In Wet, Rubi is just minding her own business as a sexy mercenary, an angry cuss wearing chest-tight leather with an itch to scratch. Then, this big mob guy tells her how much he likes her, and asks if can he hire her for a killing job.
Rubi shouldn't take him at his word, but she does. Next thing you know, she gets the old double-cross from this scum. So Rubi goes into revenge mode. She will shoot. She will swing a sword. Many people will lose their heads, arms and crotches.
That's the violent story behind Wet, one of the most creative games of the year, but also too short to be considered great.
You play as Rubi. She's a dirty looker with full lips, feathered hair, sharply raised eyebrows, black leather and gun holsters.
She moves with a signature style borrowed from others. She runs across walls supernaturally (like Prince of Persia); she climbs up walls and leaps from pole to pole as a gymnast would (like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider); and time goes into slow motion when she jumps or slides on her knees while firing a gun (like Max Payne).
Rubi uses these acrobatic moves so frequently to shoot and sword people to death, I think of Wet as Cirque du Slay.
Rubi has borrowed from the best. The female-killing flow at times resembles Kill Bill Vol. 1, with Rubi slicing bad guys two-by-two. And the stellar visuals - camera angles and set designs - are reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's grindhouse film projects.
Some reviewers will criticize Wet for not being wholly original, to say the least. But the developers have fully acknowledged their influences, and, more important, Wet works. There's a rage mode occasionally where everything on the screen turns either red or black, creating a striking silhouette style, and that mode alone is stunning.
Also, the killing mechanics (shooting, swording) are mostly smooth. And the place settings are varied, from an Asian town to a Matrix-like car-jumping routine, and beyond.
In the most arresting level, you fall from an airplane, then you shoot men who also fell out of the plane and are descending to their deaths as you are, then you dodge plane debris (tricky), then you look for a parachute amid the falling debris. This is fairly exhilarating.
All the action comes with constant music from bands playing punkbilly, punk-surf and other grindhouse-ready sounds.
The bummer: You can finish the game in 10 hours on its moderately challenging mode, if you're a regular gamer. And there's no multiplayer to keep you gaming. So replay value seems low.
The dialogue in between action is swift and comically brutal, like when you paralyze a bad guy who says he can't feel his legs, then he curses you. Rubi responds, "You should have stopped at 'I can't feel my legs,'" and proceeds to blow him up with fire and gas. See, I told you she's an angry cuss.