Santa + Guns = Edgy
By Nathan - December 18, 2003

For most people, the "Let's Up the Edgy-Factor" trend in videogames began with American McGee's Alice, a dark, disturbed - and not entirely bad, all things considered - third-person actioner set in the Alice In Wonderlandiverse. The emphasis in the hype for this game was on how distinctly 'edgy' and 'twisted' it was, but the developers probably didn't realize that they were jumping on the edgy bandwagon pretty late. About three years too late, to be exact.

The dark, disturbing product that beat them to the punch? None other than Digital Design's Santa Slayer.

The readme file included with the freeware demo of the game does not include any kind of backstory, and the publisher's website seems to have disavowed all knowledge of its existance, so that means I get to make it up. Apparently, you play as Santa, whose base of operations at the North Pole has been overrun by flying Mecha-Santas packing shotguns. On top of that, the normally sedate and pleasant elves that staffed your little industry of cheer have had their minds altered somehow, and now they pack both heat and a rather nasty case of the "I want to shoot Santa"-s.

But what events could have brought about this catastrophe? It seems to me that the only corporation powerful enough to fund and organize a direct assault against Santa HQ would of course have to be Kanzaki Heavy Industries. You may have known their name from when they invented Shin-Tostuu, the Talking Toaster - a household fixture across Japan.

"Ohayo! Nanashi no nihon no michi no kado ni imasu!!"*

It seems that in the late sixties, Kanzaki H.Ind. made an offer to purchase Santa's factory and modernize the operation substantially - but at the cost of many elf jobs. Santa refused, and even went so far as to insult the President of Kanzaki. How, exactly, is not certain, but it was a move that was not forgotten. In light of that information, then, it seems only natural to come to the conclusion that they are directing a full-scale assault some thirty years later as a complicated form of revenge.

Thus it is up to Santa to defend his North Pole Action Base with Rotating Radar Dish (sold seperately) from the onslaught of both sinister robotic copies of himself, and his own elves gone mad. Santa is not unprepared, however, and is himself wielding dual-revolvers and piloting a state-of-the-art sleigh that is loaded to the gills with missiles of all flavors.

The game is similar in style to Descent, and also reminiscient of Duke Nukem 3D, largely because nearly all of the sound effects are stolen from the latter. With the exception of Elves' shrieks of pain, which seem to have been lifted from Earthworm Jim, if memory serves. The object is to fly around a smallish, rectangular piece of real estate while mercilessly blowing away the Mecha-Santas and Elves. When you have defeated them all, and hover over the now-empty landscape in triumph, it...stays that way. Nothing special whatsoever occurs and you are simply expected to restart the game if you want more excitement.

There is also a Multiplayer component to the game, apparently, but at press time this feature was untested. It is then recommended that this feature be employed only at the user's peril.

All in all this game is entertaining for about the time it takes you to hunt down everyone in the map. Once you've emptied the place out the first time, though, the excitement-factor is downgraded exponentially on each further re-attempt. Still, you can't beat the edginess of this game with a stick. Santa shooting the elves with revolvers? Come on.

To conclude, my gift to you - the unwholesomeness that is the Santa Slayer Freeware Demo, available for download right here. (1.19mb) Revel in the Edginess!


(FROM ABOVE) *I'm told this translates as "Good Morning! I am the corner of two nameless streets!" Just one of the many seemingly meaningless but unfathomably deep philosophical quotations that Shin-Tostuu will enlighten you with while you await your breakfast.

E-Mail/MSN: monster-0@alucentral.ca

Seven Days Remain until the Magic Story Time Christmas Spectacular...

Oh, there's Digital Dialect, the people responsible for that game. They actually did at least one good thing, which was the PC Port of Metal Gear Solid.

Also, Baby In Trunk - a hilarious website I found while researching American McGee.

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