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    REVIEW: Super Meat Boy

    Disclaimer: The following review may unintentionally contain excerpts which some readers may find inappropriate yet hilarious. Any use of the word "meat" in a giggle-inciting manner has not been done on purpose. That said, are you ready throw throw your Meat headfirst into a gauntlet of circular saws?! 

    Super Meat Boy puts you in control of Meat Boy, an uncooked lump of meat. Meat Boy's girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been kidnapped by the nefarious Doctor Fetus. As Meat Boy, it's up to you to run, jump, slide and die your way through more than 300 levels on over 8 worlds.

    Controlling Meat Boy is as simple as grab and play. Left and right to move, right trigger or X button to move faster, A to jump. If you've played pretty much any video game, getting Meat where you want him to go won't be a problem. Super Meat Boy requires great timing, reflexes, and stage memorization. Thankfully the controls are incredibly tight, so Meat Boy responds precisely to the twitch reactions it takes to successfully navigate 300+ stages of circular saws, lava, spikes, and other environmental dangers. While just about anyone can pick up and play, it takes skill to master the nuances of completing each stage as quickly as possible.

    The game's 8 worlds are divided into 20 levels, with each feeling more like a challenge room than an actual map. Your task is to safely get Meat to Bandage Girl, which you do at the completion of every level, however Doctor Fetus always manages to steal her away again in fitting old school fashion. You're timed, but you're free to take as long as you want playing with Meat, exploring the deathtraps of each area. If you want to make it challenging for yourself, keep your finger on Meat's sprint and try not to stop moving forward. It's the key to beating each level under the suggested times and gaining a respectable rank on the leaderboards. I wanted to finish each stage flawlessly and in the fastest time possible, and after doing so, I wanted to go back and get better times. If you're highly competitive and love a throwback challenge, you'll find hours of replay here.

    You will die. A lot. It's inevitable in the world of Super Meat Boy. One of the coolest features is the replay after completing every stage, which shows your successful run, while simultaneously showing each of your failed runs. Depending on how many times you died, your replay will feature hundreds of failed Meats splattering on the walls, as your one successful Meat gets his lady. Want a clean replay where you can clearly see yourself pulling off every jump and land? Don't die and you'll have a trophy replay ready to be saved. It's a shame there's no sharing replays over Xbox Live, though maybe that can be added later.

    After meeting certain conditions, you can unlock various indie game icons such as Tim from Braid, Captain Video from Bit.Trip Runner, Alien Hominid, Gish, and a Castle Crasher knight, to name a few. In all, there are 11 extra characters to unlock, each with their own special abilities, like rewinding time, clinging to walls, or floating. Different characters make different scenarios easier, and the other way around. Are you a bad enough dude to play 300+ levels with all 12 characters?

    Art Design
    As with the gameplay, the art design has a certain retro flavor to it, infused with the beauty and life that these Newgrounds console releases always seem to have. Team Meat has done a great job designing the main cast to be adorable, yet a bit on the repulsive side. The stages are well thought out, ranging from simple gimmes to incredibly complex suicide runs. Regardless of the difficulty, most all of the levels feature impeccable details and lively color. 

    In homage to the games of yesteryear, each world seems to take a cue from iconic games past. Street Fighter II, Mega Man, Castlevania, Super Mario Brothers, I could go on. Finding every nod to a gaming classic becomes an enjoyable mini-game in itself. Scattered throughout the worlds, you'll even find warp zones, that revert Meat to a true 8-bit, or sometimes less than that, experience.

    Sound Design
    In complete honesty, I was not expecting Super Meat Boy's soundtrack to be as good as it is. Each world's song keeps the intensity high as you skitter across environments, most certainly meeting your untimely demise plenty of times. When you find a warp zone and the graphics revert to Atari 5600 standards, so does the music, but even then it never loses it's groove. 

    The sound effects of Super Meat Boy are a great compliment; the repulsive squishing sound of Meat lubricating the floors with his trail of blood cracks me up when I'm not busy gagging at it. There's no voices to be heard, but none are needed as the enthralling gameplay and bumpin' sound keep you fully immersed at all times.

    Super Meat Boy, while a simple affair at face value, is as deep and complex as you let it be. Take your time and beat each stage in a minute and you still have six hours of play time. Push yourself, beat your high times, make flawless runs as fast as you can, play with every character and you'll be looking at probably way more than 15 hours. The flaws are minimal, but the fun is maxed out. Go, play with your Meat now!

    By the way, for a limited time, Super Meat Boy is on sale for 800 MS points, as opposed to the retail value of 1200 points. Get it cheap while you can!

    Buy it if: You're an old school gamer, you're competitive, you enjoy lightning fast platforming
    Don't buy it if: You have bad reaction times, you want a slow, relaxing experience
    The Score: 9 outta 10 blasters!

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