[[quoteright:200:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mhazard2.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:200:[[RetroactiveLegacy Matt Hazard's 1983 debut.]]]]
->"It's '''Hazard Time!'''"

The year is 1983, and the world is first introduced to Matt Hazard, eight-bit video game hero with more firepower than pixels, through debut title ''The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land'', published by then-fledgling company Marathon Software. In the following years, Matt starred in dozens of games; some were immensely popular (such as western ''A Fistful of Hazard'', 3D shooter ''Matt Hazard 3D'', and 1995 spy shooter ''You Only Live 1,317 Times''), while taking the series in new directions (such as the ill-conceived [[GoKartingWithBowser kart racer]] ''Haz-Matt Karts'' and the non-violent water gun game ''Soak'Em'') was... bad, causing people to stop buying the games and hence putting Hazard out of a job.

However, the new CEO of Marathon (now called Marathon Megasoft), Wallace "Wally" Wellesley wants to bring Matt Hazard back, and he's set to star in their first Next-Gen title. The only catch is that they intend to kill him off at the end of Level 1 to introduce a new hero.

Matt... is not too happy when he learns that.

''Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard'' is a 2009 cover-based third-person shooter with more GenreSavvy MediumAwareness and [[NoFourthWall Fourth Wall breaking]] than you can shake a sprite at. In further {{defictionalization}}, it's been followed in 2010 by ''Matt Hazard: Blood Bath & Beyond'', an homage to ''{{Contra}}''.
----
!!This game contains examples of:
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Enemies are sometimes immune to some attacks and incredibly vulnerable to others simply because that's how their games worked.
* AnAdventurerIsYou: Bill the Wizard is a high-level mage from a North American RPG...who is unfortunately mostly powerless outside his own game.
** Well, at the time his staff was stolen, but he regains it the end of the level. Shortly before going home. He fried a group of enemies before leaving, though.
* AffectionateParody: Well, duh.
* AbandonedWarehouse: Well, not so much abandoned, but there's even a level whose subtitle is "Another Warehouse". Well, it ''is'' the [[spoiler:warehouse where all the props used in the games are stored that gets ransacked by the AI to prepare for the final level]].
* TheAhnold: Sting Sniperscope.
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent: Matt was [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid supposed to be killed off at the end of level one in a "surprise plot twist", and replaced by Sting Sniperscope]]. He had none of that.
** Every time the bad guys hack the game, you could be going through a dance club house [[spoiler:owned by one of Matt's friends]] and suddenly the screen warping and audio to signify that the game is being hacked and you're fighting an entirely different set of enemies. Complete with that type of enemy having their own music, which sounds strange when you're in a mansion when you suddenly hear Western music.
* AnimatedActors: Matt has a contract in-perpetuity with the game company, so the only way for Wally to be rid of him is to kill him off in the plot of a game.
* BadAssBoast: Matt gets several through the course of the game.
--> '''Matt Hazard''': ''(After defeating the final boss)'' I'm about to get the "Beat Snot Out of Wellesley With My Bare Hands" trophy[=/=]achievement.\\
''The trophy[=/=]achievement unlocked sound pings upon Matt finishing the ass kicking.''
* BondGirl: Kitty Abundanza. Her name even means "a lot of... cats", like a certain other famous Bond girl.
* BondOneLiner: Both the standard and the PostModern "Insert clever death-related line here."
* BoringButPractical: The Hazard Pistol is your most basic weapon. That said, the enormous ammo count & plentiful chances at refills means that you can level armies with this thing (especially if you're good at headshots).
* BloodlessCarnage: The bad guys and Matt all give up little bits of code when shot.
** Well, it's from Matt's perspective where, while humans see blood coming out, the game shows what that blood really is in the game world.
* BuffySpeak: "I am like your worst nightmare, except in the daytime and you're not asleep."
* CaptainErsatz: Matt is basically one for VideoGame/DukeNukem.
* CatchPhrase: "It's Hazard Time!" QA thinks it's pretty lame.
** It was more of a reference to ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters''[='=] "Time to split!" from Future Perfect. That and his powerups having their own catch phrases like "HAZARD SHIELD" and "MAXIMUM HAZARD".
* ColorCodedCharacters: One of the clues Matt [[LampshadeHanging points out]] towards deducing which QA is the real one.
** You can tell the skill level of the [[spoiler:Marathon Megasoft employee "player characters"]] in the final level by their color.
*** [[spoiler: Their role in the company too. Blue for all the people that didn't have a direct role in the production of the game like Marketing and Sales, Yellow for the Artists, Red for the Programmers and Pink for the Testers.]]
