Brutal Legend reveals RTS war, hot chicks, demon wings and Lemmy from Motorhead

Is this the most metal game ever?

Brutal Legend keeps unveiling more and more gameplay variety %26ndash; first it was hacking, slashing, and guitar playing microgames. Then came an open world and driving. And now? Creator Tim Schafer pulls back the curtain on real-time strategy elements. But ironically, the more depth and variety that gets revealed, the easier it becomes to summarize the game in a single sentence. Brutal Legend is every heavy metal album cover ever created, mixed together and made into a third-person action adventure game.

You%26rsquo;ll get black leather, spiked wristbands, and mountains of hair in the opening cinematic. You want to add a barbaric warrior cleaving demons apart with a battle axe? That%26rsquo;s you, sunshine, because you just got teleported into an alternate world ruled by metal. What about someone shredding so hard on guitar that his enemies get struck by lightning or burst into flame? Also you. In case you hadn%26rsquo;t noticed, you pretty much rock.

Within five minutes, you meet Ophelia, the first in a bevy of scorchingly sexy metal babes, and in another five minutes you find yourself hell-riding in a bitchin%26rsquo; hot rod you built yourself, complete with an eight-ball gearshift and flames erupting from its chrome pipes. How many album covers are we up to now? Well, don%26rsquo;t stop counting. After you%26rsquo;ve killed a giant worm thing, you%26rsquo;re roaring through an open world filled with monolithic sword statues, steel-spiked porcupines, and your next mission: to rescue an army of aimless young headbangers from slavery.

This second mission is where the game%26rsquo;s RTS elements start to emerge. You give the headbangers a reason to live and convert them to your cause %26ndash; convincing them to rebel against their captor, the glam-tacular General Lionwhyte %26ndash; by introducing them to metal music. Headbangers are actually the grunts in your army. Once they%26rsquo;re under your control, you can tell squads of them to attack or defend specific locations, like the supports for a platform suspended over lava, or to just thump away at selected enemies. Their only weapons are their own thick skulls, but these bone bludgeons and the headbangers%26rsquo; tenacious attitudes make them formidable fighters anyway. You can also call them to regroup around you if you find yourself overmatched by LionWhyte%26rsquo;s troops.

Once the men are on your side, you spring the very sexy ladies from LionWhyte%26rsquo;s clutches as well. They then become your long-range artillery, dragging around massive portable ballistae whose bolts they can light on fire %26ndash; all metal chicks carry lighters, you know. Later, you recruit Brutal Legend%26rsquo;s bizarre-yet-rocking answer to Florence Nightingale: Motorhead%26rsquo;s Lemmy Kilmister, roaring around on a chopper named the Thunderhog and playing bass so well it mends wounds.

Your home base in the RTS battles is a concert stage, and you%26rsquo;ll often find yourself battling for control over strange craters that spew forth the spirits of passed metalheads %26ndash; if you build a merchandise booth at that spot, the ghost geyser%26rsquo;s energy will be channeled to your forces. But the enemy has a need for their power too, and there are evil leeches that will suck away the spirit energy.

Then there%26rsquo;s you, orchestrating it all and getting your hands bloody at the same time. You choose which forces to send into battle (we saw at least three battalions under the player%26rsquo;s command at once, each of which could be given separate directions). You give them orders when the sparks start to fly. And %26ndash; after a pivotal cut scene in which your eyes go yellow, your skin turns red and you sprout leathery demon wings %26ndash; you can even survey the action from the air. Just be sure to swoop down into the fray anywhere it looks like you%26rsquo;re needed. After all, this is still an action adventure at heart, and sitting on the sidelines when there%26rsquo;s a mosh pit happening is decidedly not metal.

All in all, this adds a couple more album covers to Brutal Legend%26rsquo;s growing portfolio (Demon form? Got it. Fantasy war including spirits and monsters? Check. Lemmy? Oh, yeah.) and makes us more and more eager to fire it up. It%26rsquo;s not exactly trying to be the next Command %26amp; Conquer, but we have to admit this level of strategic complexity and scale caught us by surprise. There%26rsquo;s no way we%26rsquo;re settling for less than a front row seat when Brutal Legend hits in Rocktober.

May 19, 2009

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
We recommend