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

Brutal Legend keeps unveiling more and more gameplay variety – 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’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’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’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’ 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’t stop counting. After you’ve killed a giant worm thing, you’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’s RTS elements start to emerge. You give the headbangers a reason to live and convert them to your cause – convincing them to rebel against their captor, the glam-tacular General Lionwhyte – by introducing them to metal music. Headbangers are actually the grunts in your army. Once they’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’ tenacious attitudes make them formidable fighters anyway. You can also call them to regroup around you if you find yourself overmatched by LionWhyte’s troops. 

Once the men are on your side, you spring the very sexy ladies from LionWhyte’s clutches as well. They then become your long-range artillery, dragging around massive portable ballistae whose bolts they can light on fire – all metal chicks carry lighters, you know. Later, you recruit Brutal Legend’s bizarre-yet-rocking answer to Florence Nightingale: Motorhead’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’ll often find yourself battling for control over strange craters that spew forth the spirits of passed metalheads – if you build a merchandise booth at that spot, the ghost geyser’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’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’s command at once, each of which could be given separate directions). You give them orders when the sparks start to fly. And – after a pivotal cut scene in which your eyes go yellow, your skin turns red and you sprout leathery demon wings – you can even survey the action from the air. Just be sure to swoop down into the fray anywhere it looks like you’re needed. After all, this is still an action adventure at heart, and sitting on the sidelines when there’s a mosh pit happening is decidedly not metal.

All in all, this adds a couple more album covers to Brutal Legend’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’s not exactly trying to be the next Command & Conquer, but we have to admit this level of strategic complexity and scale caught us by surprise. There’s no way we’re settling for less than a front row seat when Brutal Legend hits in Rocktober.

May 19, 2009

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21 comments

  • jman314 - June 5, 2009 5:04 p.m.

    I think everything about this game looks amazing, I Love the art style, and the voice talent seems awesome, plus the soundtracks gonna be wicked
  • Thailer - May 28, 2009 3:37 a.m.

    Is it just me, or does Lionwhite look a lot like David Bowie?? eh? EH?
  • NanoElite666 - May 24, 2009 5:59 a.m.

    I've been waiting for this game ever since Game Informer ran a cover story on it some time ago. Is it freakin' October yet??
  • HMXsean - May 22, 2009 7 p.m.

    This game just gets better and better. I hope they have some God-Like guitarist in there that is reminiscent of Randy Rhoads.
  • FingeredPope - May 21, 2009 5:13 a.m.

    This game is going to be totally brutal.
  • drprofessor - May 21, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    I absolutely can't wait for this game. Looks incredible. Especially the small winged blue baby things. Tim is the man.
  • jamminontha1n2 - May 21, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    What is going to be the next gameplay mechanic that Tim unveils? I hope its being a pet veterinarian.
  • vitoruss - May 20, 2009 12:32 a.m.

    Looks amazing. I wanted to make this game for so long and now someone else is doing it! :D And Rob Halford has a character in it. How cool is that? first.
  • jman314 - June 5, 2009 5:07 p.m.

    Also...those headbanging things are SWEEET and they make me laugh every time i see them
  • IslanderSwagg - May 28, 2009 1:42 p.m.

    even tho theres all these great rockstars, nobody mentioned Jack Black, the main character. He's hilarious and will bring great fun to this game
  • speno93 - May 28, 2009 7:08 a.m.

    Sweet! i hope they have some cool tunes in there, those to really make the blood boil, looks great!
  • RedOutlive10 - May 27, 2009 3:13 a.m.

    Tim Schafer is the guy who worked at Grim Fandango and Psychonauts development, plus a dozen of good games eh? This game just got more interesting to me.
  • ChrisCom66 - May 27, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    Awesome. i love videogames and heavy metal
  • bmrskate - May 24, 2009 4:30 a.m.

    What an exciting video game for the promotion and honoring of the most quality rock and metal acts. References like Judas Priest, Motorhead, Dio, Black Sabbath, and other high caliber acts are getting a solid appreciation on this game. And Tim Schafer is at the reins?? I smell a platinum hit! Can't wait to play it.
  • yoyoguy - May 24, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    i am going to buy this game on the day its released. i love metal and this and GH:M are so awsome
  • Demonflare - May 22, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    Wtf...were r the hot chicks and thats all from this article...LAME!
  • Corsair89 - May 21, 2009 10:51 p.m.

    Hell, yeah! can't wait for this
  • GamesRadarJoeMcNeilly - May 21, 2009 8:52 p.m.

    I suspect that a lot of people who would normally steer clear of anything remotely smelling of RTS are going to give this one a chance.
  • iKOemos - May 21, 2009 8:15 a.m.

    METAL! It comes from hell! This game is gonna kick pop punk arse.
  • Amnesiac - May 20, 2009 3:30 a.m.

    And General Lionwhyte is voiced by Rob Halford. God, I can't wait for this game.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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