LATE NIGHT ADVENTURE
A Review of Brain Dead 13
Another boring night quickly gives way to fast paced adventure in Brain Dead 13. Lance, the unsuspecting hero of the game, gets a call to fix a computer that's gone awry. When he arrives at the address, he looks in awe at the towering castle that he's about to enter. Summoning all the courage he can muster, Lance enters the eerie locale and finds the malfunctioning device. After examining the computer and making it operational, Lance accidentally overhears the evil Dr. Neurosis discussing his world domination plan. Since Dr. Neurosis can't have Lance telling everyone about his plan he sends Fritz, a strange looking henchman with hooks for hands, out to silence him. Hence, the chase begins with Fritz following every move Lance makes. The only way to stop this nightmare is to find your way up to the "Brain Chamber" where you must defeat the evil Dr. Neurosis and stop his evil plan. Of course, no one ever said it was going to be easy!
Brain Dead 13 by ReadySoft, is set up very similar to their previous hit series, the Dragon's Lair games. The arrows control Lance's movement while the space bar controls an action, such as grabbing or jumping. For example, when you begin the game Lance is standing in a hallway with 4 different paths to choose from. Simply press the direction you want him to run in. If the choice you made was correct a high pitched tone will alert you and the action will continue. However, if the command wasn't right, you'll be treated to one of the nicely animated death scenes.
To succeed in beating Brain Dead 13, you'll have to explore every room in the huge castle. Throughout your adventure you'll run across many areas, some more than once. The locales range from traditional rooms like the library and kitchen, to more eccentric ones like a funeral salon, and a huge maze-like garden. Of course these areas aren't just empty, they're filled to the brim with all sorts of evil characters just waiting to do you in. This is where Brain Dead 13 really shines. The enemies are so well drawn and have such personality that you actually feel like you're in a cartoon. By far my favorite "baddy" has got to be Vivi. She resides in the funeral salon and offers to give you a make over. She's a vampire (with more than a passing resemblance to Elvira) bent on getting herself some new blood! What might cause a little bodily damage are her "manicures". Be sure to hold on to all nine, err, ten of your fingers. Keeping Vivi away from your neck might not be a bad idea either! From the way she talks to the way she walks, the animators were right on target with this blood thirsty seductress. Perhaps the subtitle on the advertising and packaging should have said "Starring Vivi" instead of "Starring Fritz" since she's so much more likeable (hated; take your pick). Also noteworthy are the two witches, Evil Right Iris and Evil Left Iris. They love to fly on their brooms while wreaking havoc. Be careful around these two or you might end up in their boiling cauldron for dinner. What's a castle without a few witches, eh?
The action is always fast paced. While you roam around the castle aimlessly, Fritz is always right behind you just waiting to sink his hooks into your skin. You only have a few seconds to survey the surrounding area and act accordingly. Don't expect to whip through a room on your first try. This game takes a lot of trial and error to succeed. Luckily the death sequences are very original and funny so it's actually worth dying a few times to get to see the great animation. Speaking of animation, this is by far the best I've ever seen on a computer screen. We're talking full screen cartoon quality animation! Sure Dragon's Lair looked good, but Brain Dead 13 seems to use its colors more wisely and thus is less grainy. The background music sets the mood perfectly as well. The musical score has that haunted house flair to it. The voices are dead on and suit each of the characters perfectly. It really is hard to believe that ReadySoft didn't hire professional actors to do the voices (all the voice was done in-house). Show this game to any of your friends and I'll guarantee that they will be impressed by the spectacular audio and visual.
While Brain Dead 13 might look and sound great, the playability and fun factor could use a little work. In most instances you have to press your command button at exactly the right moment. Acting too soon or too late will result in death. Luckily you have unlimited lives, but how many times do you want to see the same death scene? Often times I would exhaust all my options (5 max...4 directions and space bar) in a scene, only to find out I wasn't timing an action at exactly the right moment. It's very easy to get frustrated when you've tried everything and can't get any further. They could have remedied this by including an option that would have had some kind of on-screen signal show the correct way to go. Like all games of this genre, once you've mastered the game there's little incentive to play through it again.
The many monsters and rooms make Brain Dead 13 a fun adventure while the original story line makes it stand out from the Dragon's Lair games. The graphics and music are both excellent at showing what can be accomplished when the effort is put into a product. If you liked ReadySoft's previous interactive adventure games, chances are you'll die to get a chance to play this masterpiece. Combine its imaginative and humorous storyline along with its action packed scenes and Brain Dead 13 is a "nightmare" come true!
Gamer's Zone Scorecard
PC CD-ROM (300 K/S or better), 4 MB RAM,
Fun Factor 3