This game was made for me, wrapped like a present under the Christmas tree with a golden ribbon tied in a neat bow. Why do I say that? Because it has two things I love in one package: fighting demons and heavy metal!
I actually finished this game on Jack Black’s birthday which was quite a coincidence! It was recommended to me by a good friend who believed I would love it due to the presence of all the metal music in the game and characters who looked like metal legends and were actually voiced by them too! Adding Jack Black as the voice of the game’s protagonist was like the gold ribbon to finish wrapping up the presentation of this game to me.
Eddie Riggs is transported back in time by the spirit of Ormagöden to the age of metal after a fatal accident while he is doing roadie duty to the worst metal band ever.
Upon arriving in this new world, he discovers it is overrun with demons and those who serve their leader Emperor Doviculus and teams up with the rebels consisting of Lars Halford, his sister Lita, and Ophelia whom he takes a romantic interest in at first sight.
The game begins with Eddie helping Lars and the others defeat General Lionwhyte who has been enslaving the people of Bladehenge, but a deeper plot unfolds as I progressed further and realized that Lionwhyte was just a puppet. Part of me already knew that when I did catch glimpse of Doviculus in the prologue.
Where do I begin with gameplay, it’s all over the place, really. But that doesn’t mean that it’s disorganized.
The game mixes hack and slash combat with real-time strategy once you get to the quest to rescue the first recruits for your rebellion. Commanding them starts off simple but became more complex after I gathered more for Ironheade. Then stage battles are introduced. Building merch booths to spend the currency, which are fans, on more troops and upgrades for them is essential. For instance, in Lionwhyte’s stage battle, I had to learn how to only send the roadies forward carrying the amps to destroy these towers to win.
Guitar solos are also important because they can annihilate enemies if you’re overwhelmed or give your army an advantage. One solo I found later in the game really helped in the last two stage battles. To perform them successfully, you have to hit the buttons at the right time.
Combat aside, Brütal Legend is also an open-world game and you can drive around in your Deuce to your heart’s content while metal plays. Hell, it’s always playing in this game! This soundtrack is full of some great classics I love and I have discovered something new as well.
My only complaint about exploration is there is no HUD to indicate if you’re close to finding something like a bound serpent. Your only indication is what you set your destination to such as a main or side quest, or the nearest motor forge. So I had to rely on remembering visual icons in the environment to find my way once the map expanded beyond Bladehenge. I’m also not the most excellent driver in this game, so sometimes when I have to drive through tight quarters, the steering requires a lot more focus.
But it was nice to visit the Guardian of Metal to buy new upgrades with my Fire Tributes. He is voiced by Ozzy Osbourne himself and looks like him too! It also made me laugh at the game’s prologue when it asked me if I wanted to hear the strong language and see gore and…. DECAPITATIOOONNNN!!
Oh yeah, characters. I liked Eddie immediately; he made me laugh and Jack Black was the perfect option to voice him! He’s funny, flirty at times, and shows a lot of devotion to his cause and his love for music. But his instincts as a roadie often make him stay out of the spotlight and go along with having to support someone else. I learned later on that his father had been to the Brutal Land before him and let’s just say Eddie came to finish what the former started.
Ophelia, as I said, becomes a love interest right away for Eddie. Although she seems part of the rebellion, her family’s involvement in the Black Tear Rebellion and her knowledge of Eddie’s parents causes Lita to question her loyalty. She doesn’t have the best way of dealing with heartbreak, but at least by the end of the game, she is innocent. I also like her determination to free the women in the beginning. If Eddie hadn’t found the Separator first, would she have been the leader?
Lars and Lita are an interesting bunch. Lars is like the pretty boy of the group who is easily seen as a leader while Lita is more headstrong and easily distrusts others. She’s also a good hunter too which proves useful later on in the jungles before meeting the Zaulia. I thought Mangus was a funny guy who gets a little paranoid and the Kill Master who is voiced by the late Lemmy himself, and looks like him too, was a classic. I remember talking to him before stage battles and he’d be relaxing on his bike or doing donuts with it. If Eddie asked him about the Titans or Black Tear Rebellion, he would just say he was drinking too much back then to remember!
Some great parts in this game are scattered across the world, I enjoyed the first stage battles and recruiting the Razor Girls. Then escaping the crumbling Pleasure Dome with DragonForce’s Through the Fire and the Flames. I remember crashing my hot rod through Lionwhyte’s bedchamber too! Like I said, sometimes driving in this game can be challenging depending on the circumstances, but if I’ve got a great power metal song playing, it motivates me to keep trying! Meeting Lemmy the Kill Master was also a highlight in Bladehenge because I didn’t know anything about Lemmy as a person, but playing this game made me want to learn more about what he was like.
I also enjoyed my encounter with the Zaulia tribe. Their leader Rima is voiced by Lita Ford and the first thing I noticed about them was that their makeup closely resembled KISS. From there, Eddie learned more about his father’s role in the legends. That is also why I liked finding those artifacts throughout the world as they provided a lot of backstory about the brutal land, the Black Tear Rebellion and the Titans. The Zaulia actually remind me of the Amazons from DC, except their outfits are a lot more revealing and they choose to live in the jungle rather than construct their own homes.
Speaking of which, I didn’t enjoy fighting the Drowning Doom in this game with those brides bringing storms everywhere and the second last stage battle, that was where I really had to make use of my solos to maintain advantage until I could reach the opposing stage.
Before I forget, the mission with the Screaming Wall with the Roadies was also great too as it led to Eddie and Ophelia’s relationship blooming. I always knew she felt the same way about him, but I was still suspecting she actually did like Lars, but then Eddie grabbed the bull by the horns.
Oh, how could I forget about side quests? Most of them are the same, but one fun little quest was when I found a cave where a family of bats had been driven out of their home by some monsters. The Dadbat is also voiced by Ozzy and has hair like the latter’s earlier years. Those bats sure were grateful for the deed that I even got a kiss from the mother. Awww, anything I can do to keep someone’s home clean, am I right?
So, time to talk about Doviculus. He’s a power-hungry demon of the Tainted Coil who previously served Succoria until she travelled to the future and he took this opportunity to seize the throne for himself, becoming Emperor. He’s very charismatic and manipulative, not to mention, voiced by Tim Curry who really makes the villain shine through as one who means business. He also pretended to mourn Succoria when she never returned, and it didn’t take long for him to realize that Eddie was actually the son of the latter.
What are his motives? Well there isn’t much to it, he just wants to rule the demons and the Brutal land himself and enslave the people. I didn’t have too much trouble with his stage battle, hell I had Rob Zombie’s Superbeast song to motivate me! I almost couldn’t concentrate as it played! Doviculus also seemed to enjoy laughing a lot during that fight as I tried to figure out how to whittle his forces down and take out the heads of the temple. His final boss fight wasn’t too hard either. Good villain with a simple motive but a memorable one in my books.
So what do I think? Well, how can I NOT love this game? It isn’t perfect…. well actually its soundtrack and voice-acting is! Gameplay and story, are pretty great. If you’re a Metalhead and love video games, then this is a game for you!