Video Game: Ride to Hell: Retribution

The 1% ain't just for show.
"It's hard to think of even one thing Ride to Hell doesn't fuck up!"

Ride to Hell: Retribution is a Beat 'em Up / Third-Person Shooter released in June 2013.

After returning from his tour of duty in Vietnam, Jake Conway reunites with his uncle Mack and younger brother Mike. After the latter is murdered by members of the biker gang Devil's Hand, Jake vows revenge against them...

... but that's not what you're here for. No, this game's "success" rides on its reputation - with critic scores averaging below twenty and audience scores in the single-digits, Ride to Hell: Retribution is considered by many to be a strong contender for the title of "Worst Video Game Ever Made." The game has faced criticism for just about every aspect, from the bizarre, janky character movements; the random, pointless sex scenes; the glitchy, repetitive gameplay; and much, much more.

It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and its PC version was distributed through Steam. The Steam version quickly dropped the price to five dollars, before being pulled from the store outright in October of 2014.

This game features examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Prologue: Which takes the form of a playable montage. Throwing the player into a bunch of situations where they have to react without familiarizing themselves to the controls is a pretty nasty foreshadowing of the game to follow.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Devil's Hand is a textbook example of this. If they aren't trying to murder Jake or harassing other people, they are busy running the largest drug cartel in the region.
    • Seen in-game. A group of miners automatically assume Jake is Devil's Hand because he's a biker, and start a fistfight with him over the damage the Devil's Hand has done to their community. Jake proves his innocence by murdering them all.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Undeniable. Every single woman encountered in the game save *one* will immediately suggest sex after being rescued from sexual assault or after their husband has been beat up. This is while said baddies are still dying in the same room.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Try everywhere. The prologue sets the stage for it, with it randomly jumping from biking to turret sequence, to brawler sequence, to a cutscene of your guy on a motorbike jumping over a Blackhawk helicopter. The game takes this Up to Eleven, with random cutting out of the action to a cutscene or different style of play, or even a different area.
  • Anti-Hero: Jake, to Nominal Hero levels — he's out to get retribution on the gang that killed his brother, but isn't afraid of murdering completely unrelated civilians and police officers in order to execute needlessly elaborate plans: see Complexity Addiction below.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Unless you actually shoot them, civilians casually saunter around the area, oblivious to the mayhem going on around them.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Caesar is revealed to be Ellie's father.
  • Artificial Stupidity: As pointed out by Yahtzee, groups of mooks frequently form straight lines for Jake to cut down in orderly fashion and only have a rough understanding of the concept of cover. And that's assuming they're not struggling to go past open doors or running after the dynamite you throw.
  • Badass Biker: Attempted with its lead character, but not very successfully.
  • Bald of Evil: Anvil.
  • Big "NO!": Jake does one when his brother is killed before his very eyes.
    • And again when Mack is killed.
  • Boom, Headshot: The quickest way to take down enemies is to pop one between their eyes: it's also how Jake finishes off Colt.
  • Camera Screw
  • Combat Pragmatist: Like some other games, Ride to Hell switches from shooting to melee combat frequently. Unlike some other games, though, it doesn't do anything to make you do the same, so there's nothing stopping you from simply shooting enemies that try to engage you up close. Angry Joe noted that he quickly became an expert for headshots in this game, since it's the fastest way to cut down the repetitive combat.
    • In-universe, this is the "dirty fighting technique", an ability that lets you instantly defeat an enemy with something in the environment, usually by smashing their head into it.
  • Complexity Addiction: The "electric fence" scenario. Jake kills a bunch of truckers, steals their fuel truck, kills a bunch of cops trying to stop him, drives to a power plant, killing the workers and then blows up the truck to destroy the plant, so the fence has no juice and he can climb over it.
    • While that is the most prominent example (mainly because of how early it is), that's not the only one. One near the end of the game may just take the cake. To wit, Jake goes after Pretty Boy, The Dragon of the Devil's Hand, and knows where he stays. But rather than just go after him, he instead wins a couple of races for Brandy, goes to a mine and kills all of the workers there (to be fair, they shot at him first, but he is a biker, after all), goes to a miner's house to steal his bike, evades the police (killing many more of them), gets the bike fitted with C4, and gives it back to Brandy, who takes it to Pretty Boy's loft. And what happens next? Jake shoots the bike to blow it up (not detonating the explosives or anything, and no, the explosion is no different than the millions of explosions that came before it) in order to get Pretty Boy's attention. This leads to another fight with the Devil's Hand and yet another bike chase. Jake might as well have just shot an ordinary bike or car, since it seemed to serve the same purpose. At the very least, the electric fence part had a purpose, even if Jake mishandled it. Getting to Pretty Boy in such a complex way on the other hand, rather than just go straight to his loft and avoid everything else, served no purpose aside to pad the length of the game out.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mack
