The iPhone has proven itself time and time again to be the perfect platform for developers to reintroduce or reimagine old digital friends we spent hours with when we were younger.
These games have been arriving on the appstore since it’s launch, enjoyed by most and sometimes scrutinized by fanboys, but nothing can replace the sheer joy of nostalgia when you hold in your hands a game you once owned for a console that you’ve since stashed in your attic or sold.
A perfect example of excitement though nostalgia is when I first heard that Brain Dead 13 would be released for the iPhone. I made it my mission to be the person to review it. A game that I enjoyed so many hours with as a young boy was now on my favorite device of all time. Surely with such a unison of greatness, what could be wrong?
Thankfully not much!
You play Lance, a computer fix it guy who has been called to a Transylvania esq castle to help out, floating brain in a jar, Dr. Nero Neurosis’s fix his computer systems. Once done, the evil doctor orders his servant, the artillery powerhouse that is Fritz to do away with you. Cue your classic Tom and Jerry style chase storyline through a haunted and spooky castle and you have an interactive animated masterpiece. To be fair though, this game is an acquired taste, and has had a cult following over the years since it’s original release but most will agree the game has a high quality story, high quality animation and superb voice acting here, all ported to the iPhone brilliantly.
Brain Dead 13 is the exact same funny, quirky and frustratingly difficult game it always was back in 1996. Playing the same way as Space Ace and Dragon’s Lair, Brain Dead 13 essentially consists of multiple of FMV sequences stitched together as the player inputs the correct control at the correct time to continue the story. For those of you that have never played anything like this before, the best way to explain the format of this game would be to say it’s an interactive cartoon, however your interaction is limited to picking a button on the D-pad. You do not have direct control over anything in this game.
You have an infinite amount of lives in the game and an almost infinite different ways to die, some with true laugh out loud animation. Not to worry about missing any of these sequences though, chances are you will be seeing most, if not all the different ways to end up 6 feet under, or decapitated, or melted, or eaten…. the list goes on.
The control system and difficulty can also be adjusted to suit you best. Originally on the PC then game had no sort of guide system in place so most of the player input was complete chance. If you pay close attention though, there are small giveaways such as the colour in one of Lance’s eyes may change from time to time, indicating you should press that direction. In this re-released version you can adjust the options to add either audio notification if you have pressed the right key, or even flash the button you need to press. Clearly playing with the highlighted D-Pad option on you’ll storm through the game in no time so be sure to give it a try without the guide first. In a speedrun you could probably get through the game in about 45 minutes, but if you are a newcomer it will take you a great deal longer.
Brain Dead 13 lets you ride the wave of 90s video game nostalgia once more. Bringing to life original characters that will at times leave you wondering how this creation never got it’s own cartoon show. It will also leave you wanting to throw your iPhone out of the window at times through pure frustration and anger. Every action is controlled by quicktime events and the consequences play out smoothly for the majority of the game. The only big let down with the game is it’s age, and when compared to today’s gaming marketing, Brain Dead 13 has nothing new to offer.
Brain Dead 13 is out now for $2.99. Get it on the