun. I had a blast figuring out where to go and what to do while obliterating everything with my guns. It has a lot of charm and the ability to play local and online co-op is a plus. Who doesn’t want to shoot Nazis anyway? Not anyone I know. I was just hoping for something more, but for the price tag, it seems about right. If you were a fan of the original, I can see you falling in love all over again with the sequel. The art-style is fantastic, but the music and the one-liners really start to get old after a while. I found myself turning down the volume, turning up some “Witchfinder General”, and massacring my foes with a hail of bullets and fire. That made it feel just fine. Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 does what it sets out to do quite well, and that’s to provide a fun side-scroller with guns, violence, and a multitude of things to aim that violence at. It reminded me of Metal Slug and Contra in all the best ways. I was hoping for more variety though. The stages are far better designed in this sequel though, offering far more than simply running to the right and shooting. If you’re looking to spend some time blowing stuff up, setting zombies on fire, and crack wise all the while, this is exactly what you need. Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 has the Sauce.