It can get nasty when a rock band breaks up, take for example, the animosity between Lennon and McCartney and the bitter relationship between the Gallagher brothers. But at least when things imploded it didn't go so far as someone doing a deal with the devil (no, I don't mean Simon Cowel!) but that's what happens in this tale of a punk rock band.
Charlie Murder is an up and coming six piece rock band. Things go swimmingly until Charlie decides that his six man band should be a five man band. So Charlie's friend Paul is pushed out of the band. Does Paul take this lying down? Does he heck! He forms his own band The Gore Quaffers but that's not enough.
Paul does a deal with the devil and arranges an accident to wipe out Charlie. But it seems that an 'accident' isn't enough.
At the start of the game, whoever you select to play as is seen lying on a street, being revived by a paramedic, but that's just the start of your troubles. Upon being revived you soon find yourself combatting zombies, witches, and some murderous scum who may well have escaped from a lunatic asylum. The ultimate battle of the bands is on, who cares if the world may well go boom as a result...
But there is more to this tale than meets the eye. As the story unfolds it seems that Charlie isn't whiter than white, and Paul isn't quite the villain as he may appear. It sounds a little complicated but it's best not to worry about that, just get out there to deal punishment to the hordes of enemies coming your way. If you want a small hint as to what may be one of the main bones of contention in Charlie's band there's a female guitarist, and let's just say that some times one add one may equal three....
You can play the game as any one of the five members of Charlie's band. Each have their own character class and abilities, and special attacks. Unlike other RPG games, they are not restricted to specific weapon types, which is good news as there are a lot of weapons at your disposal.
Clubs, guns, chainsaws, and even the arms of creatures that you have ripped off their bodies! Combat is indeed brutal and has all the subtlety of an Alice Cooper concert!
It plays like the old classic Streets of Rage, a sideways scrolling beat them up and it's easy to see the inspiration provided by that title in this game. But Streets didn't allow you to hot key special attacks to the control pad and cut loose with multiple ways of dealing punishment.
As stated all band members have their own class and powers, I won't divulge them all (remember no spoilers!) but I will take a look at a couple of them here.
Charlie himself is classed, rather oddly as it may seem, as a Siren. Surely a Siren should be female right? Well not in this case. Charlie can emit a devastating scream attack that can stun, shock and even cause enemies to burst into flame.
Another band member is a shaman, who has one of the best powers in the game. He can take a decapitated head and turn it into a totem pole that sends out healing energy. The good news is that this can be stacked. Very useful in multiplayer as it will heal all team members.
Tank is like the name says. A slow, moving lumbering man who can deal and take quite a pounding. His powers are literally earth shaking, and as the band's drummer, I think you can work out how the attacks are dealt.
The last two I will leave for you to discover for yourselves.
There are also mini games to interrupt the carnage. One is a rhythm game like Rock Band, which involves you inputting button presses as they scroll across the screen. Match the rhythm to score higher and earn a bonus.
The other mode involves you actually battling your team mates in a boxing ring, but this can only be done in multiplayer.
Oh yes, multiplayer, up to four of you can play, either on line or in the comfort of your living room. This means having to have two friends on line to supplement you and your friend in the living room.
Online play is a tad problematical though. I encountered lag and frame rate stutter, that is when I could find someone online to play with. Lobbies seem very quiet indeed, it's a shame as multiplayer is perhaps the most fun that can be had with this game. Not that the single player isn't fun, but it's more engaging in multiplayer, at least that's what I thought.
It's not to bad, a frantic up tempo, guitar riff accompanies action scenes and boss fights.
In other places it has to be said, it lacks impact and is 'just there' in the background and doesn't really register.
It has a 'hand drawn' style of presentation as you can see by the screenshots. It reminds me of the kind of game you would find on community sites like New Grounds, that gave us the Alien Hominid game that was popular some time ago.
The game isn't the longest game in the world, it takes about 10 hours or so to get from start to finish, and it's a mixed package. Part of me wanted to like it more and then strangely part of me wanted me to dislike it more. I suppose I could say that this game is a 'Marmite' game, you will either like this or not.
There are times when it frustrated and times when it made me think you know this is quite cool. It does not rate as one of the best games I have ever played but it's not the worst either. True I have to play it when I am in the mood to do so, but I DO want to play through with all the characters.
It's here that I should mention perhaps, that you can also augment characters with tattoos, clothing and even pets. So there's the added attraction of experimenting with armor and clothing combos. There's the skills that you unlock as you level up (access the menu via your mobile phone, this also alerts you to status changes during the game. Access by pressing down on the d-pad) and the bar codes that enable you to get free additional items, scan these through your mobile to unlock things like caps, shirts, or free tattoos.
Each of these can boost your power, add to your armor and grant you the power to lay the smackdown on the bad guys to your heart's content.
It's a good old fashioned button masher, so if you are looking for a more brain stretching game, look elsewhere.
It's fun, sometimes amusing, and at times frustrating, and on the whole playable solo.
Again though, it's in multiplayer that the most fun can be had. So get some friends and join in with the ultimate battle of the bands....