One of the funny things about full-motion video games like Dragon’s Lair or BrainDead 13 is that they have nearly no replay value. Once you’ve played through them and watched the entire cartoon, there’s no incentive to go back and do it again. Unless, of course, you wait about a decade between each re-release.
BrainDead 13 will be a nostalgic trip for anyone who played the original on ancient CD-ROM consoles like the Playstation, Jaguar CD, 3DO, or Saturn. We played it on a PC back then, and were delighted to once again experience the cartoon gore and goofy humor that we loved in 1996.
Beautifully animated cutscenes tells the story of computer repairman Lance, who is summoned to a haunted castle by the disembodied Dr. Neurosis. Once he’s done rewiring the castle’s electronics, Dr. Neurosis sends his assistant Fritz, a deranged psycho with hooks for hands, to dispose of Lance in the most violent ways possible.
The gameplay is just as simple as the visuals are complex. You’ll receive a cue to hit up, down, left, right, or action to avoid dying, and the game is much more fun to watch than it is to play. If you miss one essential action, you’ll have to rewind a few moments, but at least you have unlimited lives to see you through.
The hat might be a little much.
BrainDead 13 is far more memorable for its characters than its gameplay. Even 15 years later, we still remember Vivi the vampire beautician and Moose the jock Frankenstein. But we also remember how irritating it can be to navigate the backyard hedge maze, fight two identical twin witches, and locate the hidden elevator that takes you to the final boss fight.
Like Dragon’s Lair, BrainDead 13 is an attractive but fairly shallow game, which decorates its pitiful quick-time event gameplay with gorgeous scenery and memorable characters. Three bucks can buy you a lot of gameplay on the App Store, or if you spring for BrainDead 13, it can buy you an hour of goofy, spooky animation.