REVIEW: Braindead 13

NOTE: Just for fun, the Japanese box art is shown, but Braindead 13 came out in America (and is American).

Braindead 13 is an interactive cartoon (ala Dragons Lair) released on about every system (including CD-i, 3DO, and Jaguar), and another “game” that tries the definition of the word. While the premise is fun (sassy repairman escaping monster-filled mansion) and the animation is plentiful, the play is trail and error tedium. With infinite lives, prepare for 1001 deaths.

Wandering the mansions halls, you find rooms housing killer villians. In these encounters, you watch the animation for cues to interact. The cues are not obvious. There is never a “press A button” message. Instead, a monster might swing an axe, and you would instinctually press “down” to duck. Unfortunately, the cues aren’t nearly that logical and the timing is inconsistent. The only technique is to cycle through the buttons, listening for the chime that signifies the correct input. Considering encounters require 5 or 6 actions in row, this is frustrating.

And you are given no direction. Certain rooms must be beaten to access the final room, but there are no indications of which or why. Every room involves escaping a monster, so why are some rooms necessary for progression and others aren’t? Even worse, there are many rooms and you replay the encounters each time you pass through.

Still, Braindead 13 is unique and cool. The animation is top notch, and the mansion and monsters are charming. It’s apparent that effort was put into the style and animation. That’s why it’s tragic the game is so annoying. You might power through to see all the wackiness, but like most FMV games, Braindead 13 is an interesting curiosity at best.


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