Metal Dead

Posted by Liz Zivney.
First posted on 07 December 2013. Last updated on 07 December 2013.
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Metal Dead
Zombies have taken over the neighborhood.
Metal Dead
Malcolm must save the world from the zombies.
Metal Dead
Malcolm rides the elevator up the building infested by zombies.
Metal Dead
There is no shortage of blood and guts.
Metal Dead
Frozen bodies are littered inside the infested building.

Bundle In A Box

Metal Dead is part of the Bundle In A Box released in May 2012 by Kyttaro Games. The bundle includes 6 additional games: 1893: A World's Fair Mystery, Ben There, Dan That!, Gemini Rue, The Sea Will Claim Everything, The Shivah, and Time Gentlemen, Please!. Unlockable extras for the bundle include a booklet for Metal Dead and soundtracks for Gemini Rue and The Shivah.

Metal Dead is an interesting mix of adventure, puzzle, humor and horror. It is an ingenious little game developed and published by Walk Thru Walls Studios, an indie game development company cofounded by Liam O'Sullivan and Robert Wriedt. The graphics in this game are cartoonish but with a definite attitude. Even the cursor used in the game is a hand that is flashing the heavy metal sign. Of course, this attitude does not end there. Metal Dead is also a zombie apocalypse gore fest that features lots of cartoon blood, tongue-in-cheek comedy, and heavy metal potheads thrown in to round it all out.

The game's main protagonists are a couple of metal-heads named Malcolm and Ronnie. The game starts out as they are driving through a city some time after the undead apocalypse. This opening scene loops on and on until the correct action is taken by you (the player), after which the game begins in earnest. There is no voiceover, thus there is a lot of dialog to be read. However, the witty dialog serves well to move the game along and provides quite a bit of comic relief. There is a help manual accessible from the lower right corner of the screen which explains the game controls, inventory, menu, and mouse action. By moving the cursor to the top of the screen, the system menu appears where the inventory is also located. Built using the AGS (Adventure Game Studio) engine, the creators have done a great job of fitting the game engine to realize their creative ideas and knowledge.

As the story progresses, poor Malcolm is tasked with trying to stop the undead apocalypse with only his own skills and the help of his friend Ronnie (who at this point is in an altered state). Malcolm finds himself inside a huge building owned by a company called MediGenTech, apparently known for its unscrupulous business practices. He meets several other characters who are also trying to fight off the zombie horde and realizes that he must take matters into his own hands to save himself and the others. There are numerous puzzles in this game, where Malcolm is kept very busy taking all sorts of action. Many solutions are intuitive, though some puzzles require a little thinking outside the box. After all, this is a zombie game!

Throughout the game, Malcolm will need to visit several floors of the MediGenTech building using an elevator of questionable safety. The characters, both the living and the undead, whom Malcolm interacts with are a trifle eccentric. Yet, when adding up all of these elements, they make for a very unique experience and are what makes the game work so well. They just seem to melt together into a strange and surreal whole.

The game uses a point-and-click interface. You right click to cycle through the options to talk, walk, look, and use. This is reminiscent of the old graphic adventure games of yore, but it can be frustrating at times if you click and miss what you actually want to land on. The game features an abundance of dialog and interaction with other characters. Sometimes, Malcolm will have to combine different inventory objects to solve puzzles. Music plays most of the time in the background. Sound effects are wonderful—or gross, depending on your view. There is some adult language and definite adult themes in the game. Cartoon blood abounds—but, I repeat, it is a flesh eating, zombie delight! I must not forget to mention that the game also deals with metal-heads and stoners, which is very humorous and pokes fun at all things metal, dude!

The game offers several hours of play, though the dialog alone tells a story that is almost a novel in length. It is obvious that the developer has put a lot of work into the production. The graphics are a bit simplistic, but they bring a certain charm to the experience. Most of the game is spent exploring the building that the zombies have taken hostage and interacting with the humans who are trapped inside. Malcolm spends much time going from floor to floor in the high-rise building, starting from the basement and working his way through different floors that include the cafeteria, the lobby, the nurse's station, the security room, and the meeting rooms as well as the morgue, the hydroponics, and even the cryogenics labs.

Metal Dead is a fun and very original game. It is definitely geared for a certain target audience, but most gamers will find it humorous and bizarrely engaging. Even in a zombie world, you will find yourself rooting for humans to survive and triumph. After all, the zombies must be defeated at all cost! Will you succeed? You may be surprised at the outcome. In some twisted ways, Metal Dead almost feels like an undead and heavy metal homage to the past Sierra games. For a small indie developer, Walk Thru Walls Studios has surely demonstrated some fairly sophisticated intelligence and a lot of creativity, besides some good old-fashioned fun and tons of silliness.

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