Reviewed: Metal Dead (2011)

Game Review – by Morgan Thistlethwaite

 

Metal DeadAs a casual gamer, I’m always a little behind the curve when it comes to something new. For example, it was only four years ago that I truly immersed myself in the experience that is the point-and-click adventure (about 20 years after they peaked). Equipped with my (relatively) recently solid knowledge of such things, I feel it is my privilege and duty to review this modern take on a well-trodden genre.

Speaking of well-trodden genres, a zombie apocalypse is nothing new but that’s the backdrop for this story, and it’s your job to keep plucky protagonist Malcolm Campbell alive, as well as get to the bottom of who or what is responsible for all the horror.

Screenshot03The game begins with two metalheads, Malcolm and his best friend Ronnie, driving into the heart of the zombie outbreak. Why? Because Ronnie says it’s “the most metal thing that’s ever happened” to them. Unfortunately, the car crashes and you must help Malcolm escape the zombie hordes. To do this you must get Malcolm off the streets and inside the MediGeniTech building (a science research centre) and it is here that he meets the mysterious Dr. Fechenheim who charges Malcolm with helping him continue with his bizarre experiments.

From here, the story leads Malcolm through the building where he will meet a host of characters who either help or hinder him in his efforts to reach the helicopter at the top of the building. Can you help Malcolm save everyone and discover the cause of the outbreak? What does Dr. Fechenheim have to do with all of this?

Screenshot06This comedy/horror game from Walk Thru Walls Studios is your standard 2D point-and-click adventure affair, and even for that, it’s pretty lo-fi. The dialogue is delivered through text, the art and animation is scratchy, and the music is presented in glorious MIDI, which gives the overall experience a DIY edge that makes you think, “hell, I could make one of these!”

And maybe you could, but what this game lacks in flashiness, it more than makes up for with a fun little story and snappy dialogue just like the classic games it pays homage to. The humour is played to full effect with just enough self-awareness and pop culture references to help you forgive its shortcomings.

The art is somewhat reminiscent of that goth comic style (Johnny the Homicidal ManiacLenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl) that became popular in the late ’90s, almost cute in its simplicity but obviously drawn by someone with a psychological disorder. It works for this game and has plenty of charm to keep you playing.

Screenshot09On the subject of effective simplicity, the same can be said for the music. Using standard MIDI sounds, Josh Birch delivers a soundtrack that makes you feel like you’re in a John Carpenter movie. There is a surprising degree of versatility in the noise coming out of those speakers using the most primitive of digital sounds.

The puzzles are logical and satisfyingly challenging too. I must admit that I did have to consult a walk-through guide with one puzzle because I missed an element in the narrative.

Basically, if you haven’t played this game and are a fan of Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry, metal, and zombies, then perhaps you’re missing out. Metal Dead is a great way to kill a few hours if you still have the patience for the point-and-click adventure.

\m/

Buy it on Steam for $4.99 USD.

 

Reviewed: Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007) – Devin Townsend

Music Review – by Morgan Thistlethwaite

Ziltoid-the-Omniscient-2007Let’s just put it out there; I’m a bit of a Devin Townsend fan. People who know me know this. I love his musical diversity, his ability to push the limits of the sounds and styles he works with, and the honesty reflected in his work.

Like many, I discovered him through the chaotic metal of his band Strapping Young Lad when I was an angry teenager. Since then I’ve come to know and get slightly obsessed over his greater body of work. From his most recent Devin Townsend Project (DTP) release Transcendence (2016) to his lesser-known works like the ambient Devlab (2004), and his vocal work on Steve Vai’s on Sex & Religion (1993).

Whatever direction his music takes, however chaotic, meditative, emotive or hilarious, it’s always passionate, personal, and stands to represent an expression of his mental state or feelings of that moment.

So if I gush a little bit, I’m not sorry but I will try to keep this review as factual and objective as possible.

According to the album’s liner notes, Ziltoid was an idea that Devin came up with when he was about 8 years old, and had been brewing in his subconscious until he took the time out to actualise the idea and bring the puppet to life (he made a puppet).

My first meeting with Ziltoid was in the days of Myspace. As a precursor to the release of the album, Ziltoid broadcast a handful of two-minute video messages to alert fans of his imminent arrival. It was a fun little experiment from before Youtube and became second nature to internet users.

The album’s musical comedy concept tells the story of Ziltoid, a creature who experiences everything all at once. He’s a little screwy because of this, and he likes his coffee. In this story, Ziltoid visits Earth to demand the perfect cup of coffee lest humanity be annihilated. Of course, his standards are quite high so he gets all Ming The Merciless and an all-out attack on the planet ensues.

