Game Review: Rock Of The Dead

After seeing trailers and gameplay at E3 this year, I was really excited for Rock of the Dead. It's a rails shooter with a twist. Instead of a gun, players use plastic instruments to fight monsters. Each monster has a set of notes over their heads that when played defeats them. Larger monsters will pop up with a highway of notes more akin to a classic music game like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The better you play, the more damage is done. Bosses and mini bosses have a combination of highway and random note patterns, depending on if you need to attack or block.

The game starts out with a kid performing for his grandpa in a cemetery when a meteor shower hits. These aren't your ordinary meteors though! They're everywhere and they seem to be bringing the dead back to life, both humans and animals alike. The kid soon realizes that playing his guitar (or drums) makes the zombies explode and sets off to save the day.

The music is probably my favorite part of the game and it fits the game well. It features heavy metal versions of classical music as well as some hard rock favorites. However, unless you're fighting one of the larger monsters, the music seems to have no correlation to what notes are played. This makes it a little difficult to focus on the correct notes.

Also adding to the difficulty of getting notes right, there were times when I was attacking one zombie and I'd hit a wrong note. Suddenly I had to switch to a different zombie and finish it off before I could start over on the first zombie as the game assumed I was fighting the second one instead. On the other hand, the drums were a little easier. If you are fast enough on all the small monsters you can just hit every drum pad as fast as you can. This will basically kill everything very very fast. When dealing with the highway, you still need to hit them in a certain order, but extra hits on the drum pads will not hurt you.

The game does feature two-person multiplayer, which one would think should help. Unfortunately, there appears to be a number of bugs with this. Probably the most prominent came up when fighting the larger monsters with highways. When playing with a second person, the guitar is no longer detected properly. The game seems to need to be recalibrated. Other problems encountered were minor in comparison. The notes over the zombies are color coded for each player, so as to not get confused on who's attacking which monster. However, that didn't stop the guitar from being able to play the drum notes and vice versa. This caused for more confusion when wrong notes were hit.

Overall, Rock of the Dead was rather disappointing. It did have some good points, though. Which is why I have to give the game a “Rent It.” As long as you stick with single player, the game is worth at least trying, even if it's for nothing else than the humorous storyline.
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