It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Max Payne, so it should come as no surprise that I’m intrigued by this new game from Strange Scaffold, the maker of oddities including An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, and Witch Strandings. It’s called El Paso, Elsewhere, and it’s a “third-person horror-shooter-slash-love-story” about a man with a gun, a taste for pills, and a talent for moving at very slow speeds, even when he’s diving through the air.
The surface-level Max Payne DNA is obvious, and not just in the gunplay: The noir narration doesn’t have the broken-down beat of James McCaffrey, but the style is definitely there. And like its inspiration, El Paso, Elsewhere is a tale of love, loss, and the ruin left in its wake. But instead of snow-bound New York City streets or the slums of Sao Paolo that Max stumbled around, this game takes place in a “growing extradimensional void beneath a motel in El Paso, Texas.”
“Watch as our hero, James Savage, confronts threats both past and present,” Strange Scaffold says. “Dealing death to classic monsters from folklore and fiction, players will visit otherworldly venues ranging from burning Victorian manors to claustrophobic meat lockers. Despite an injured body and a broken heart, Savage limps towards his ‘one-way trip,’ with breathless players in tow.”
And why is Jimmy going to all this trouble, you ask? Like all the bad things in his life, it started with the undeath of a woman. His ex, you see, is Draculae, Lord of the Vampires, and she’s conducting a ritual that will bring about the end of the world. Apparently she didn’t take the breakup too well either! Anyway, now she’s 50 floors underground, cooking up the apocalypse, and you have to blast your way through hordes of monsters and “exquisitely designed flashbacks and stylish monologues” to save humanity and figure out where your relationship went wrong.
Yeah, I’m interested. I came for the guns, as the saying goes, but I’m staying for the weird-ass breakup story. El Paso, Elsewhere is currently slated to come out in the fall, and is up for wishlisting on Steam. For now, you can get a taste of what it’s all about in the first-person prequel El Paso, Nightmare, a game about stepping out of your motel room to get a bucket of ice and being greeted by horrors beyond human comprehension.
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