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The Showdown Effect review

When the title screen introduces The Showdown Effect as ‘An Arrowhead game with references’, they’re not kidding. Like its studio stablemate Magicka, it’s packed with affectionate send-ups of pop culture tropes and personalities, focusing this time on the cheesy action movies of the ’80s and ’90s with only occasional forays into internet memes and bad CSI:NY dialogue. Appropriately, it’s a mix of shooter, 2D fighter and um, platformer (remember that film where Sylvester Stallone did all those walljumps?). It provides support for up to eight-player brawls between an ensemble cast of Hollywood archetype heroes and thinly-veiled actor pastiches. It’s not uncommon to see a good cop on his last day before retirement going katana-to-katana with Liam Neeson, for example. For a gimmick, it’s executed with enough conviction to become genuinely entertaining – at least before the constant barrage of barely-applicable one-liners starts to wear thin.

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The Showdown Effect preview

In the Cambrian explosion of the Quake and Half-Life mod scene, many great game genres were born, survived and thrived - Team Fortress, Counter Strike, Day of Defeat. One of the few that failed to generate offspring, without quite dying, was Action: Quake II, a rapid, silly, pulp movie of a game, with ludicrous moves and all the tricks of a Hong Kong action movie. The Showdown Effect is a crossbreed between Action: Half Life and Shadow Complex. Up to eight players enter a 2D side-scrolling action area, and battle it out. Their weapons are the standard tropes of 1980s action movies - uzis, Mac-10s, berettas, M16s, rocket launchers and their quips. (The team do plan to introduce stranger weapons, like laser guns and guided rockets later).

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Watch 30 minutes of The Showdown Effect livestream footage

Well, you don't have to watch all 30 minutes (well, 28:12) of '80s-action-movie-inspired sidescrolling, but do check it out (at least stick around for the light on-camera bickering about a flag which may or may not be a feature). It's nice to see Paradox and Arrowhead showing off this much alpha gameplay and taking questions from the community rather than being tight-lipped, as is the old norm. For more, read up on The Showdown Effect in our recent preview.

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Paradox Interactive announce The Showdown Effect, Dungeonland and RED Frontier at GDC

Magicka devs Paradox Interactive have just announced three new games. The Showdown Effect, Dungonland and RED Frontier are all on show at GDC. Paradox say "Action-packed and loaded with adventure, all three of these games will fulfill a unique need in gamers’ lives, whether it is their thirst for blood, fame and glory for their teams, or helpful theme-park-survival skills." We'll have our impressions of all three games online soon. Until then, feast your eyes upon the trailers within.

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The Showdown Effect character trailer introduces a cast of action flick clichés

The Showdown Effect, the upcoming run-and-gun side-scroller from Magicka creators Arrowhead, isn't just about ludicrously exaggerated shooting sprees. It's also about ludicrously exaggerated shooting sprees punctuated by the best sort of cheesy action-movie one-liners this side of a Schwarzenegger quip.

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The Showdown Effect gets two free characters and maps, plus "terrifying hats"

The Showdown Effect is currently 50% off on Steam, and in a startling coincidence (well, probably not) the explosive sidescrolling action game has just been updated with a bunch of new, mostly free stuff. The two additional stages comprise the Tagliatelle Western-themed South Eastwood and Fort Fiesta, while the new characters are...considerably less Wild Westy. Thelma Vayne is a British superspy, while Dr. Johnny Bionic is, you guessed it, a werewolf cyborg. There's also the matter of some "terrifying hats", but I'm too afraid to check if they live up to their reputation. Stick around for the DLC trailer.

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The Showdown Effect launches beta sign-up page and trailer, takes aim for March launch

Arrowhead - the guys responsible for the barmy Magicka - are now taking sign-ups for the beta of their upcoming The Showdown Effect, a sort of 2D side-scrolling Action: Half Life. The game features up to eight players battling it out with weapons ripped from the hands of cheesy 80s action heroes. In that spirit, they've released a trailer that crams in as many clichéd one-liners as a Google for "stupid things said in bad movies" can find.

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Paradox Con round-up: CK2's Pagan DLC, Showdown Effect beta and... Brian Blessed?

Paradox's CEO, Fredrik Wester, has just finished delivering the opening press conference of the Paradox Convention 2013. Announcements included new expansions, a new game, and something involving the thunderous thespian Brian Blessed. Read on for a complete run down of the convention's revelations.

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Ride To Hell: Retribution trailer wheelies in for violence and cliches

I think this trailer for Deep Silver's Ride To Hell: Retribution may rival The Showdown Effect for number of eye-roll inducing cliches packed into one short teaser. But where that was playing on the cartoony action of 80s blockbusters, this is an entirely more gritty affair with a (heavily Tarantino inspired) grindhouse feel. It's an odd one. Last seen back in 2008, Ride To Hell appeared to be an open world game about biker gangs - a sort of Sons of Anarchy: The Game. Now its resurfaced five years later as a B-movie brawler.

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Crusader Kings 2, War of the Roses and other Paradox games star in the Humble Weekly Sale

And so it was that August 30th, 2013 did come to be known as the Day of The Deals. Internet denizens bravely descended on their stores, dodging pay-what-you-want here, and 75% off there. Could any make it through this budgetary gauntlet with their wallets unharmed? That, dear reader, is for you to find out... Look, basically what I'm saying is there are a lot of cheap games today. The first of which is a staggeringly good Humble Weekly Sale featuring entrées from the Paradox plate.

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The best PC games of 2013

2012 bobs away on the rushing river of history, washing into the past a dozen Dunwall guard bark memes, at least one controversially-terminated space saga and a worryingly-exhilarating excess of animal slaughter. But what’s that on the horizon, surging through the frothy wake of the year just gone? It’s - surprise! - 2013. The next 12 pages detail nearly every reason to be excited about the 365 days to come, and the armada of delights they bring. There are more combat bows than you can shake a punctured elk at, an unholy host of horrors, genre-smashing interstellar epics, multiplayer mega-franchises, petrolhead-pleasers, reinvigorated point-and-clickers, Kickstarter darlings, Greenlight outliers and many, many more. Click on to discover why 2013 may just be the most exciting year for gamers yet.

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