The Rockin' Dead



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   bitComposer Games

Publisher:    Viva Media

Released:  May 2011

PC Requirements:  

  • Operating System: Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2000 / ME / 98
  • Processor: Pentium 4.2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 4.5 GB free hard drive space
  • Video Card: 4 MB DirectX compatible graphics card






by flotsam


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 be.

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 ludicrous.

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 them.

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 help.

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 significant time.

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.

Short Shorts4

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


1. Aerosmith

2. Dusty Springfield

3. Radiohead

4. Royal Teens

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