Charlie Murder Review (XBLA)
By: Master Blud
Well, it’s been a while since I have written anything. Nowadays, it takes something very awesome to have me even consider writing anything up. Whether it be something I think is the bees knees, or something I might be a fan of. Myself, I love anything that Ska Studios makes. I have every Xbox Indie Title Ska Studios has ever made. I now have memorabilia from most of the Ska-Merch. Ok, enough about how much I love Ska Studios. I do however have to be completely honest in my review and try to be as fair as possible.
Ok, so you know the whole Charlie Murder thing right? The whole make believe band thing that happened a few years ago as part of a Ska Studios PR Stunt? …………There I go again, talking about Ska Studios…….Sh*t!
Well, let’s put it like this. The story is simple. Charlie Murder is an Anarchist Ska/Punk Band, destined to save the world from their rival band, or destroy the world (You Choose). Can’t give away too much detail. As I write this sentence, I haven’t played the entire game. The game has secret areas among the rubble walls. Some Indie Game and character references here and there (For those who really pay attention to it) and some classic Retro Gaming references (I have yet to find some retro graphic type whatever in the game like I did in Vampire Smile)
This brawler/RPG title has a lot of content packed in it for just $10 (Because MS is ridding the Microsoft Points at the end of this month). Button mashing will not be your friend in this side-scroller beat-em’up. Instead, you will gain abilities, spells, and special attacks just to name a few. You will gather up pieces of clothes and accessories to aide you along on your hectic quest. You can use a, what looks like a Windows Phone to take pictures of QR codes and specific items throughout the game to gain more gear as well as leveling your character and their abilities, using made up social network with a squid as their logo, and of course, your email. But enough about the content, will this title live up to the hype that I thought it would?
First off, controls are simple but get more extensive as you move along. Using your specials and playing with friends is more of a way to enjoy the game. If you are playing the game solo like I did for a while, you will end up rage quitting near the closer-to-end bosses. Enemies sometimes become bothersome, and even though you earn a counter-attack later in the game, it seems to only work when you’re on the ground. Aerial blocks are probably one of the moves I would have liked to use, especially if I am trying to set up a combo. But beggars can’t be choosers. You will encounter areas where you have to avoid the edges of walk ways so you don’t fall off and areas that simply seem impossible to get through. I can’t decipher whether it’s me, or how to perceive depth in the game along with the level design. The control scheme will work for some, but for those button mashers, you may want to invest your time in another title.
The sight and sound of CM are grungy and beautiful at the same time. You will see a lot of artwork from Shelldragon hanging up in the stores, as well as the creations of Jamezila‘s Dishwasher and Yuki. Like most of the Ska Studio games, the artwork, shown in layers to show depth and detail, making it pleasing to the eyes. The soundtrack, sounds like something that came out of your usual basement recording, a few tracks seem to give that authentic ska/punk vibe, while others seem to just make want to thrash out and break your controller. There are interactive concerts and a lot of mini games to give you a break from the bruising and beating of enemies, such as performing a Guitar Hero like concert during a flashback or fighting off Sharks with TNT strapped to them. These were pleasing to me, and gave CM a little more punch. One thing that stood out to me, was the dramatic story between CM and their rival band, going through a series cut scenes to present the issue at hand.
Final Thoughts: Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 Coming soon)
I mean really, CM has that flavor that can only last so long as a solo player game. You should either invest in some friends, or bring your friends over to play some CM. You will have a difficult time playing solo. I only wish that there was a comprehensive AI you could play with, that way, little Robby won’t have to worry about having that social life right? Charlie Murder has the ups and downs of a brawler/RPG and some balancing needs to be made if you are playing single player. You will more than likely get overwhelmed with the amount of enemies on-screen and it will feel like your character is moving in mud pudding, even though you have something that is supposedly to make you run faster. When you see a mummy and 4 mages, and you’re playing solo, don’t attempt that area unless you are Level 25. At this point, I still have yet to beat the game, and when I do beat the game, I will update my final thoughts as a part 2. Right now I give you my part 1 of the final thoughts and leave you in suspense. As of now, Charlie Murder gets a 7.8 out of 10. It needs balancing, and a possible AI buddy system. Who knows, maybe we will see it! Charlie Murder is recommended to those who are completionists and love a great challenge.