Night of the Living Game: Metal Dead

By Ben Barrett on August 30th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Got them drivin' eyes.

It can only amuse some passing deity that the spread of zombies through games was akin to that of an infection. They’re now omnipresent, always raving for the flesh of a new title or trying to plop themselves down and feed on some franchise. We might have to stop talking “genres” and start discussing “strains” if this keeps up. Still, I’ve got time for them as a concept – clichés usually become such because they have such wide reaching potential. The point and click adventure’s strategy of lying low and praying they don’t notice you has left that particular strain of game mostly uninfected, with one notable exception. But hark, shambling into view is Metal Dead, ready to consume your time with ever more tales of the recently deceased. Demo thoughts and trailer in the graveyard.

MS Paint art and no voice-acting very nearly put me off Metal Dead from the start, but it kept my attention by doing one very simple thing right: it’s funny. In fact it’s downright hilarious and those two ‘negatives’ actually play into that. The simplistic art makes the expressions of characters all the funnier, not to mention giving the rather gruesome background a well needed lighter tone. No voice acting means no awkward, miss-judged delivery ruining jokes – the little pauses between lines are more than enough comic timing. It gives the whole thing a real early 90s tint and I’d be more than willing to say this beats out early LucasArts efforts in pure laughs-per-minute. And there’s just so much of it, with very little overlap between throwaway lines and most background objects having a joke specifically assigned.

There’s nothing particularly special about the puzzles, but they’re nicely logical and main character Malcolm usually makes it clear what his plan is. They’re structured sensibly too, with most solutions requiring items only a screen or so away, minimising transition times. Hell, it even has great low-key music chugging away in the background of a few scenes, though my personal preference for metal likely flavours that.

The story, wackiness and difficulty were shifting into a high gear just as the demo ended and left me eyeing that incredibly cheap £2.99 cost with hunger. There’s also a sequel in the works and trying to make it on Greenlight, the trailer for which you can see below.

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9 Comments »

  1. Tei says:

    Zombies is the new Nazis.

    I miss the Nazis.

    – - – - cut here – - –

    Sorry about the above. I have to comply with my share of “comment section tropes”.

    The graphics looks strangelly atractive. I like wen differentent artist draw the same thing, because the style of every different style is much more apparent than wen all draw different things. In this case: zombies.

  2. seamoss says:

    Older but very good indie adventure game – played it & finished it some time ago. It is indeed quite funny, especially the conversations between Malcolm & Ronnie. Good to see Ronnie’s head returning (reincarnated?) in the sequel as what looks like an HL headcrab.

    • cptgone says:

      i liked it too. so much, in fact, i actually finished it, despite the fact my back log suffers from exponential growth. and i don’t even like metal!

      not only is it funny, the game advances nicely without any of the old revisit all locations looking for missed items and give up and look for a walkthrough routine most adventures put me through. i liked the graphics, too.

      glad to hear about the sequel. off to Greenlight to vote o/

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  4. kalirion says:

    Not exactly a new release, so strange to be reading about it now.

    Got it in an Indievania bundle way back in Spring of 2012, and it is very good. Looking forward to the sequel, hoping it gets greenlit.

  5. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I’m wondering when we’re going to start seeing “Doesn’t contain zombies” as a unique selling point on games.

    • Nicodemus Rexx says:

      I just want to see more “Does Contain METAL” as a unique selling point for games!

      (Just kidding, I’m a bit more demanding than that.)

      PS: But having good Metal never hurts!

  6. Spacewalk says:

    They should replace all of the zombies with wiggers since it’s a game about heavy metal.

  7. Yaksha says:

    Thanks for covering this game. It’s such an underappreciated gem but one of the best adventures out there at the moment. It deserved to be on steam long time ago but is stuck in the greenlight system like it’s sequel because people these days only like to pew pew and don’t notice a good game when it’s sitting in front of them.