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Braindead 13

Review by Scott Tirrell


Allright, another Readysoft game in the Dragon's Lair tradition. You remember Dragon's Lair, don't you? I certainly do. When this game came out it was BIG. This was the game that really pushed the limits for the 80s. Coming on laserdisc, Dragon's Lair offered full animated graphics. If I recall correctly, the animations were done by Don Bluth, the same people (person?) who did All Dogs go to Heaven. Dragon's Lair was just like a cartoon, only the player controlled it!

Looking back on it, of course, I am less than impressed. Back then, there was a tradeoff for getting such beautiful and smooth graphics. The tradeoff was a huge loss in interactivity. You didn't so much as "control" Dirk the Daring as you did influence him. Dirk should swing his sword now, for example, or take a left off the stairs. Timing and patterns were everything to the game. It certainly wasn't a game in the old arcade tradition style where gameplay was the important thing.

Braindead is a game in much the same vein. Instead of Dirk the Daring, though, you take the role of Lance, a computer repairman who's called out to a mysterious castle late one night to do some repairs. After he fixes the network at the castle, the evil Doctor Nuerosis, decides to do away with our hero. So, chased around by Fritz, a kind of bat-like creature with big hooks for hands, Lance has to run around the castle trying to make his escape and, apparently, saving the day in the process.

Graphics

The graphics in Braindead 13 are a little tough to judge. It is a full screen animation so, in that aspect, it is kind of impressive. The artwork is well-done and is probably up to snuff with most children's cartoons on today. Not that I watch them. Um, well, not much, anyway. I can't complain on the drawing of the characters.

On the other hand, I can't help but be underwhelmed by the blockiness of the animations. It is very pixellated and, although I am no expert, I can't help feeling that the Jaguar can do much better. The cartoons in the Highlander CD, for example, seem to be more detailed to me. This could be just my perception, though, and I'd like to hear other peoples' views on it.

As far as the backgrounds and the characters, as well as the animation, they are all well-done. You'll notice some poor transitions of color at times, some missing detail in the drawings, but, overall, it is nice to look at. Just nice, though. To be honest, this is the selling point of the game and it simply is not as well-done as I'd expect.

Sound

The sound is quite simply, poor in this game. At least to my damaged, Gen X, grew-up-with-headphones, ears, the sound was very muffled and I could barely make out the conversations. I could catch the gist of some of what they were saying but not make out every owrd. Kind of like a high school French student taking a trip to Ontario. Well, not that bad, but you get the point. The music is also fairly lacklaster and you'll get sick of the in-between music and Lance's antecdotes really quick because you'll keep dying again, and again, and again....

Gameplay

Which brings us to the gameplay of Braindead 13, what there is of it. You can move in four directions or press the "B" button to carry out an action. You will find the controls, though, less than responsive and you'll probably find yourself, like me, pressing a direction repeatedly. The problem is that, instead of reacting to the game, it almost seems to make you anticipate it. So it turns out not to be a game based on reaction time or skill at all but, instead, just trial and error. In my mind, it is simply pointless. When Lance walks into a room, narrow out the control possibilities by going through them one-by-one. When you find one that doesn't result in your being disenboweled, stick with it. That's all there is to this game. Very little appeal and almost no replay value. Rent a good Anime instead.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 2
Overall: 2

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