"Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon" (Ubisoft, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, $15) makes that connection more explicit. It's an affectionate tribute to a cinematic era in which one guy with a lot of guns could solve all the world's problems.
The musclehead here is Rex "Power" Colt, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier who's sent to a remote island to prevent a madman from building an unstoppable army. Rex is voiced by Michael Biehn, a veteran of genuine '80s classics like "The Terminator" and "Aliens," and his growly one-liners contribute as much to the atmosphere as the game's pulsing synth-heavy soundtrack.
The story has everything you could want from the genre, including a painfully awkward sex scene, a montage of Rex training and a flamboyantly over-the-top climax. The plot is laid out in pixelated, minimally animated cut scenes, although most of the action takes place in the fully up-to-date engine Ubisoft created for last year's Far Cry 3 (Review).
You don't need that game to play "Blood Dragon." Instead, your $15 buys you a scaled-down version of "FC3" with a smaller map, fewer weapons and a streamlined leveling-up system. It takes just six hours or so to play through, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you felt "FC3" dragged on too long.
"Blood Dragon" is an intriguing experiment in downloadable content from a big publisher like Ubisoft. If you loved the parent game, you get a fresh new adventure using the same mechanics. If you didn't play "Far Cry 3," you get a solid sample for one-quarter of the price. Either way, it's hard to resist. Three stars out of four.