Punky_BrusterIt’s hard not to compare Ziltoid the Omniscient with Townsend’s first musical comedy album, Cooked on Phonics (1996). Released under the fictional band name Punky Brüster, it made a statement on the punk music resurgence of the time. The songs were solid (it’s not hard to get punk wrong, even if you infuse it with metal sensibilities) and the narrative held it all together as a mildly-entertaining concept album.

Comparitively, Ziltoid is far more theatrical. Where Punky Brüster may have been constrained by the “cool” of what peers felt to be acceptable, Ziltoid throws all caution to the wind to create a narrative that lies within the songs as much as the sketches that bookend them.

The music is mostly heavy. Tracks like By Your Command and Planet Smasher dominate the sound with a few contemplative moments from tracks such as Solar Winds and The Greys to break up the assault and add contrast to the final package.

This is one of Townsend’s solo efforts in the strongest sense of the word, with all creative input being his, even down to programming the drum parts. He does, however, get some friends in to provide additional voice talent (current DTP members, Brian “Beav” Waddell and Dave Young).

Ziltoid The Omniscient is an over-the-top prog-metal trip that sounds like some guy in his basement playing with toys and entertaining himself (which is exactly what it is and that’s not a bad thing in my books). The story is flimsy but the voices are fun, and if you always thought that Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds would have worked better had it been a little more self-aware and humorous, this one’s for you.

Upcoming show – Hey Femmily! It’s me, Tomp Canks!

Event Plug – Hey Femmily! It’s Me Tomp Canks!

Hey_Femmily_its_me_Tomp_Canks

Had a listen to our Spudcast episode and now you’re looking to see some improv in real life? This Saturday is your last chance to see Beau Windon perform in Melbourne before he heads to the US for a few months.

Get along to the show and see two teams, Femmily and Tomp Canks, join forces to deliver an hour of what promises to be some great improv comedy.


What: Hey Femmily! It’s me, Tomp Canks!

Where: The Improv Conspiracy Theatre: Level 1 / 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne

When: Saturday, June 3rd @ 9:30pm

How much: $5


Get your tickets here!

Call for submissions

Social_Media_Promo_Call-for-submissions

The Potato Revolution is back. To make it bigger and better than ever, we need you!


Art:

Do you even art? Would you like to share it on our community website? We’re taking expressions of interest for your interesting artistic expressions. If it’s weird, it’s wonderful. And we want to share it.

We’re interested in:

  • Comics
  • Cartoons
  • Graphics of any kind
  • Photography

We’re looking for:

  • Doodles
  • Sketches
  • Multimedia
  • Animation
  • Music/Sounds
  • Game and pixel art

Stories/Pieces:

Do you write the weird stuff? The kind of thing that only occasionally (if ever) turns up in literary collections? We want to share your funny, bizarre, psychedelic, sci-fi, “out there” stories with the world.


Articles/Reviews:

Do you like comics, cartoons, music and/or comedy? We’re looking for content.

Our angle is creativity and collaboration so if you’ve experienced something (doesn’t have to be new/current) that you want to write some words about and you think it would suit our little operation, get in touch with an expression of interest.


For more information, check out our submission guidelines and FAQ.

Comic – Everything’s Coughing Up Roses

Comic – by Mr Sharp

Bros before nos. #everythingscoughinguproses #comic #27 #bro #no #cleanityourself #tryshizz #shizzlite

A post shared by Rupert Sharp (@everythingscoughinguproses) on

Mr Sharp’s lo-fi comic Everything’s Coughing Up Roses follows the story of a worn and weary bartender at war with the daily grind that is his life.

Cynical, surreal, and at times, incredibly violent, this is a funny and frank portrayal of the man behind the bar.

#10 #everythingscoughinguproses #comic #imagination #dickhead

A post shared by Rupert Sharp (@everythingscoughinguproses) on

For more comics, find Mr Sharp on Instagram.

Comic – Assorted strips

Comic – by Andy Mai Mai


The intricate detail of Andy Mai Mai’s work is testament to the time and dedication poured into each piece, and this assortment of strips are no exception.

Some of these were one-off promotional drawings for Potato Revolution back in the early days. Like all his work, even these one-offs hint at a story larger than the panels they encompass.

Whether contemplative, surreal, comical, or all of the above, Andy’s work always manages to feel incredibly personal.

 

You can see more of his work on his blog.