* CombatCommentator: Matt comments on his current health, switching weapons, and even that you just earned an achievement.
---> '''Matt''': ''(after unpausing the game) That's'' '''quite''' ''an achievement.''
** "Don't hit me. Don't hit me!" can be heard while doing the cover switch feature sometimes during a gunfight.
* CosmeticAward: The game viciously parodies the 360 Achievement system by giving you access to three achievements before you even encounter an enemy (10G for starting a game, 5G for pausing the game, and a whopping ''60G'' for watching the credits from the title screen). Each achievement also comes with [[MediumAwareness pithy]] [[LampshadeHanging commentary]] from Matt Hazard.
** The game doesn't have a interrogation minigame, but they put the achievement for it before said minigame was never implemented. Guess what you get after beating one level.
** Same thing happens for the "multiplayer" achievement.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Wellesley is the CEO of the company and wants revenge because he always sucked at the Matt Hazard games.
* CrateExpectations: A wide variety, as cover items are often hacked in with their villains. Everything from futuristic rounded metal crates, to Russian military crates, to a western outhouse. You even visit a warehouse which turns out to be where they ''make'' the crates.
* CreditsGag: [[spoiler:At the end of the penultimate level, which is the "final" level of the new game, QA says "There's one thing I would like you to do for me... roll the end credits!" Cue laughter, freeze frame, credits... which are then halted by Wellesley who then sucks you into a game representation of the Marathon-Megasoft offices]].
** Not to mention [[spoiler:said credits being obvious fake ones on top of that. NeilPatrickHarris' character is credited to "[[DoogieHowserMD Doogie]]", and a chunk of the staff listing is simply "Code Monkeys"... followed by a listing of [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys real monkeys]]]].
* [[spoiler: CrossPlayer: QA]]
* DirtyCommunists: General Neutronov.
* {{Defictionalization}}: ''Blood Bath & Beyond''.
* DualWielding: You can get two six-shooters from cowboys and twin sub-machine guns from several enemies later.
* EasterEgg: Relatively easy to locate, but in the mission where Matt must protect a Wizard, one company logo reads "[[MemeticMutation Failboat:]] Shipping and Storage".
* EnemyChatter: Three types. You'll sometimes get enemies trying to taunt you. Sometimes, they'll give each other directions (such as providing suppression fire or flanking). And if you sneak up on a new area without making yourself obvious, some enemies will discuss other things (like how one hired gun [[InsistentTerminology does not want to be called a mercenary]], and another mook is hoping to become a [[ASpaceMarineIsYou space marine]] one day).
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: Subverted. [[spoiler:Matt and QA only thought it was the last level. Matt leaves the game and has one last level against Megasoft to deal with]].
* EvilTwin: An evil red version of QA appears early on. When confronted by both the real and the evil version, Matt quickly tells that the red one is evil since she's done nothing but lead him into ambushes and [[TheVamp come onto him]], which the real QA would never do.
** Which is still not quite GenreSavvy, since the average player will have figured that out in less than a second [[ColorCodedCharacters just from the color]].
* {{Fembot}}: Dexter has an army of Fembots. Some are based on Kitty Abundanza, some have the likeness of the female lead from the western game, and two seem to be based on [[PerfectDark Joanna Dark]] and [[Franchise/TombRaider Lara Croft]].
* GenreSavvy: ''Eat Lead'' is supposedly only the latest in a long series of games, and Matt knows the score by now.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: You don't actually see them, but there is an organization called "SVGA" that seems to act as a police force. A character is arrested by them at the end.
* GrandfatherParadox: In a weird way, because actual TimeTravel isn't used. The plot of ''Blood Bath & Beyond'' involves General Nutronov breaking into the archive computer and kidnapping Matt's 8-bit self in order to kill him and therefore preventing the current Matt Hazard from ever existing. The 8-bit Matt is technically from the present, but is still Matt's past self. Confused yet?
* HeyItsThatVoice: Matt Hazard is [[Series/ArrestedDevelopment GOB]].
** At least, in ''Eat Lead''. ''Blood, Bath & Beyond'' lampshades the loss of the "big-name voice actors" when Matt realizes they're talking in text boxes and his voice actor is just a [[TheOtherDarrin soundalike]].
* HollywoodHealing: If Matt goes long enough without being hit, he's back to full health. He obviously learns to love cover.
* HollywoodNerd: [[spoiler: QA]]. The developers said this was entirely intentional.
* HyperspaceArsenal: Both averted and justified. You can only hold two guns, but when you switch the gun explicitly de-rezzes with the other one forming in Matt's hand.
