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  • Writer's pictureJames Stephanie Sterling

Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer - It Slays (Review)

Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer

Released:  June 1st 2023 (PC, Xbox), May 14th, 2024

Developer: Big Z Studios Inc.

Publisher: No More Robots

Systems: PC, PS5, Switch (reviewed), Xbox X/S

Copy provided by publisher

Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer is one of the most pathetic and stupid games released in recent memory. That’s what makes it so damn good. 

How do you even do a sequel to Hypnospace Outlaw, one of the most uniquely interesting games ever made? Do you just do more of it, repeating the experience of moderating a fictional Internet for which Geocities is the pinnacle of website design? Should you instead pull off something completely unseen, another curiously inventive conceit?

Of course not! What you do is you make a first-person shooter full of poo jokes. 

In all seriousness, it actually makes complete sense. Turning Hypnospace Outlaw into one of the most derivative types of game around - the retro FPS - is sort of fantastic. It’s the last thing you’d see coming, and through that, the unoriginal nature of the game feels surprisingly refreshing.

Slayer X is the in-universe work of Zane, a character whose site is one of the many you moderate throughout the course of Hypnospace Outlaw. An edgy white boy whose vulgar humor is distinctly embedded in the late 90s, his videogame is as self-aggrandizing and cringey as his poorly drawn comics. It’s basically autofanfic, as Zane places himself in the role of the badass and charismatic protagonist.

Of course, his idea of “badass” and “cool” is telling people he slept with their mom while making endless references to “nards.” His idea of funny is fighting monsters made of human shit. His idea of clever is just saying “nards” again.

Slayers’ presentation is deliciously 90s. Just as Hypnospace nailed that aesthetic of the early Internet, so too does Slayer X nail the visual style, graphical quality, and unenthused voice acting of early PC games. Indeed, while the contemporary game market is full of retro shooters aiming for a nostalgic flavor, I can confidently say none of them taste as authentically as this one. 

A thoroughly puerile game in which you blast through hordes of “Psykos,” Slayer X could fit right in next to titles such as Blood and Duke Nukem 3D, all while stylistically ripping off movies like The Matrix with an obligatory lack of understanding of what makes such movies cool. Cue the shades and trench coats.

You can flip the bird with a dedicated button. The protagonist snickers the whole time, thrilled with how funny he’s being. I love it. 

The action is straightforward shooter stuff. Each level is packed with weird and silly enemies, and you’ll run around doing killing, collecting keys, and finding secret areas. Combat is solid enough, with guns that feel super punchy and Psykos that spray their blood everywhere with satisfying splats. 

While weapons are pretty standard for an average FPS, there are a few cute little twists. A shotgun equivalent fires a burst of broken glass, the ammo for which can be obtained by literally breaking the glass found in windows and other environmental objects. The minigun is fitted with a chainsaw that grinds while you fire, and the grenade launcher flings containers of sewage because this game loves the concept of feces. 

Really though, who doesn’t?

Revenge of the Slayer is rock solid shooting fun, elevated by the shamelessness of its vulgarity and effortless charm of the period parody. While it fundamentally does nothing we haven’t seen many times before, this is easily one of the best to do it, that little extra dash of authenticity making a huge difference.

Nonetheless, it suffers from the same problem many of these games do, in that its first half is wildly entertaining but the back end struggles to maintain itself. Once you get used to the humor and you’ve seen all the weapons, you’re left with a fairly straightforward and simple FPS for the rest of the experience. It’s still good, but it inevitably grows more rote. 

In a manner similar to Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun, it begins outstaying its welcome as it reaches the close, its novelty falling short of the longevity needed to sustain an entire campaign. 

This isn’t helped by some of the weak level design found towards the end. 

Horrible platforming sections and aggravating enemy placement feel like cheap attempts to increase the challenge. The arrival of green wolf monsters with rocket launchers signals the official decline - they’re absurd bullet sponges able to take half your health in one hit, and the game eventually starts relying on them in stupid numbers. 

The last few levels feature more and more unpleasant sections that simply aren’t enjoyable. It doesn’t take away from how amusing the rest of it is, but there are at least a few sections that simply don’t need to be there. 

Generic rock music continues the aesthetic sincerity of the production, with some welcome tunes from Hypnospace sneaking in. The visual design is great, every level full of funny messages and sight gags. I love the ridiculous Psykos, some of which are clear nods to other games, though I wish the roster had just a couple more enemy types. 

The only negative aspect of the audiovisual design is the fact Zane has to tell you his special Hackstaff weapon "has a Hackblood charge" every time he collects enough energy to use it... which is all the time.

Don't do that. A simple noise will suffice, not an increasingly irritating full sentence.

Despite the reduction of novelty as it progresses, Slayers X is nonetheless a fantastic idea executed very well. Retro indie shooters are a dime a dozen, but hardly any of them commit to the bit quite like this brilliantly stupid follow up to Hypnospace Outlaw.

It’s the kind of nonsense I’m just incredibly happy to see exist in the world, and the possibilities it offers for potential future games set in this universe has me on the hook.



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