Chainsaws are exciting. Warriors are thrilling. And yet, somehow, Chainsaw Warrior is not quite the be-all-end-all of gaming experiences I hoped it would be. Even so, it's still more enjoyable than any other sci-fi horror Solitaire game on the market. In this PC port of a one-player card game from Games Workshops, you play as the eponymous CHAINSAW WARRIOR, a cybernetically-enhanced combat veteran called back in for one more job - to save New York from a teeming horde of extra-dimensional monstroids led by the entity known only as DARKNESS. After a bit of preliminary character creation (which you have almost no say in), you are sent out into the urban disaster zone to murder your way to the top, hopefully with enough equipment remaining that you can take down the big galoot at the end and save New York from devastation.
The game plays out simply, and although it's highly dependent on luck, there's enough strategy and decision making involved to keep it interesting. After character creation, you head out into the city and are given one hour (120 turns) to plow through the two decks of encounter cards. Although there are some helpful encounters out there (empty rooms, ammo dumps, or short cuts if you're really lucky), most encounters are monsters or traps. Each encounter is likely to injure, poison, irradiate, or simply delay you, any of which will eventually kill you, so it's in your best interests to rush through encounters as quickly as you can. Actually clearing out both decks is next to impossible, but fortunately you (probably) won't have to. The final boss, DARKNESS, is shuffled randomly into the second deck, so you might only need to draw a single card from it to face him... or you might plow through all but one card and die, having performed a Herculean feat but still losing anyway.
Which brings me to the fact that this game is just absurdly unfair. No matter how skilled you are, six-sided dice are fickle things. One bad roll against a monster capable of killing you in a single hit will just end your game. The last boss can only be killed with two particular items, and they can be destroyed or run out of ammo along the way. An early encounter with a monster that reduces your stats permanently can hamstring an otherwise promising hero. Heck, just rolling awful stats in the very beginning, or getting lousy randomly selected equipment, can ruin your chances of victory before you even set foot into the battlefield. It's all aggravating, and the character generation process is drawn out more than it needs to be, and there's no quick reset option, and aaaaugh i hate you i hate you i hate chainsaw warrior diiiiiiie.
...But honestly, winning isn't everything. There's something satisfying about the unpredictable generosity of dice rolls, very much along the lines of rolling a nat 20 and wresting victory from the jaws of defeat. As you play, you learn what threats you'll encounter, how the various items can compensate for your lousy stat rolls, and when it's justifiable to pull out your big guns and waste your precious, precious ammo. And on top of all that, the art style and general aesthetics are just the right kind of schlock 80's cyberpunk crap I adore, mixing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoonery with the occasional spot of authentically disturbing monster design... Just try to ignore the painfully bad voice-acting in the opening cut scene. I'm not about to call this a good game exactly, but it's certainly fun for a while, and the price tag is very easy on the wallet.