Hi all, little personal introduction from me. My name is Andi I go by the avatar name of Ruki Riot (Lead singer of The GazettE & favourite GazettE song $ocial Riot Machine$). I have been playing JRPG's & quirky games for as long as I can remember. I have a huge interest in Japanese gaming and culture, my favourite music types are Punk, metal & J-Rock I also do enjoy a fair bit of 90's Gangster rap!. My favourite anime is Cowboy Bebop I could re-watch it daily and I'm currently working my way through One Piece which I have an on off relationship with!. Ps3/PC/3DS gamer and I also write reviews for DIY punk bands which get hosted on www.punx.co.uk. I am helping my good friend Geoff out every now and again with articles and information, I can't post as much as I would like due to work/family & reviewing commitments but I am 100% committed to helping this blog as much as I can & I hope to be able to post for years to come!.
This article is about a game I am currently playing, Killer Is Dead. Created by Grasshopper Studios featuring the powerhouse of Japanese gaming Suda 51!. Those not familiar with the Japanese Quentin Tarantino here is a quick history lesson.
Suda 51 named as such because his real name is Goichi Suda (Go for 5 Ichi for 1). Often described at adding a punk rock spin on gaming has been around since the SNES days and continues to gather fans through his games which tend to make points & digs at the modern world & gaming in general. Be it gaming glorifying boring tasks or the over sexualisation in gaming Suda has touched upon this over his career!.
Originally starting with SPIKE the first work you can play is Super Fire Pro Wrestling Speical snes (find actual name) this is the first time Suda would create a unique gaming experience in which -SPOILERS- you would play a wrestler whom would eventually go on to commit suicide due not being happy even after he has won all the major titles and become a superstar!.
Skip ahead a few years and we come to the next title I played and I believe the first one to reach Jolly 'ol blighty!. KILLER 7 I would imagine you already have of least heard of this masterpiece but if not ill explain. Created as part of a partnership with Capcom 5 AAA titles were planned. Viewtiful Joe, Resi 4, Killer 7, PN 03 & another which never released. As of today only PN 03 remains an exclusive but 'cube certainly had the best versions of VJ & K7!. Suda firmly at the helm brought you a semi cell shaded title with his unique take on graphics and story telling. Playing an old man who changes into one of 7 persona’s when viewed for a camera creates a memorable tale coupled with a unique on the rails control system, it blurred the lines between game & art long before Ico & SOTC started.
Since Killer 7 anything his name has been attached to has gathered a following (I myself will play anything he puts out). From point and click adventure Flower, Sun & Rain, to the unique but excellent Contact one of the first RPG's released on DS and even went onto work on the 4th Fatal Frame game!. Suda once again became known through this next title and another favourite of mine No More Heroes!
Meet Travis Touchdown, Otaku Wrestling fan pervert who is a part time assassin after buying a beam sword (light sabre) off of the Internet and killing an assassin. Now to get fame, money & to get into the underwear of a female he must rise through the rankings to become the #1 assassin.
The catch? You need to stump up big money to fight each assassin. How do you do this? Mundane daily tasks like gardening and Hunting for land mines.
Despite the quirky nature of this title and it being a wii exclusive (at the time it later hit 360 & ps3) it was the first and so far only Suda title released outside of Japan to get a sequel! No More Heroes 2 – Desperate Struggle.
I know there is a few titles I have missed either due to them not releasing over here (silver case) or the fact iv yet to play them. This example is Michigan report from hell, a first person horror where you record supernatural going ons ala fatal frame but without any way to fight back. As this game is quite rare and had a limited print I have yet to play it, along side the fact Suda had no idea it has released in Europe thus maybe lacking some translation.
Suda's next appearance came in a collaboration effort and was his most high profile and biggest budgeted game yet Shadows Of The Damned!.
Working along side Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame and Akria Yamaoka of Silent hill fame, they created the survival horror comedy mash up published by EA! (plus a title track by punk legends The Damned).
Garcia F**king Hotspur goes to hell to save his damned girlfriend alongside floating skull/gun Jonathan. With some superb writing and very tense moments SotD won a cult fan base but unfortunately didn't sell too well and EA seemed let down by its sales performance.
Next up we have Kinect only Diabolic Pitch, a baseball/demon killing game which unfortunately I have yet to play. Looking at game play and reviews it doesn't seem have made waves even with fans of Suda 51.
Following this Lollipop Chainsaw hit the scene, a Warner Brothers produced grind-house B movie horror comedy starring Juliet Starling monster hunting cheerleader. Along side her is her family & the head of her incredibly understanding boyfriend Nick (He steals the show!). Mixed reviews and a short game-play time held this gem back but certainly one for people fond the old Dreamcast score attack style games. I personally really enjoyed this one and would love to one day see another Lollipop Chainsaw my only issue was that Suda played it very safe in terms of writing on this one. Despite the Cheer-leading Zombie hunting antics a lot of the story and characters were more comedy and easier to swallow than that of some of his past creations!.
