10 June 2012

Metal Dead

Gaming Genres: Graphical Adventure,
Story Genres: Comedic, Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Graphical Styles: 2D, Hand-Drawn, Cartoon, Low Resolution
Platforms: Windows
Pricing Model: Pay $
Developer(s): Walk Thru Walls
Publisher(s): Walk Thru Walls
Initial Release Date: December 19, 2011
Website(s): Homepage, Facebook, Twitter (dev), Indievania, Adventure Shop, Demo
Metal Dead is a comedic, heavy metal influenced, apocalyptic point'n'click adventure games packed with everyone's favorite undead creatures, zombies!

This twisted tale centers on two metal-heads in the midst of a zombie invasion. After crashing their car in front of a medical research facility, they become trapped and are forced to use their wits to puzzle their way to freedom. Along the way, they must deal with a cast of characters who range from mildly deranged to completely insane.

Metal Dead is a full-length old school adventure game, featuring:
  • Over 40 interactive rooms
  • 17 unique, quirky characters
  • 13 Achievements
  • Built-in hint system
  • Fully orchestrated midi soundtrack
  • Extensive script packed with comedy goodness
Nominated by Adventure Gamers for "Best Writing - Comedy" and "Best Independent Adventure Game" for 2011!

Metal Dead is the successful attempt to combine heavy metal, the zombie apocalypse, comedy, and retro point and click gaming. I think it is safe to assume that it is also the first and only such game. It was released during the end of 2011, and was good enough to get nominated into two Adventure Gamers categories:  "Best Writing - Comedy" and "Best Independent Adventure Game".

In Metal Dead you play Malcolm who, with his ever present friend Ronnie, is a metal-head. They love heavy metal, and in particular Ronnie believes that the zombie apocalypse is the most metal thing to ever happen. During the opening sequence you crash your car, in front of a large medical research building that is attracting the attention of all the zombies in the area, and he is killed. You then embark on a short puzzle solving and exploration sequence which concludes with you carrying around your friends head, which acts as a hint system, and occasionally advances the storyline. The story evolves moderately naturally from there as you attempt to survive and escape the aforementioned medical research center; While meeting, working with, and rescuing a variety of interesting, comedic, and exaggerated characters. There is a rather strange twist at the very end, but it does not get weird until then.

While the story of Metal Dead is superb in my opinion, the gameplay/puzzles are far less so. They are really just the standard inventory fare, though they do have you doing some interesting things at times, namely killing zombies. The one proper logic puzzle in the entire game is one of the worse examples of its kind, and the detective, clue finding and code breaking, puzzle was not much better. But for the most part the puzzles are fine, they are simply not the focus of the game. One feature I was mildly surprised by was the use of a multiple cursor system, with the standard: interact, look, talk, and walk cursors. I cannot say that I agree with their decision concerning this feature; It is not that I dislike this type of interface, though in general I do, but that it is never taken advantage of. Other than requiring you to spend time clicking through your options between interacting with the environment (interact), moving about (walk), and talking to people (talk) you never use the system; You simply never "interact" with a person, "talk" to a object or room, or "walk" (kick) an undead.

The art is simple hand-drawn and crude, but charming and very good accompaniment to the rest of the game. Its one unique aspect is the level of blood and gore, of which there is no shortage. You are shown everything, from the shambling dead, dismemberment, piles of corpses, zombies feeding, guts, and brain matter. None of it is particularly "graphic" because of the art style, and it is not overly mature in any other area, so I do not think that the game should really be considered objectionable to any age that is OK with the concept of a zombie.

I think any classic adventure fan will love Metal Dead. It is a great recreation of the traditional adventure model with a modern and very unique concept. To be honest, I believe that the gameplay dropped the ball a little bit, and was quite drab in it implementation, but this is easily overlooked and hardly noticeable while playing.

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Indieness: Indie
Play?: Should Play

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