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Blue Estate (PC)

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Blue Estate: The Game was made by Hesaw in 2014. It was released for the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One and PC. It can be played with Mouse, controller, Kinect, Leap Motion or light guns. I am playing the PC version and use a light gun made by Arcade Guns.

The game is an adaptation of a comic series made by Viktor Kalvachev. The game's story is told from two perspectives: One is from Tony the son of a mafia boss, as he rescues a dancer who is held hostage by an Asian criminal organization called Sik Bros. gang. He sets up a severe antagonism in the process by killing one of the organization's two leaders. The Sik Bros. gang then steals the mafia boss's favorite racehorse called Blue Estate and tries to trade it in for Tony. After a fight at the handover Tony is exiled to Jamaica. The other part of the story is seen from the view of Clarence a former Navy Seal who works as a mercenary for the mafia boss. He is assigned to kill the remaining boss of the Sik Bros. gang and to find the horse. At some point the mafia boss thinks the horse is dead and sends out Clarence for a vengeance mission.

There is a total of seven levels: Levels one and two take place in a club of the Sik Bros. gang. Level three is located at a graveyard. Level four takes place in the sewers. The next level plays inside a slaughterhouse. The sixth level takes place at a golf course. Level seven plays in Jamaica.

It's always shown where the player is aiming at via an on screen reticle. The player uses one semi automatic weapon with infinite ammunition and may use various side weapons with a limited stock of ammunition. Ammunition can be replenished by picking up crates. A wide variety of weapons is used such as a shot gun, a revolver and machine guns. Throughout the game various actions are performed by doing so called gestures. Basically the player has to shift the reticle in a special manner on the screen to perform them. In some instances the player may take cover from enemy fire and projectiles. Similar to Virtual Cop enemies who are about to hit the player are indicated with a concentric arrangement of two circles. The inner circle expands until it touches the outer circle. When this happens the player gets hit. The gameplay is often interrupted by shooting gallery segments like “Whac-A-Mole” in which for example enemies appear from cover in a similar fashion as in the popular arcade game. Succeeding this segments will yield in bonus points.

Once beaten the levels can be selected freely. If the player runs out of health, continues can be used which let the player carry on where the main character died. When the player runs out of continues the game ends and more continues are unlocked. The number of continues maxes out to 9. Beating a level will show the final score and some statistics. In the options the difficulty of the game can be set. Two play modes are available: story and arcade. In arcade mode the same locations as in story mode are visited but the path through the level and the enemy patterns are new. In this mode there is no health bar but instead a time limit. Getting shot will subtract time from an alarm clock. The game is over if the time runs out. In arcade mode unlimited ammunition is available. Shooting a certain number of enemies without getting hit will cause a weapon change. Furthermore shooting enemies will fill up a slow motion icon, which can be triggered at any time once it is full.

Originally this game was a download only title. In various regions physical versions without digital rights management were released. The German company Purple Hills did the version I own. Besides this I am aware of French and Thai releases.

Personally I prefer when light gun games don't show a reticle. Furthermore the gestures did not always work well for me and I used the additional software joy2key to remap the weapon change button. Nevertheless I had great fun with this title and I really like it. I think the game doesn't feel like a Time Crisis or Virtua Cop clone, but like something unique. The humor is rather dark and the artwork is plain beautiful. The graphics are nice and the character animations are very fluent. The music is well made and fits the scenery perfectly.

I like the cover art which shows Tony's gold plated and engraved Desert Eagle.