Review by MartinIIIa
"Poor design makes this QTE game an exercise in tedious trial-and-error"
Unlike the Saturn and Jaguar CD versions, which use compressed video to fit the game on one disc, the 3DO version of Brain Dead 13 comes on two discs for much better video quality.
Sadly, the gameplay in this FMV-driven Quick Time Event game is essentially the same as in every version. Similarly to Dragon's Lair, you must press the right button at certain points to advance the animated Full Motion Video, though unlike Dragon's Lair there are a few points where you can choose your path or course of action, allowing for non-linear exploration of the castle of horrors your character is trapped in. I'm one of the few who gamers thinks a setup like this has potential, but the execution is inescapably poor.
You have unlimited continues and can save about every 15 seconds, so there's no frustration factor at all, but the trial-and-error gaming involved in the vast majority of the sequences feels like a waste of time. A good example is a sequence where a vampiress holds player character Lance's hand down on a table and repeatedly brings down a cleaver to chop it off. When you press the correct button, Lance moves his hand in that direction (and out of the way of the cleaver), but his hand is always in the same position when you have to press the button, so you have no way of knowing which button to push except by repeating the sequence until you guess right.
Even when there is a logical button to push, it's often not the correct one. For instance, in the battle with Moose, you dodge vertical rods by pressing Up and Down. There are a few parts where you can deduce which of the five buttons you need to push, and the non-linear exploration of the mansion is a cool idea, but it's all buried under an endless, mindless chain of trial-and-error sequences. Ultimately, advancing in the game brings no sense of accomplishment, because all you're doing is guessing until you get it right. A monkey could beat this game - in fact, on average a monkey would beat this game almost as quickly as a veteran gamer. I'm very open-minded about QTEs, but they need far more intelligent design than this to be enjoyable gaming.
The video in Brain Dead 13 is mostly fun to watch, and resembles a kids cartoon with over-the-top violence used for comedic effect and some hilarious animations. However, while the death animations are all obviously meant to be funny, a few are just ghastly and/or nauseating. Besides, whatever the quality of the video footage, the gameplay's no fun, so why play this when you can watch a good movie instead?
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/23/12
Game Release: Brain Dead 13 (US, 12/31/96)
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