I don't even know anymore. I don't know where to begin. Sometimes I have to wonder why we spend so much time writing about polished, big-budget games where there are games like BRUCEfilm's Stay Dead out there.
Here we have an iPad fighting game that uses real actors to stage ploddingly choreographed, cheesy fight sequences while players quickly match button-presses in some kind of quicktime event frenzy. The appeal of the game is that it's all full-motion video — there are real actors participating in the fights and responding to your actions. It's like the future! Of the past.
It's like the combat in Heavy Rain if Heavy Rain had been made in the early 1990's for $US15. Stay Dead is… not a good video game. Hmm... maybe that's why we don't write about these kinds of games more. It's not that responsive, the moves are extremely limited, there's no element of strategy or thought. And yet, it is a hilarious game that gets by on kitchiness alone.
As you make your way through the fighters, your pseudo-mulleted generoballs protagonist will go up against such foes as
- A sweaty street ninja
- A big black guy who fights in a black and white junkyard
- A scarfaced Nazi SS general who fights with a stick
As you fight, the game prompts you to hit different buttons in time with its prompts. It's all pretty random, and has no real rhythm to it — if you miss a press, you'll go on the defensive and have to press other buttons to keep up.
Despite the fact that it's not all that fun to play, I found that I still liked trying to match the presses and get a high score (The scoring system is humorously overwrought and complicated for such a simple game). I didn't care that Stay Dead isn't as "good" as most other games — I still wanted to show my cheesy enemies what time it was, and I wanted to unlock other cheesy enemies.
Games like Stay Dead are the reason that iOS is such a great gaming platform. It costs three bucks and you can take it with you to a party, where it will be worth it just for dumb entertainment value. It's an uncommon game that lets me slap an SS officer around with a stick, after all.
Stay Dead [$2.99, App Store]