I have been playing two games over the last couple of
weeks, one of them the best thing I have played this year, and then this
one. By comparison The Rockin' Dead falls horribly flat, but on its
own itís still pancake thin.
Which is a bit of a shame, cos a
hard rockin', guitar wielding babe in a skimpy outfit flaunting all of her
charms, saving the world from a fiendish mad scientist played out against
a backdrop of party hard skeletons should have guaranteed some B-movie
fun. But it didnít.
Said babe is Alyssa, lead axe
handler for the gritty girl band the Deadly Lullabyes. On their way to a
gig they crash their van, and when Alyssa comes to, all of the gear and
the rest of the band have disappeared. The nonexistent bridge means that
way is no go, so itís into the cemetery to see whatís what. The skeletal
bouncer at the door of the crypt suggests itís not at all that it should
Walk This Way1
What follows is a fairly mundane
third person trudge-a-thon, fuelled by limited feedback about objectives
and a litany of inventory items used in rather ludicrous ways. I
understand that zombies, skeletons, giant rats and gnomes lend themselves
to the absurd, but even in that setting some of the conundrums are indeed
You do indeed trudge a lot, and a
portal you discover late in the game (at least thatís when I found it)
offers little respite. Trudging is ok if there is other stuff to
compensate, but I found very little.
The 3D was one thing. Yep, my disc
version came with some retro 3D cardboard glasses with red and green
cellophane and, though gimmicky, I have to confess it was pretty cool. I
didnít play the whole game that way, but I dipped in and out by toggling
the little skull with the 3D glasses in the top right corner, and it added
a fun factor that was otherwise missing.
There are a couple of very mild
out-and-out puzzles, but the game is essentially an inventory based
conundrum quest. Try everything here might become your stock in trade,
given the nature of some of the solves. As I alluded to earlier, the lack
of any feedback from the game is gobsmacking, which makes the whole thing
feel like a bunch of disjointed tasks.
Wishiní and Hopiní2
The Rockin' Dead
is a fairly open game, at least in terms of the places you can visit, but
again this lack of feedback means that you walk around hoping you have
found all the things there are to find so you can eventually use them
somewhere else. Not everything is aimless; catching a fish clearly
requires some sort of rod and bait, but catching bats is something else
altogether. Assuming, of course, you realise you are supposed to catch
It is possible it may just have
been my feeble and somewhat limited capacity to think outside the box that
led me to feel this way about the construction of the game. However, I
have played an awful lot of games.
Thankfully there is a hint system.
Except that it isnít much of one. Three levels of hints exist, the first
two with basic objectives, the third an out-and-out solve of sometimes
biblical proportions. However it's completely unintuitive, only offering
the hints for your current screen. If you are looking for where to go
next, you wonít get it in a hint. All you will get are the same hints
repeated for whatever the conundrum was at that screen. Not until you
reach somewhere you havenít been, or you've gone back to somewhere you
have been but havenít done everything, will you get something that might
If you want to try a walkthrough,
beware of alt/tab. The game didnít respond at all well and I had to repair
the install to get it to start again.
Exit Music (For a Film)3
Many of the screens side scroll,
and you would do well to make sure you scroll to the full extreme in every
screen. I initially missed a number of exits (and therefore extra areas)
by not scrolling far enough one way or the other. You can highlight the
interactive spots, but only if they are visible on the screen.
Make sure to become friends with
the right click. Alyssa shambles about and can take aeons to walk across a
screen. Right clicking makes her jump to the exit point, saving
While there is a lot of detail in
many screens, and a fair bit going on at times, the way Alyssa interacts
with that detail is less than impressive. Rather than interact with an
object, Alyssa will often fidget in its general direction, and despite
some objects being behind her, instead of turning she fidgets forwards.
I liked the cut scenes, black and
white old style films, portrayed on a smaller screen with a border of
watching skeletons, plus a projectionist in the corner. They had a grainy,
grimy B-grade feel that there should have been more of.
I havenít yet mentioned Alyssaís
bouncy breast. Itís always nice to see animated characters as more than
just wooden figures, but you can make up your own mind as to whether this
is a plus or not. Her hair and earrings also bounce about, so there is
context. And it does suit her attire.
This game wasnít very rockin',
though there is one blaring riff that features prominently, and there are
a couple of times we get down and dirty rock style.
In summary, kudos for the 3D
gimmick which added a little something. However, it will only take you so
far, and in the end The Rockin' Dead wasnít much fun. If it had
been, all those other things wouldnít have mattered so much, but they did.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
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