* HowDoIShotWeb: [[spoiler:In the last level, because of the constant failure of the AI, Wellesly sics ''the entire company'' on you, having them load up game avatars which have the same abilities you do (such as regenerating health and ability to switch weapons). Some of them are gamers, but a lot of them shout things like "Which button is it to do the cover thing!?"]]
* IAmNotShazam:[[invoked]] Parodied. According to the official backstory, the character of Matt Hazard first appeared in ''The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land'' (pictured at the top) and later the character's official name became "Matt Hazard".
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: "Wussy", "Damn This Is Hard", and "Fuck That Shit" in ''Blood Bath and Beyond''.
* IndecisiveParody: While it remains a parody throughout, in the later stages the game can't seem to decide if it's a parody of VideoGames or a parody of generic action movies. ...Can't it be both?
* InkSuitActor: Wallace is basically Neal Patrick Harris with a [[GoodHairEvilHair goatee]].
* InterfaceScrew: At one point you're forced to do the same segment of a boss fight twice in a row, because the bad guys temporarily hack your checkpoint system.
* JiveTurkey: Sunny Tang, the first boss of Eat Lead is one of these, which is lampshaded by Matt. He encompasses about every other blaxploitation stereotype as well.
* LampshadeHanging: In abundance.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: Plenty. Also overlaps with CaptainErsatz.
* MediumAwareness: He complains about long-winded text, complicated mission objectives, being unable to jump, tutorials, and text boxes with ellipses. But he does like the cover-to-cover system.
* MotiveRant: When asked why he can't just archive Matt, Wally screams it's because he could beat every game as a kid except the Matt Hazard games.
* NeilPatrickHarris: He plays Wallace Wellsley, against Will Arnett as Matt Hazard
* NerfArm: The water guns from ''Soak 'Em''. Subverted, in that they're the only weapons that can take out enemies from ''Soak 'Em'' in one headshot. Also, they're [[ShoutOut surprisingly effective]] [[ZombiesAteMyNeighbors against zombies]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: After the credits for ''Blood, Bath & Beyond'', [[spoiler:Matt stands at the moon mounted laser and remarks "Well, it's not like we're going to get to make a sequel..." and proceeds to ''fire the laser at the Earth, thus destroying the Marathon Megasoft archives and fulfilling [[BigBad Neutronov]]'s objective anyway'']].
* NintendoHard: ''Blood Bath and Beyond'' is a homage to ''Contra'' and ''MetalSlug''.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading: The game has two separate loading screens before getting to the ''title screen''. At some points the game exclaims that if the loading is so long the level must be good.
** Plus, ''Franchise/MassEffect'' 's eloadvators are parodied. At one point you're stuck waiting for an elevator to reach it's destination... If you fiddle with the controls during this time Matt tells you off by saying "If your time was so valuable, you wouldn't be playing a '''game'''."
* LoadingScreen: The "additional information" type is parodied. Although they occasionally give actual gameplay advice, most of the time they include lines like "If you are having trouble interrogating enemies, it's because there's no interrogation feature." and "Tip: A small amount of money given, usually in response to high quality service."
* OldShame: Matt's ill-advised water-gun and kart racing games.
* OneHitKill: Matt's melee attacks can kill certain baddies in one shot, and send them flying through the air.
* OneHitpointWonder: Fuck That Shit difficulty in ''Blood Bath and Beyond'' turns Matt into one.
* PaintingTheMedium: So very much. The stereotypical RPG prettyboy boss speaks in ''text boxes'' and is turn based, and the player can [[spoiler:disrupt his Cure animation by ''shooting the health out of the air'']].
* ParodyNames / CaptainErsatz / BlandNameProduct: [[{{Halo}} "Master Chef" from "Crown of Light"]], [[Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice "You Only Live 1317 Times"]], [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros "Captain Carpenter"]], [[Franchise/FinalFantasy "Penultimate Illusion"]], [[GearsOfWar "Maul of Mourning"]], [[VideoGame/SOCOMUSNavySeals "Soak'em"]], [[VideoGame/GodOfWar "Conflict of the Deities"]]...
* PowerUp: '''"MAXIMUM HAZARD!"'''
* PunnyName: "Altos Tratus" sounds like a type of [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII cloud]]. And "Altostratus" ''is'' a type of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altostratus_cloud cloud]]. And "Alto" is a good approximation of the range of a castrati. ...So they're implying that "[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Altos Stratus]]" is a castrati?
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: [[spoiler:Time to get the "Beat The Snot Out Of Wellesley" Achievement!]]
