How do we define a game like Charlie Murder? At its core lives anarchy and rebellion. It sticks two fingers up to authority with one hand and then happily shakes the other with rampant commercialism. It’s a non-stop orgy of DIY violence and hedonism. It’s a cacophony of riffing chords, murderous drum roles and the ear splitting shrieks of disaffected youth. That’s right …Charlie Murder is “Punk” to its black heart. You have been warned! But is it any good?
Charlie Murder is an RPG/Brawler hybrid from the aptly named SKA Studios. These guys have “form”. Their previous projects include Dishwasher series, which were highly stylised, snarling, ultra-violent affairs. So if you prize style and mayhem over substance… you won’t be disappointed with their latest game on Xbox Live Arcade. You take control of fallen punk rock idols, Charlie Murder, in their gory quest to beat down a rival death metal band and their horde of the undead.
You can choose any member of Charlie Murder to complete the game, each with their own distinct style and gameplay options. From eponymous, combo frantic front man Charlie; to the tank-like Neanderthal drummer, The Rexicutioner, you have a myriad of gameplay styles to choose from.
Your opponents, Gore Quaffer, are a combination of nefarious musicians and their backstage support of demonic roadies and technicians. They are led by their frontman Paul; aka Lord Mortimer. A former friend and then jilted member of Charlie Murder, Paul sold his soul to the devil to ensure the damnation of his former bandmates and the meteoric rise of Gore Quaffer.
Gameplay is reminiscent of those old coin op, side scrolling beat-em ups, but with a lot of “crazy” thrown in for good measure. The RPG element allows you to customise your characters clothes and fighting style from the various outlets you encounter along the way. Each character has their own unique special attack which again is customisable depending on the artefacts or even tattoos you acquire. On the face of it you feel that you have an element of control … but in practice we didn’t feel these enhancements made a huge amount of difference. At the core of the gameplay is a simple “button mash” of chaos. The only real skill required is choosing the right time to unleash your special attack.