Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer review - authentic boomer shooter

Style over substance, in the best way possible

Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer Gameplay with enemies
(Image: © No More Robots)

TechRadar Verdict

Judge it solely on its throwback shooter credentials and you’ll find Slayers X is slightly more functional than fun, instead the real joy is in its examination of protagonist and developer Zane Lofton.


  • +

    Imaginative and unique concept

  • +

    One of the coolest shotguns in videogames

  • +

    Perfectly realized late ‘90s setting


  • -

    Frustratingly old-school FPS design

  • -

    Challenging difficulty spikes

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Review information

Platform review: PC
Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release date: June 1, 2023

Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath is a perfect time capsule of the most embarrassing years of my life. It so skillfully captures the blinkered imagination of a kid who ‘rocks out’ to Limp Bizkit, constantly references The Matrix, and always wears their wallet on a chain.

To spare my blushes, the fictional creator of Slayers X, Zane Lofton, takes turn-of-the-millennium jerkishness to hellish new extremes. He uses words like ‘bunghole’ and ‘terds’ [sic] with cringe-inducing abandon and fervently believes in his own awesomeness, casting himself in all of his creative endeavors, from comic strips in which he battles evil alongside the frontman of his favourite band, Seepage, to the videogame he started creating as a 15-year-old in 1998.

Fast-forward to the present day: Zane is in his mid-thirties, still a beacon of self-belief, and finally ready to unleash Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer, an accidental boomer shooter, upon the world.

In the story, Zane finds himself the last-standing member of a superhero squad after an attack by the satanic Psyko Syndikate gang. And if Zane seems familiar to you, it’s because he was the self-enamoured cyberbully from 2019’s Hypnospace Outlaw, who went by Zane_Rocks_14. Yep, this is a shooter that both stars and is ostensibly designed by a fictional character from another game.

That context is important because if you play Slayers X for its gunplay alone then you’ll probably come away disappointed. This is a perfectly serviceable shooter, but it’s not a great one. It can’t possibly be a great game because it is, for all intents and purposes, the work of a high school edge lord. In order for Slayers X to properly deliver on that concept, it has to be a bit crap in places.

 Crappy game design, literally 

Terminal Aftermath Vengance of the Slayer dialogue

(Image credit: No More Robots)

The lofty ambition of an absentminded notebook-doodler is evident in every level, story beat, and boss battle. There’s a highway shootout in which you jump between cars and lorries that are gradually ripped down to their chassis over the course of the fight, but beating the boss of this section is just a case of firing any and everything you’ve got in their general direction.

Then you have weaponry like the Glass Blaster, a mighty boomstick that fires shards of glass, ammo you can collect by smashing any window in the game - it could be a videogame shotgun hall of famer were it not for its designer calling the ammo ‘glass sharts’. Or there’s a boss fight set in a toilet bowl complete with swirling brown water, the boss itself a toilet, but with a skull in place of a cistern.

The level design flip-flops between these extremes constantly. Secrets rooms and routes are hidden throughout the game containing gags you can imagine game designer Zane patting himself on the back for, but levels are padded out with monster closets or suddenly spawning waves of enemies in a fashion that seems knowingly obnoxious. Reach a new area, backtrack through an old area after completing an objective, or open any locked door and you can guarantee a level’s worth of bad guys and monsters are about to appear.

Enemy hoard in Terminal Aftermath Vengance of the Slayer

(Image credit: No More Robots)
Best bit

Terminal Aftermath Vengance of the Slayer gameplay

(Image credit: No More Robots)

Easter eggs and references to Hypnospace Outlaw abound in the secret rooms of Slayers X, but one that stuck with me was when I fell for a clearly labeled trap door on the off chance there was loot inside. I  spend the next couple of minutes plummeting to my death - it’s the best a game’s got me since Dark Souls’ Mimic chests. 

Even the way the difficulty scales feels consciously basic, with the final couple of levels resorting to simply spawning in all the toughest enemies anywhere there’s space and equipping you with increasingly overpowered weapons to balance things out. Sometimes you’ll get stuck at random difficulty spikes or find yourself desperately low on ammo with dozens of enemies charging at you - developer Zane clearly hasn’t thought everything through or played the game much himself.

It’s unavoidable that these subtle design decisions result in Slayers X occasionally becoming frustrating and even laborious, but in doing so they also sell the setting. That’s no mean feat for a concept as silly as this.

Famous CEO Zane Lofton 

Using power in Terminal Aftermath Vengance of the Slayer

(Image credit: No More Robots)

Whether or not that’s fun for you may depend on how familiar you are with the incredibly specific zeitgeist Slayers X is riffing on. For me, the act of exploring every nook and cranny of Zane’s imagination is the real highlight of the game, and if the gunplay or level design were any sharper than that illusion would be shattered.

It’s important to point out that while there are objectively funny things about this depiction of the late ‘90s, it’s sincere rather than sneering. The reason Zane’s game is so fascinating to explore is because it offers a real insight into his character and his warped, juvenile view of the world and his place in it. This is a guy who can picture himself as a “famous CEO” with superpowers, but one who still lives with his mum in a rundown apartment in Boise, Idaho.

Slayers X sits somewhere between an archived forum post, a foggy memory, and a shitpost. It’s parading around under the guise of Build Engine nostalgia bait, but really it's an explorable and earnest microhistory of a moment in time that’s often roundly mocked but still intimately relatable for those who were there. Perhaps that’s too grandiose considering one of the most numerous enemy types in Slayers X is a chirping, sweetcorn-flinging pile of feces, but there really is no other game quite like it.


Not only are there limited accessibility options in Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath, its characterful menu design may actually pose a problem for some users because of unclear option titles, a lack of option descriptions, and a hard-to-see cursor. However, there are some handy options such as a ‘head bob’ toggle, aim assist, and auto-run - although these can only be switched on or off. Slayers X does feature subtitles by default, however, they are littered with intentional typos and there are no options to increase the size or tweak the opacity. 

How we reviewed 

This playthrough of Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath took four hours to complete on the recommended ‘normal gamer’ difficulty. If you’re not looking for every secret it can be done in half the time. There’s one easier difficulty option, and two more challenging ones which we tested briefly. 

Jordan Forward-Lamb