Published on October 24th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Rock of the Dead Review
Rock of the Dead
Release Date: Oct. 20, 2010
Publisher: UFO Interactive / Conspiracy Entertainment
Developer: Epicenter Studios
Genre: Rail Shooter / Music
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3, Wii
This is a game that showed some promise, and seemed like a very interesting way to get those plastic peripherals off of the floor. Looking at the title and seeing, Rob Zombie, Niel Patrick Harris, and a new game mechanic that requires the use of any Rock Band, or Guitar Hero guitar, you were probably thinking the same thing I was. “This could be a fun game for $40”. What Rock of the Dead had in creativity, lacked in execution. The music seemed to be very lackluster, and sounded almost like a bad download from Limewire. Vocals were never very clear, and guitar riffs seemed to crack a lot. Niel Patrick Harris provided voice over work that was the main character, but seemed to repeat itself way to often. It seems that the sound department didn’t record enough lines of dialogue with the actor, and had to cue in repeats at many different trigger points.
Rock of the Dead did feature some cool elements. The game is a first person, on rails shooter, that uses the guitar color frets as combos for defeating your enemies. For instance, killing a zombie could yield you striking a red, green, green, yellow sequence to kill it. Mini Boss battles throw you into a “Guitar Hero” mini game that requires you to play the notes, along with the chosen song, to defeat it. Using the whammy bar at given points, gives you more points as well. Big boss battles combine key strokes, and mini song sequences to defeat them, and trust me, the “trailer park monster” is no walk in the park. This mechanic can also be looked at as a miss step as well. The sequences never seem to change and when you have five enemies on screen at one time, strumming out the key sequences seems to get a bit old, and redundant after a while. At some points you can just button mash and still end up with a perfect, or great key stroke.
Achieving multiple, perfect key stokes earn you shields and special power up throughout the game, which you can level up. You use power ups that destroy everything on screen by simply holding down all the fret buttons and strumming once, and power shields are just as they sound. Help prevent you from dying. Health is regained after achieving a perfect note streak on an enemy, and point are awarded similar to a guitar hero game.
Level progression and story are not the backbone of this game. You play as a pot head, who seems to wake up, and the world around him begins to change. Meteors are hitting earth, and zombies, aliens, and giant monsters are attacking anything and everything they see. You play the game making your way through trailer parks, beaches, sewers and woods to get to a radio station that a voice, that seems familiar to you, is calling from. Throughout your adventure, you will encounter people that need help, and you have to fight off enemies that are attacking them to earn extra points and challenge unlocks. The story is nothing to brag about here. It seems almost irrelevant when playing a game such as this, when the mechanics and blowing up zombies is what is the best part.
Visually the game is no award winning accomplishment. This game looks and feels like a Dreamcast game that could have launched along with House of the Dead years ago. The environments are very choppy, and enemies look very “freshman style” graphically designed. If your a fan of multiplayer, this game does feature that. It can be very fun at times, but does run into the problem of when multiple enemies are on screen, there is no way of telling which of you is attacking which creature and if the key strokes are in correct order. It gets very confusing much of the time.
Rock of the Dead is a fun game, if you play it at 20- 30 minute intervals. Playing for a long period of time will dry you out very quickly, and leave you wishing you were playing Guitar Hero. He features a mechanic that I am surprised more developers haven’t jumped on, especially with as many plastic guitars are sitting in peoples houses today. Unfortunately, this game didn’t execute on a solid mechanic, and seemed to not even try visually or musically, which is what a game like this requires. Would I save my $40, yes I would, but this is a solid step for developers to build off of. Lets find something else to do with our pieces of plastic in our living rooms, just not this.
+ Interesting new Mechanic
+ Niel’s simple dialogue made me chuckle
+ Its got zombies
– Poor execution on interesting mechanics
– Horrible visuals
– Music sounds analog
– Gameplay gets redundant