Charlie Murder is the latest release from Ska Studios, creators of a wide variety of zombie-related games like I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1. Now they bring another zombie centric game to the Xbox Live Arcade. The game features side scrolling beat-em-up gameplay that seems to take lots of elements from other games in the genre, while still having plenty of its own to make it a unique experience. There aren’t too many games where you can use a large loaf of bread to beat down enemies, but Charlie Murder gives you this opportunity and more.
Is this latest Xbox 360 release worth the time to play or is it dead on arrival? Keep reading to find out as we go through the best and worst qualities of Charlie Murder.
Variety of Weapons
When it comes to the weapons in Charlie Murder, there is no lack of choices or randomness. There are of course the staples of a beat-em-up like pipes and knifes that you can pick up and use to fight, but this game doesn’t stop there. In Charlie Murder, you can pick up and use the heads of enemies you previously dismembered, the aforementioned loaf of bread, hand guns machine guns, medieval axes, witches’ brooms and so much more. Some of the weapons bring of a level of comedy to what is an otherwise non-comedic game. In some ways the variety of random weapons reminds me of another zombie-related franchise such as Dead Rising. On top of the physical weapons you can pick up, you also have magical attacks, such as a Black Canary like scream at your disposal based on the characters that you pick.
RPG Style System
Charlie Murder allows you to pick from five different classes at the start of the game including: Berserker, Tank, Mesmer, Mage, and Shaman. Each character class gives you a different experience as you play through the side scroller. It also features a level up system, unlike a majority of games in this genre, but it’s not to say it was the first. As you fight you will eventually level up where you get to raise your attack, speed, defense, and anar-chi (magic) stats. There are also trees of moves you can learn as you continue through the game at each level.
Another RPG-esque aspect of the game is the use of clothing and items to upgrade your character. As with the weapon selection, there is a wide variety of clothing and accessories that you can equip on your character, including simple items like hoodies and white t-shirts, as well as more unique items like a Leatherface mask and light hobo gloves. These items can be found from the defeat of enemies or destruction of in-game property, as well as from stores using the money you collect during the game. You also collect items throughout that you can brew to make them stronger and usable by the player, which is essentially Charlie Murder’s version of alchemy.
Music Fits the Style of the Game
With the protagonist being in a punk-rock band, it is extremely fitting that one of the game’s standout features is the soundtrack. It is a good mix of punk-rock music that doesn’t get repetitive like that of many other games. With a very dark atmosphere throughout the game, the music never really seems to take away from the experience even if it is loud at times due to the nature of the style. The music also goes very well with what are essentially cutscenes that show up sporadically during play. The backstory segments are spread out enough to not disrupt the flow of the game, and often include playable musical segments that feature very simple Rock Band Blitz type gameplay. It’s a nice change of pace at times that allows you to really get a chance to appreciate the in-game music.