>> Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ever have just one of those days? Our hero Lance is having several of them.... all today. The premiere computer repairman for the region, he's summoned to the mysterious mansion of Dr. Nero Nurosis to repair his super-computer. Not too bad right? Most of these egg-heads have alot of money. Well, the doctor isn't exactly an egg-head at all. In fact, he's just a brain in a jar... with dreams of world domination. So, now instead of paying for the repairs, and... after a few cheap shots from Lance, he's sicked Fritz, his hooked hand psychotic sidekick to take Lance out. Can Lance elude Fritz, defeat Dr. Neurosis and escape? Will he fall prey to the Doc and his many co-horts? Will he get paid for the job?
Being a huge Dragon's Lair fan, it's one of the reasons I bought the CD-i initally, especially after seeing the pathetic, heavily (and poorly) edited editions of Dragon's Lair & Space Ace that Readysoft did for Sega CD & 3DO. So, when I first heard about BRAIN DEAD 13, I can honestly say, my hopes weren't very high. However, being an FMV game fan, I just had to give it a try, and to my surprize, there was ALOT to love about this one. Being one of the only games developed by Readysoft themselves, they weren't limited by keeping the rigid structure imposed by the original games and were able to tailormake the game game to fit the console environment it ran on. A major step up from where they were heading.
Unfortunatly for the financially strapped Readysoft, alot of technical glitches arose right at the time of release, and after they had already begun a rather hillarious print advertizing campaign, so that by the time the game finally released, it was too late and the company went under not soon after. The visuals on this one are what it was all out about, and they do not fail to entertain. With an eye toward the macbre, each of the villanous characters have a personality thats very hillarious. Intermixing them with heavily detailed backgrounds, this one does not fail to be pleasing to the eye. Even the most monsterous things like the iron maiden (rock on!! heh), vampiric blood sucking, etc, just seem so hillarious, it's more like crossing over into the classic Bugs Bunny horror cartoons.... sans the rabbit.
The biggest drawback to this one is the lack of obvious route sometimes. Often times with no real cue to know what to do next, you'll die 3 or 4 times in one location... .so the death animations get really old really quick. Even though there are a variety of them unique to each area... there are really just too few to make them tollerable. Most will want to find a strategy guide after a while, just to beat certain puzzles. The character voices in this one were over the top. With so much emphasis on the cartoony aspect of play, it needed some good work done both in scripting and casting to make the characters really memorable and enjoable. Thankfully, they did a great casting job for ALL the characters. Lance, who we listen to for the whole game has a definite root in Bugs Bunny-esqe acting... for both the quips and the way he talks. Easily, this could have been a Warner Bros. licence, it's just that good.
Great lines from characters like the sports fanatic monster 'Moose' "Ok, punk. Third Down, Bases are loaded, and we're pullin' the goalie!!", and even some subtle visual jokes for the adults (look at some of the stuff Fritz drops later in the game), add to the myrth and overal experience of the game. While with most FMV games, once you're done, theres little reason to replay... this one does offer a bit more as some of the cheap jokes and subtle humor are easy to miss. Control is really where this one shines. Out-doing the control input for other games like Dragon's Lair, ICDI's port brought over the impressive control scheme and kept it really tight and refined. Playing more like the Dragon's Lair arcade game of old, you're given the dull tone for unaccepted commands, and the ping for accepted ones. Very helpful, and not nearly as hit & miss as the others. A major step up!
Overall, this one is a great FMV game. Alot to do, not as linear as other titles in the genre as you do have a choice as to where you can go and how you get there and inifnite lives.... all adding up to a really fun game. Fair warning : Some parents might be put off by the violence level in this one, and occasionally adult-ish humor. But for the most part, it's nothing you haven't seen similar events of in classic Bugs & Daffy cartoons. Still supervision is advised for the real youngsters.
Credits: CD-i Collective. Pictures: The Black Moon Project