ENOUGH with the history lesson we are now at present day with one of Suda's more hyped works Killer Is Dead!. Hailed as the spiritual successor set within the lines of No More Heroes and Killer 7 we have Assassin (I see a trend here!) Mondo Zappa fighting the hordes of Wires (Monsters!) that have been turning from the dark side of the moon.........yeah you gotta bare with me here!.
A 3rd person hack & slash is how this tale is presented, the main cast sadly aren't the most original designs barring Mondo himself. Mondo Zappa looks like a mix between James Bond & MegaMan!, suit wearing, sunglasses wielding hitman badass with a robotic arm which changes from gun to drill to human at the touch of a button! Topping this off he has a dark pair of Red eyes, this leads to a lot of speculation as to Zappa's origins and I'm sure it will be explained later on during the game. Vivenne Squall female assassin and looks just like Eva from Metal Gear Solid 3 even to the point she has a very similar bike!.
Bryan Roses the boss! Here we have pretty much the character design for Cyborg/Turrican half man, half mechanical power house. Sits in his chair smoking cigars and arranging your “Hits”.
Finally we have Mika Takekawa Japanese school girl who acts a lot like a Mondo fan girl & is kept around because of her egg making abilities!.
This brings us to our main villain David! He lives on the dark side of the moon and is a powerful foe for Mondo!. He plans to take over the earth from his mansion on the moon & you originally come across him when a female called “Moon River” apparent Goddess of the moon hires Mondo to kill him after he “stole” the moon from her!.
Other hits include a Yakuza boss with spiritual tiger powers & an alien like being who plans to take over the world using sound!. While we are on about characters it's time to mention the controversial crew known as the Mondo Girls!.
For anyone who has stayed away from anything to do with KiD basically the Mondo Girls are a collection of females (bet you never guessed ;)) whom Mondo meets in a bar “seduces” and then sleeps with for bonus abilities for his robot arm!. This motley crew include a geisha, a vampire & Scarlett the needle riding nurse who hides in levels and offers you combat challenges and blood when found!. I quoted seduces because these levels consist of Mondo silently leering at certain parts of the female body before providing her with a gift to raise affection levels!. If you have the DLC or are far enough into it you get a pair of sunglasses with X Ray powers, this speeds these levels up a lot as it also tells you what the girl wants!.
That is the low point of the game, the gigolo missions though not compulsory for a play through you do need to do them a few times to 100% the game. Another point is the “Limited” edition DLC! This includes police outfits for the females, above sunglasses & mission 51!. I have to state there are not 50 missions in the game this is because it's an “extra” mission thus given the name after Suda himself.
I point this out as it seems this mission was pulled from the main game (In between mission 6 & 7) in a bid to get more day 1 buyers. It involves Mondo vampire hunting and is actually one of the better missions of the game (It even has a hidden Juliet Starling!).
Combat is quite a simple two button system for melee with shoulder buttons for his gun/drill arm. He can dodge at the speed of light and does make for a few decent scraps especially if you dodge at the last second and he unleashes a barrage of fast hard hitting slashes!. Nothing too in depth but it serves it's purpose and works well!. Another point to make is the robot arm, to stop people abusing it's shooting nature or the over powered Drill arm it is run on Blood!, yes you heard me right the arm runs on the blood of the enemies you smite!
Visual style of the game is a nice mixture between NMH & Killer 7 but unfortunately looks rather bland in some places & on the Ps3 version (the one I’m playing not sure if it's happening on 360) there is quite a lot of screen tearing!.
The story if you can't tell from the characters is pretty off the wall and includes but isn't limited to a guardian angel in the form of a talking unicorn with a sparkly aura to boot!. I have yet to finish it but I am quite close to the end, there are 12 main missions (13 if you count the DLC) and a fair few side missions which use previous environments and sets you different challenges. Unfortunately some of the missions are only a matter of minutes long, missions 1 & 2 are mostly cut scene & run at around 10 min combined. Further on you have a few dream missions which don't hit higher than the 15 minute mark.
Overall I am really enjoying the game & the story of Killer Is Dead, the characters could have been better & some missions a little longer but overall I don't regret playing this game. I think it's a Suda game for Suda fans, it isn't going to gain a new fan base & doesn't have the budget or power behind it like SoTD did but it does a serviceable job of reminding the fans why we play these games!.
I will post a final note when I finish the game but as of now I hope you have enjoyed the read and anyone new to this hopefully I have taught you something new! Any questions Suda or Killer is Dead related feel free to drop into the comment box or tweet me @andicpunx