Review: Brütal Legend, A Roadie All The Way

Brutal Legend

In one of the most original openings to a video game I can remember, Jack Black’s  performance of Eddie Riggs was the perfect celebrity to promote Tim Schafer’s Brütal Legend.  Previously working for LucasArts on titles such as Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and Day of The Tentacle with also a passion for music allowed EA to fully back Schafer with this “fantasy world” of a heavy metal video game.  The introduction crosses over from video to video game and uses a vinyl record as it’s cover as the menu.  Very cool!  We’ve all seen cheesy transitional videos, but Double Fine’s transfer is seamless and done in Rock Fashion.  Will Jack Blacks performance convince you comedians CAN be funny in video games? Hell F-in Yes!

The road to being a Roadie. You play Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), and you’re a roadie for a band called Kabbage Boy. A gruesome accident causes the pyrotechnic performance to stop (I always thought the show must go on) and as you were trying to save the band, you fall below the broken down stage. Blood gets into your Silver skull belt buckle and that’s when the chaos begins. You enter a hellish Metal world filled based off Heavy Metal album art covers.  Your job is to save humanity from the demons who have enslaved them.  Jack Blacks mannerisms carry over identically into the character Eddie Riggs. He’s hysterical! I did experience some issues with the audio track where it felt empty at times and untimely conversations between Eddie and other main characters during cutscenes made it awkward.

Brutal Legend

Censored Vulgarity… if you want. For those who are squeamish to blood or are easily offended, Buzz Off!  But EA does have a soul and have incorporated the “less than realistic” option to have the cussing beeped and the gore minimized to just scrapes and nose bleeds.  Come on gamers, I don’t know of one person who’d “prefer” that especially since the game is rated “M”.

Full Throttle ahead. LucasArts Games fans will appreciate Brutal Legend for it’s resemblance to 1995 point-and-click action game, Full Throttle.  The use of motorcycles, Eddie’s kick ass approach and willing to risk it all give fond memories of Full Throttle’s main character, Ben.  Eddie Riggs is equipped with two primary weapons.  A kick ass Battle-Axe and Flying V guitar named Clementine.  The axe pretty much obliterates anything in front of you and the guitar shocks the crap out of your enemy by lightning bolts or strumming a tune that blows them up.

Brütal Hero. Playing Solo’s in front of Relics reminds me of a Guitar type game where you press the button at the same time the screen highlights the button.  Now what’s the name of that game again?  Anyway, you’re shown a music sheet where you play the notes. The point is to raise these relics which can be openings to Motor Forge etc.

Brutal Legend

Lit waypoints leads your way. Pressing select opens your map for points of interest and while keeping those areas untraveled black. The waypoints in Brütal Legend remind me of Star Wars Galaxy.  Except Metal Gods emit a light that points all the way to heaven.  A Stairway to Heaven if you will. A few times I found the navigation to be a bit cumbersome since some missions were behind very tall mountains and was hard to detect where your waypoint was located.

Upgrade your stuff. Ozzie Osbourne, the prince of Darkness makes an appearance as the Motor Forge store keeper but looks a bit like Yoko Ono instead.  He better not sing “So This is Christmas” and split up any bands! Throughout the story, you gain Fire Tributes for every main and secondary mission you are victorious in. This Rockin’ form of currency is used for purchasing upgrades. You need to please the God of Metal along the way. In Motor Forge, you can purchase various upgrade from Fire wielding Battle-Axes to double gun cannons for your roadie fabricated Hot Rod called “The Deuce”. Customizing your ride with certain weapons will make your world roaming experience even bloodier.

Brutal Legend Ozzy

Great Casting, Great Tracks. I mentioned Jack Black and Ozzy Osbourne are featured players in the game but the cast is entertaining with some legends. You’ll also run into heavy metal musicians including Rob Halford, Lemmy Kilmister and the sexy Lita Ford. You’ll hear 108 metal tracks that can be heard in full during the game and while riding The Deuce.

— Command and Conquer Tower Defense — Legend. Brütal Legend really does a good job of mixing in many aspects of gaming into one game without over doing it. The Metal battle field you’re trying to protect gives you another look of the game. Eddie, after turned into a flying demon, controls his Metal Minions for total control of the map using the command center. You must protect The Main Stage while trying to take out theirs. Loaded with fog horns and spotlight turrets you have to do everything you can to keep them away. In between the the stages are Merchandise booths. These allow you to build up your infantry with Headbangers (close combat), women bikers (long distance shooters), pin headed large fisted bouncers (strong melee) and so on. Your Metal Minions are as dumb as they come but their over-sized trapezoids and bobbing heads make you glad they’re working WITH you.  Seriously, I think their necks got so thick from head banging.

Metal your way in Multiplayer. Brütal Legend’s multiplayer mode is based off Real-Time strategy.  You choose from 3 factions to battle with in skirmish battles.  You can have up to eight people online with four on each side choosing from seven maps. The goal is simple, destroy your opponents’ base before he destroys yours. The multiplayer is challenging yet fun addition since I mostly saw Brutal Legend as a single player campaign.

Jack Black
80’s Metal Rock theme
Really funny
RTS in Rock band concert like feel
Voice acting

Lack of jumping
Minor glitches

Final Thought: The “It has it all game” has arrived in Heavy Metal ass kickin glory, Brütal Legend.  Including; Free roam play, driver, Real-Time Strategy, Music and of course Comedy.  For once I can say here’s a different type of game that combines all the elements to make a great game.  Most subtle but necessary feature for me was Brütal Legends save option. Yes, I am applauding a game for introducing “Save and Exit” but more importantly removing the dreaded “Any unsaved progress will be lost” after just a “Save”.  Thank you for simplifying something many developers still get wrong.  For Metal fans, and those who enjoy a good solid all-in-one game, Rock On!


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