* PressXToNotDie: Some boss fights are presented as Quick Time Events, including one in the first level that [[CurbStompBattle ends]] after ''one'' button, and another is simply ''repeatedly bashing [[spoiler:Dexter]]'s head into the side of a car''.
* RageAgainstTheAuthor: The entire plot is basically this, as well as Rage Against The Authored.
* RealMenWearPink: [[spoiler: As mentioned above, the game testers, the in-story elite mooks in the final stage, wear pink body armor on their avatars.]
* ReferenceOverdosed
* RetroactiveLegacy: An entire backstory of games that ''never actually existed''.
* RealityWarper: As the program into which QA and the villains are hacking is the ''game you're currently playing'', reality is warped quite often. At one point, sandbags and other military regalia are "hacked" into the middle of a casino as cover for a group of Russian soldiers; at another, an entire room is replaced with the main street out of a western.
* SelfDeprecation: In ''Blood Bath and Beyond'', Matt complains that he doesn't have a voice anymore, QA explains it's because the last game didn't sell very well. There's also a joke about said game being "now available in bargain bins everywhere!"
* ShoutOut: The name of the GovernmentAgencyOfFiction, SVGA, stands for "Super Video Graphics Array" (a common graphics technology of the late 1980s and early 1990s). The downloadable side-scrolling sequel has extended (most of level) homages to [[spoiler:''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', ''MirrorsEdge'', ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'', ''Franchise/{{BioShock}}'', and ''SuperMarioBros'']].
* ASpaceMarineIsYou: Several of his enemies are Space Marines. Matt Hazard himself is a pastiche of the character type, right down to being bald.
* StandardFPSGuns: Played with; you encounter the usual [=SMGs=] and assault rifles, and Matt's signature weapon is his highly marketable "Hazard Pistol". You also get plasma weapons and, oh yes, water guns. Each enemy group carries different StandardFPSGuns, so you're forced to keep switching guns; as if you find yourself surrounded by Cowboys they aren't going to drop AK-47 ammo.
* SnipingMission: There's a level where you have to protect a de-powered CRPG hero, using the front half of arcade sniper game cabinets.
* SpotTheImposter: as mentioned above in EvilTwin, subverted immediately: The evil QA tries to trick Matt in a standard "I'm the real one!" situation, but Matt ''already guessed'' she was an impostor anyway.
* TakeThat: Anyone familiar with ''VideoGame/DukeNukem'' and his development history (particularly its [[VideoGame/DukeNukemForever then-recent issues]]) will find the backstory extremely familiar.
** When Matt finds an advertisement for "Duke Winter", done in the style of the cover art of ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'' and saying "Coming soonish". QA even gets a dig in when Matt asks about said ad.
** The JRPG boss battle, which mocks every JRPG cliche possible - androgyny, silence, question marks for names, turn-based attacks, and so on.
* TakeCover: Pretty standard cover mechanic, although it has a neat cover-to-cover mechanic which Matt explicitly comments on.
* TheStinger: The end credits for ''Eat Lead'' are followed by a short scene of [[spoiler:Wellesley reduced to working for his father, surrounded by advertising for the latest Matt Hazard game]]. ''Blood, Bath & Beyond'' has [[spoiler:Matt lamenting that they probably wouldn't get to make a sequel anyway, and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero proceeding to shoot the Earth with Neutronov's planet destroying laser]]]].
* ThoseWackyNazis: The Secret Soldiers of the Wafferthin, sprite-based enemies from an [[VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D old FPS]] who are immune to melee attacks (they didn't exist in 1993) and take cover by turning edge on and becoming a vertical line.
* TitleDrop: [[spoiler: Wally is shown holding an in-universe copy of Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard during TheStinger.]]
* {{Troperiffic}}: The game gleefully throws many different cliche enemy groups (cowboys, Russian terrorists, space marines...) and Matt Hazard himself, despite being a GenreSavvy [[MediumAwareness Medium Aware]] FourthWall breaking character, is still very much a "ShootEverythingThatMoves" hero, and takes personal pleasure in well-aimed headshots and big guns.
* VideogameObjectives: Parodied early on when Matt complains in response to a LongList of mission objectives, so QA changes it to "Kill everything that moves". Later mission objectives include "Follow Sting Sniperscope into the obvious trap" and "Hey, weren't you the star of the [[JakAndDaxter Matt and Dexter]] games? Your place sucks compared to this!"
* VoiceWithAnInternetConnection: QA, a PlayfulHacker who is trying to save Matt from certain plot twist doom.
----