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Night of the Living Game: Metal Dead

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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Ben Barrett

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