11th January 2010 - All American Hero, Ageing superstar, balding soldier; Do you remember Matt Hazard?* Matt Hazard was thrust, cursing and gyrating, onto the world in 1983 in “The Adventures of Matt Hazard in Hazard Land”. Not content with just one side scrolling shooter, he returned in 1987, with “A Fistful of Hazard”. 3 years later in all his 16 bit glory he would venture out in “Conflict of the Deities (featuring Matt Hazard)”. Not to be outdone by his own success he would finally be fully realised in 1992 simply as “Matt Hazard 3D”.
It would seem that the world loved his hard-ass, balls to the wall no-nonsense attitude. Else where, similar rip-offs in tight red tank tops could be heard yelling such forgettable lines like: “Hail to the King Baby” while telling Matt not to get his panties ‘all in a bunch’. Not interested in Nazi Gold the newly 3D Matt saw fit to visit Japan in 1993 “Goonzilla vs. Mega-Matt” was released.
As the 90s dragged on and manly men were replaced with better looking, better dressed versions of them, Matt was happy to keep churning them out in 1995 “Living only 1,317 times”. Even James Bond couldn’t claim that. By 1996 it was time for less of the solo act as Matt was paired in as a ‘buddy-cop’ with Dexter in 3 games that would see out the end of the 90’s: “Double Whammy- A Matt and Dexter Adventure”, “Matt Hazard in Gutpunch!” and “Matt and Dexter in MURDER FORCE!” This would essentially end what was a good run for the loud mouth, crude, objectifying Matt Hazard as the end of the decade saw a shift in video games and the market alike. Unlike Quake 3 Arena which failed in every respect, “Matt Hazard: Alien Assassination Arena” proved to usher in a new era of online multiplayer battles, hailing a new king but not for long… 2000 and 2002 were arguably the lowest points in Matts Career. “Haz-Matt Carts” and “Choking Hazard: Candy Gramm” failed to capitalize on an emerging younger and more casual market.
It would not be until almost another decade later that Matt Hazard would rise from obscurity and once more aim for the hearts and minds (and loins) of his adoring public. Like Matt though, most of them were middle aged, balding and still completely desperate for the nearest woman to look at them sideways. Matt was becoming a little cliché`.
“Eat Lead: The return of Matt Hazard” by developers Vicious cycle, released early last year 2009, was arguably, 10 years too late. Featuring all the subtlety of Duke Nukem and Serious Sam in Wolfenstein land, Matt Hazard broke into half completed video games, corrupting them all. If Space Ninja Cowboys in a Pirate Bay fighting hordes of aliens and zombies is your type of game, the Matt had you covered. But extra-lives and coin collecting were so last century.
As a new decade dawns “Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and beyond” graces our arcade consoles. Completely not copying the most recent and awesome side scroller Shadow Complex, it seems history is DOOMed to repeat itself. A fun diversion but a confusing sum of it’s whole parts, the mixed up video game land that Matt likes to call home is a little less realistic and whole lot more ‘crazy Japanese anime import’- proving that some things, do get old.
*You may not actually remember Matt Hazard, because as far as we can tell, until he returned to Eat Lead in 2009, he didn’t actually exist. We had the excellent opportunity to meet the development team in Melbourne in 2008, completely by chance, and they assured us Matt Hazard would be a fresh and innovative piss-take of previous hard-core characters. However the final game had more re-used parts than a Vin Diesel movie. Play it and see for yourself.
Article By Ian Crane