The Expendabros

The concept of Broforce as a game is very similar to that of the movie series, The Expendables. Where The Expendables takes a plethora of 80s action movie actors and places them into a single movie filled to the brim with action, explosions, and fan service galore, Broforce does pretty much the same thing but in video game format, so it’s easy to see why the creators of Broforce and the team behind the Expendables series came together to create The Expendabros. The Expendabros is a free standalone spinoff of the main Broforce game that serves as a promotional vehicle for both the third Expendables movie and for the independently-developed Broforce video game on PC. As such, if you want to give the title a spin, all you have to do is boot up your Steam client and download the game. It will be available until December of this year, after which time the game’s features will be implemented into the main Broforce game.

In any case, maybe the enticing free pricetag isn’t enough for you. Maybe you’ve never heard of Broforce, and you’d care for a primer on what the game is like. Or, perhaps you’re just on lunch on our site checking out all the neat articles and can’t download the game yet. If that’s so, read on, consummate reader.

The Expendabros plays much like a spinoff of Contra, Metal Slug, and other old-school run and guns. You start off as Trent Broser, equipped with two rapid-fire pistols. In addition to that, you have a melee button which launches knife attacks, and also doubles as a context-sensitive interact button in some rare cases. To top your arsenal off, there’s also a special attack button that expends charges each time you use it. The charges can be replenished, either through picking up an ammo box or by respawning after an untimely demise. Each character has their own special attack, but in Trent Broser’s case he tosses three grenades out. Simple, but extremely effective. You do get more characters as you blast your way through the various levels, all with various bro-related puns in their name. There’s Bro Caesar, based off of Samuel L Jackson’s character in the movie, who wields a giant minigun and has a particularly devastating special attack where he leaps in the air and slams the gun down for a huge shockwave. There’s also Toll Broad, a dragonfire shotgun-wielder that sets mooks ablaze not only with that fearsome weapon but incendiary grenades. That’s just for starters, mind you, there are at least six more characters each with their own gimmicks and special weaponry.

The first two stages take place in a jungle, although that quickly passes. The Expendabros shows off new forest and industrial tilesets that will eventually make their way into the main game. A new cutscene system is also shown off, with small cuts in the first two stages showing the main antagonist running off as you pursue him, and eventually run into a trap. It’s unlikely you will defeat this trap at this stage of the game; in fact I am uncertain if the game even allows you to beat it, but a more skilled player than I could do so, I’m sure. Your character will awake in prison, get taunted by the villain, and then you will be treated to a completely ludicrous mini-game where you tap a button to flex so hard you break your ropes and destroy the cage you’re in. It’s ridiculous, but completely welcome as it fits in perfectly with the over the top feel of both the game and the 80s movies it’s based on.

From then on, it’s into the forest and the sawmill. A new obstacle that’s introduced in this game is giant holy crap buzzsaws of death. They typically rotate in place to deadly effect, with anything that touches the deadly blades instantly turned into a gooey mess. However, with a well-aimed shot, the saws will fall off the walls and bounce around, destroying all in their paths. This does include your character, of course, so be careful.

Death is quick and brutal in The Expendabros, if you couldn’t tell. Your character dies with only one shot, as do most of the thugs in your way. Only bosses and certain larger enemies can take more than one bullet. Did I mention you technically only get one life to get through a stage? Well, it’s true, to a point. Scattered throughout the levels are prisoners trapped in cages; if you rescue them you not only get an extra life, but you also switch playable characters to another random character. Some may not like that they can’t choose who they play as, but I believe this adds an interesting dynamic to each level. You may have to balance whether you want to keep playing as your favorite, or if you need another life for that boss later on. This also leads you to become well-acquainted with each character’s strengths and weaknesses, which you will definitely need as the game can be quite taxing.

If (When) you die, you can blame all the chaos on-screen for it. Environments are almost completely destructible, and there are explosive barrels, pipes, and such all throughout the level. Most enemies simply fire guns at you, but The Expendabros adds in new RPG mooks that resemble modern terrorist stereotypes and launch homing rockets in your direction. An errant explosion is enough to kill off your character, although they are typically immune to their own weapon’s blasts. There are also gatling-gun wielding man mountains, as well as trucks, giant mechs, and gun batteries to deal with. For the most part you are alone in this, but you can occasionally pass by villagers who will fight for you at the press of a button. Don’t rely on them, however, as they are prone to walking through minefields and barreling through enemy gunfire, just like real life villagers. A.I. truly is uncanny. You can also take up to three local bros with you into the fight, although I believe the online play has been cut out of the game (I could be wrong, but I didn’t see an option on the menu for online like in Broforce).

There’s a lot I didn’t mention; in fact I still need to beat the game and thus haven’t seen the ending yet. There’s Dolph Lundgren’s new role as the in-game announcer, which is hilarious and should be heard by everyone. The Expendabros is really quite great, especially for a free game, though. The game does feel a bit bare, especially compared to the still in Early Access Broforce, but that is of course because it’s free. If I were you, I’d pick it up and give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose by trying it, and maybe you’ll go on to buy and enjoy Broforce as well. Until next time, hasta la vista, baby.