Rock Your Thumbsby Yusuf Laher / 19.11.2009
I know Mahala doesn’t usually review video games, but this time it’s different. Lemmy’s involved. And you know what they say about Lemmy: “Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?” “Trick question, Lemmy IS God.”
Brütal Legend’s about as ridiculous, fantastical and over the top as any classic metal album cover: think Manowar, Iron Maiden, 3 Inches of Blood, Megadeth, an army of fire breathing monsters and panthers that shoot lasers out of their eyes. Playing as Jack Black voiced Eddie Riggs (a tribute to Iron Maiden mascot Eddie the Head and his creator Derek Riggs), the world’s best roadie turned metal superhero, it’s up to you to vanquish the evil Lord Doviculous and show Bladehenge how to rock again. It’s like Tenacious D, Motörhead and Metalocalypse meets Golden Axe and Spinal Tap (cranked all the way up to 11).
Lars Halford: “What do you do with a bunch of kids that don’t know how to do anything but bang their heads all day long?”
Eddie Riggs: You start a revolution, Lars.
Just to give you an idea. There’s a mission called A Number of Beasts, where, using rings of fire, you have to round up a bunch of fire breathing, Gene Simmons-looking creatures with the help of Rob Halford. Then there’s the level where leading lady Ophelia is dying and the only one that can save her is The Kill Master, aka Ian Fraser Kilmister, aka Lemmy. But Ophelia’s so far gone Lemmy needs stronger bass strings to revive her. So it’s up to you to kill a giant metal spider queen, steal her super webs and get them back to Lemmy in time to change strings and save Ophelia.
Stage Battles play out like a simplified, heavy metal take on Warcraft and real time strategy. First you have to erect a stage, then you have to build merchandising booths on top of all the fan geysers, then you create troops, call on Lemmy and Rob Halford and attack, playing stripped down, mini Guitar Hero solos to rally the troops, sound the battle cry and literally melt the faces of your enemies.
Enemies of metal alternate from Tim Burton-looking emo kids mooching around in Beetlejuice t-shirts, to feathered hair metal posers and an army Amazonian jungle women painted up like Kiss fans (until Eddie convinces them to join him against Doviculous).
In the end, Brütal Legend’s definitely not the most advanced or sophisticated 3D action adventure game on the market. It’s all a bit gimmicky, hack and slash and repetitive. Most of the appeal comes in the form of novelty catch phrases, guest appearances (did I mention Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford), an inventive sense of humour, awesome concept art and the basic premise of it all (and the totally killer soundtrack). Then again, reviewing video games for a living, Brütal Legend’s a refreshing break from the norm. And as a fan of the content, it’s about damn time!
Designed by Tim Schafer, Brütal Legend’s got the same kind of niche pleasing cult appeal as Lucas Arts’ (and Schafer’s) 1995 classic Full Throttle. Interestingly, Schafer is also responsible for cult classics like Grim Fandango, The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge and more recently, Psychonauts. So you know what to expect, right?
The full soundtrack features 107 classic metal songs (from Motörhead, Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe and Black Sabbath, to Cradle of Filth, 3 Inches of Blood, Children of Bodom and DragonForce), as well as 70 minutes of original music composed by Lucas Arts stalwart and regular Schafer collaborator Peter McConnell. Which all makes for some epic driving music in Eddie’s hell bound, flame decaled Deuce.
PS3 (also on Xbox 360)