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Cook in the DLC is something of a traditional video game boss; he runs around while firing a machine gun, has a lot of health (he's got about two and a half times as much health as a Giant Mook), and is defeated simply by shooting him a lot.
  • Disk One Final Boss: Colt, albeit in an exceedingly odd way in that you can *finish him off before even doing the missions for the other members of the Starter Villain group from the start of the game.* The early scenes play him up as the clear man in charge and the only one of them who is Big Bad material. Only he's nowhere near the top of the Devil's Hand totem pole.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Start a gunfight in a Casino and the police dispatches a few dozen officers armed only with pistols and batons. Steal a bike and a attack helicopter tries to gun you down.
  • Double Standard: One of the women you can 'rescue" from a bunch of thugs rejects their advances by saying that she saves herself for her man. Once Jake beats up the thugs she suddenly decides that it's okay to have sex with him. Note that Jake asked for a beer as a reward.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Exaggerated and possibly justified example, with not only The Dragon dragging his feet, but the Dragon's Dragon and the Big Bad, since they don't even come into play for mot of the game. Almost to the point where the amount of buildup and exposure a Devil's Hand member receives is inversely proportional to their power and command. You know that guy with the Nazi hat who you see for all of a few seconds after you kill Anvil? Yeah, he's the Third in Command, and that is still a lot more buildup than the Big Bad gets. *Possibly* justified in that this is how major outlaw biker gangs tend to function, with the leadership being hidden away while low-rankers are the most visible and obviously involved, but stilll...
    • This can also happen with Cook, if you play the DLC after beating the game. If you do so, at this point you've already killed the rest of the Devils Hand lieutenant's, but Cook has his own agenda and carries on anyway.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Most of the regular civilians in this game. Timed missions where you have to get somewhere on your bike will normally have you finding your path blocked by spontaneous road accidents. Most of which explode.
  • Dull Surprise: Most of the characters talk in a dull monotone constantly. Jake in particular has no vocal or facial range beyond "bored".
  • Excuse Plot: The whole Roaring Rampage of Revenge is just an excuse for one Badass Biker to take on waves of a rival biker gang.
  • Fat Bastard: Some enemy types, such as the guy threatening a woman in the parking lot.
  • Fingore: King Dick chops the fingers off of those who disobey him.
    King Dick: And this little piggy made me roast beef. Shit gave me food poisoning!
  • Fisticuffs Boss: The boss fight against Triple 6 (who has a chainsaw) is the only time in the game where your firearms are disabled, forcing you to fight in melee.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Giant Mook/Elite Mooks: Enemies wearing hockey masks are immune to headshots and can take 6 to 7 times as much damage as the regular enemies. On the other hand, they walk slowly, don't use cover, and sometimes will wander off aimlessly while you shoot them in the back.
  • Helicopter Blender: If you don't get enough speed to clear the helicopter (as shown in the introduction), this happens.
  • Honorary Uncle: Implied with Oswald Markham, a.k.a. Mack. He's obviously not a Conway, and his matter-of-fact description of Jake's father betting his girlfriend, Jake's mother, in a race suggests he was a close friend of William, and not a maternal uncle.
  • Ironic Nickname: Considering that his left arm and half of his face is covered in burn scars, half of his jaw is made out of metal, and his solid-steel Eyepatch of Power, Pretty Boy is anything but pretty.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Jake's favorite way of getting information from Devil's Hand members.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: The blonde woman featured prominently on the loading screen doesn't seem to appear in the game at all. In fact, the only 2 female characters who play any real role in the main plot are Brandy (Pretty Boy's lieutenant) and Ellie (Mikey's girlfriend).
  • Large Ham: Although most of the characters give various degrees of Dull Surprise, Colt is definitely the most vocal of the Devil's Hand, Chewing the Scenery with his Deep South, Corrupt Hick accent.
  • Made of Explodium/Every Car Is a Pinto: Every time the player knocks an enemy off his bike, the bike will run straight into an obstacle and explode. Even if those obstacles are the very thin wooden fences on your right.
    • Jake occasionally switches his bike for a truck. If any vehicle touches the truck it instantly explodes.
    • Taken to hilarious extremes in one mission, where Jake lands on top of a police car with his motorcycle...and the car explodes instantly.
  • Meaningful Name: May not have been intentional, but this game sure is a ride to hell.
    • In the game's logo, there's actually a sign that says "1%". Although it's a reference to the statistic that 99% of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens, a lot of people like to joke that it refers to the games rating.
  • Molotov Truck: A full tanker truck exploding at a power plant.
  • Motive Rant: Caesar does this via a stadium loudspeaker before the last level.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: The presumably Southwestern setting somehow has a desert existing next to mountains and waterfalls.
