I don’t know a lot about hip hop.  Most of my knowledge about it is based on what I listened to in the 80’s.  When Salt n’ Pepa were talking about having sex responsibly and LL Cool J was fulfilling his mama’s wishes to knock people out.

I am somewhat familiar with Fifty Cent.   I know that he wears a flak jacket a lot and that he’s been shot a bunch of times and lived.  And I know he likes to sing to someone named “Shorty” when it’s their birthday.  And I also know that he has had a video game made about him and his world-wind life as a rapper/gun-toting mercenary.

I decided that when I played this game that I would assume that this is a hard-hitting true story about this rapper’s life.  Here are some things that I learned about Fifty Cent during the cut scenes at the beginning of the game:

1:  Fifty Cent always walks around with guns and grenades strapped to him.  This is interesting to me.  I know life on the streets is very tough and one might need to pack some heat, but grenades?  That’s pretty crazy.

2:  Fifty Cent often plays concerts in dangerous places like Fallujah.  I know this because this seems to be where this game begins and takes place.  The game picks up on the last leg of Fifty’s tour where he and the rest of the members of G-Unit, who are also similarly strapped, are just finishing up a concert.

3:  Fifty Cent never gets paid up front to go put on a concert.  I thought this was very interesting.  Because one thing I’ve kinda assumed about rappers is that they do like money a lot.  Getting paid is very important.  Why would a guy put on a concert and wait to get paid at the very end?  Especially in a place like Fallujah?  Don’t get me wrong, I know this might sound naive or ignorant, but I’m only really going off of what the game is telling me.

4:  Diamond encrusted skulls are an acceptable form of payment for one’s rap services.

5:  Fifty Cent’s life must be very lonely.  The only people he seems to meet are people that are trying to kill him and that he has to then kill.  No one in the game that he meets turns out to be his friend.  That is sad.  From grizzled mercenaries to bad guys of indeterminate  Middle Eastern origin.  None of these people are out to do anything other than irreparable harm to our hero. His only friends, the other members of G-unit, do little more to help him in the game than to give him a boost up on ledges or help him to open the odd door here and there.  Oh, and also kill people alongside of him.  But they don’ t do that terribly well.

This gives the game a very, uh, bittersweet feeling as even though I do appear to be winning, I feel like I’m losing at the same time.   But enough about what I learned about Fifty Cent, the man.  Let’s talk about Fifty Cent, the game.  Everything about this game feels like something I’ve played in a game before.  Some of the combat and the partner action reminds me of a game like Army of 2, but no quite.  The other members of G-unit seem interchangeable with no real difference in who you choose.  They seem to fight along side of you, but don’t really seem to help you when you’re in danger.  There’s a slo-mo feature like in Max Payne, that allows you to fight off multiple enemies, but in the heat of battle it was difficult to use and I ended up abandoning it entirely with little affect on my ability to play the game.

Close quarters hand-to-hand combat was only accomplished through timed button presses which really slowed things down unnecessarily.  It took me longer to push the buttons to punch a guy, than it did to watch Fifty Cent punch a guy three times and stab him in the chest after I had successfully completed the button pressing.  The one saving grace was a series of timed challenges where you had to kill certain enemies within a time limit to earn ammo upgrades.  (Like exploding bullets and incendiary rounds.)  These were the only things that I actually found helped me in the game.  Plus, it was actually very challenging to try and accomplish within the time limit.

So the lackluster repetitive gameplay, an “is that really it” ending and a premise more improbable than the movie Cool as Ice, I give Fifty Cent: Blood on the Sand 3 out of 10 keggers.