Killer is Dead Preview
Goichi Suda (aka Suda 51) is one of those guys who loves what he does. That much is obvious in his productions, which are always dripping with over-the-top creativity and unbridled attitude. Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw are examples of games that score high on various artistic scales, and it’s that unique sense of quasi-tongue-in-cheek insanity that we expect to see in Kadokawa’s latest, Killer is Dead. If you think the title is cool, wait ‘til you see the name of the main character.
It’s Mondo Zappa and frankly, it might be the awesomest name in the history of video games. We’ll be playing in the near future, which is all sorts of slick and stylish, as you might expect. Zappa is a new special agent who must locate and assassinate various dangerous targets around the globe. This protagonist is formidable, as he sports a mechanical left arm that can change into a drill, blade or gun. Defeating enemies also fills a blood gauge and once it’s full, you can use the Adrenaline Burst special skills, which are guaranteed to wreak much havoc. By the way, killing enemies in ultra-brutal fashion (i.e., decapitation) fills your meter faster.
Then there are other key players in this crazy drama, including Mondo’s boss, Vivian Squall, and Mondo’s assistant, Mika Takekawa. The latter appears to be a love interest as well, as Zappa and Takekawa live together; currently, we don’t know if there’s any romance in the storyline but if there is, you can expect it to be as highly stylized as the rest of this high-octane adventure. Lastly, there’s the character named Victor, a criminal who somehow utilizes music to gain control over human emotions. He can even transform into a robot of some kind, which sorta reminds me of a few key foes found in the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Plot-wise, this is not a direct sequel to Killer7, but Suda51 has said the game picks up where Killer7 and No More Heroes left off. In other words, the gameplay should be relatively similar to those two games, but the legendary designer doesn’t believe this is about “regression.” He has also described the action in his new endeavor as “high-speed wrestling-like action,” which brings all sorts of wacky images to mind. Obviously, the title means that Mondo Zappa is a killer of killers and hence, there’s going to be copious amounts of blood and gore. Another part of this theme reminds me of “Kill Bill," although I may be alone in that.
But anyway, Suda51 says they’re putting a fair emphasis on the story and characters, so it won’t be all about explicit violence. In speaking about the main character, the developer said he “doesn’t show himself much in the public world, but still worms his way into society and mercilessly eliminates the evil dispersed in it.” Personally, I think most all of Suda51’s works have been under-appreciated in the past, so I’m hoping Killer is Dead gets more attention and widespread praise. The game is slated to arrive towards the end of August. This one should be fuuuuuun.
3/11/2013 Ben Dutka