  • Mouth Flaps: The game sort of tries to hide it, just barely matching the open-shut mouth movements to the characters talking.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: An incredibly bizarre in-game example. During the convoluted opening montage, Jake does a few things such as fire a turret at the Devil's Hand in what appears to be a forest, fights a biker on the side of the road, and jumps over a helicopter with his motorcycle. That last part is in the game. The turret and fight scenes aren't. Yes, these things were in the game itself, but not playable beyond a few seconds in the intro.
  • No Flow in CGI: For some strange reason, averted. Jake's anglerfish hair flows, as does his jacket. Even the jewel attached to the high grade assault rifles bounces back and forth during combat.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Many examples. The brewery has large, uncovered holes to fall down in. The power plant has electricity running across the ground. The mill is full of logs that swing back and forth. The mine in general is just an unstable hole. The docks were seemingly designed by the same architect who created much of Raccoon City's infrastructure. The roads are full of pipes, containers, cranes, overturned trucks, and roads too narrow for cars to get through. At the very least, they certainly do fit in with the incoherent nature of the rest of the game's levels.
  • Obvious Beta: The game is just infested with bugs. Lots of them. The AI and combat are rather broken as well.
  • Off Model: The character models look cheap and dated, with stiff, plastic-looking hair. Jake himself looks a little like Eddie Riggs from Brütal Legend, but Ride to Hell lacks that game's intentionally cartoony graphical charm.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Most of the game's villains are standard corrupt biker thugs. Then you have Cook in the DLC, a maniac with an atomic bomb who wants "America to burn the way I burned!".
  • Only Six Faces: The game re-uses character models a lot. This is particularly noticeable as it's even done for supporting roles with a decent amount of screen time.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Whether from gunshot wounds or being smacked with fists, long combos make characters practically explode in a fountain of blood.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Which can sometimes glitch, causing an enemy to fly miles away sideways after being shot in the head.
  • Rasputinian Death: Caesar suffers this at the end. First, Jake jumps onto his bike and gouges his eyes out, Oberyn Martell style, then Caesar drives off a cliff while blinded, but survives the fall only to be crushed by his bike, which starts leaking petrol. Finally, Jake throws his lighter away, igniting the petrol and causing the bike and Caesar to explode.
  • Rescue Sex: Crossing over with Fetish Retardant, this happens a lot, and in the most inappropriate situations possible. For example, the scene in which a girl decides to fuck the player character immediately after you kill the man who was trying to rape her, in the same room as his bloody corpse!!
    • Right Through His Pants: Said sex scenes are done with nobody taking any clothes off. In some cases, it's flat out impossible for them to be having sex dressed as they are (like one girl wearing overalls.)
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jake goes on one to avenge his brother.
  • Silent Credits: Probably not a deliberate stylistic choice.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: One gets the feeling from many of the decisions he takes over the course of the game, particularly the ones involving needlessly complicated Zany Schemes involving the deaths of a ridiculous number of Innocent Bystanders, that fighting in The Vietnam War was not good for Jake's mental health.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The mysterious leader of the Devil's Hand, Caesar, is this to the rest of the gang. Pretty Boy talks him up like he's a combination of Professor Moriarty and The Terminator. When you finally face him face-to-face, he's pretty much just another hysterical crazy-villainous biker dude. He doesn't even put up as much of a fight as some of the gang bosses you've already killed. Potentially Fridge Brilliance; Caesar is a pretty big guy and articulate enough that he might be impressive to someone who's never finished high school, which is likely to describe a large portion of his Devil's Hand army.
  • Skewed Priorities: Not the characters, but the developers, who somehow found time to make enemies drop both money and a wide variety of drugs (which have no purpose other than being sold, and each of which has their own logo) and ludicrously in-depth motorcycle customization.
  • Skyward Scream: Jake does a very narmy one after Mike is killed.
  • Slashed Throat: How Mike dies.
  • The Starscream: In the DLC mission, Cook indicates he doesn't care about the Devil's Hand, and just needed some goons to help him steal the A-Bomb. It's likely the rest of the Devil's Hand leadership wouldn't have been too keen on him blowing up the state.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Mack.
  • Under the Truck: This can be done during the bike sequences.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: During the introduction cutscene at the start of the game, you're dropped into firing from a turret (without any context), then you're thrown into a Quick Time Event fight (again, without any context), and then you get to the main story with bike riding/Beat 'em Up gameplay (revealing the opening was a Flash Forward montage, and giving a bare minimum of context).
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Despite the otherwise indiscriminate and diverse violence he wrecks upon the populace, both biker and civilian, Jake never harms any women. Granted, the only woman in the game he would have been even vaguely justified in murdering was Brandy, Pretty Boy's girlfriend, seemingly the only Devil Hand's biker moll that's actually loyal to her man.