Dead Meets Lead - Full Preview

By Daavpuke, Posted 10 Apr 2011

"It’s still bound to find its core audience."

Developer: Keldyn Interactive
Publisher:  Keldyn Interactive
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action, Horror

 

Some of you may be aware of the article we created around Dead Meets Lead already, as we did take on the limited view of ‘The Challenge’. As Keldyn Interactive subsequently was nice enough to send us the full design, we’ll be reevaluating the whole in its entire scope. Has much changed? No, not really, as the game is built around the core gameplay, so much will be a reiteration of then. But for those seeking the nuances, gather round.

Dead Meets Lead takes us 300 years in the past, where a man called The Captain finds himself marooned on an island where there seems to be a rather nasty case of the zombie outbreaks. Now trapped amidst the rotting corpses, he himself has been infected with the disease. He must investigate this plague further, while searching the island for antidotes spread throughout the territory. The story doesn’t make a load of sense, not even in zombie fiction, because why would a zombie outbreak have antidotes lying around everywhere without it being contained? Furthermore, the antidote only slows down disease, so it’s not even that effective and The Captain will magically be aware where all these vials will be on an island he has no other knowledge of. I suppose we all need our plot devices and did you come here to be educated or slice some cookie-hating heads? Yes, zombies hate cookies. Isn’t that just awful?
 

NoobFeed Preview - Dead Meets Lead - Full Preview
Dead Meets Lead: Premise set!
 

There’s some change to be found right off the bat, as the menu for Dead Meets Lead is spread around a large map, leaving players to scroll around to find their information. It’s a nice break from traditional menu structure, while still remaining rather clear. Noticeable on the left are two currencies; being gold to unlock chapters and silver to buy new melee or ranged weapons. There are also 3 pages of achievements, varying from time-consuming to straight up nuts. Consider it an incentive to hone skills.

After a brief introduction of the preposterous story, as foretold by the man himself, it’s time to let the bodies hit the floor, again. It’s a shame there isn’t some nice, coarse voice acting available to narrate, but no real harm is done in here. Anyway, once the first level is loaded, players can start blasting off faces and slicing up body parts with the dozens. The levels are a bit disappointing, as they only portray the most brownish murky depths of the tropical hellhole. It is crisp in design, but a repetition of textures and colors make it appear blander than it could be. This will also apply to many of the enemies, with color tones barely different from the terrain. But the strangest part is the animation of The Captain himself, which seems to be stuck in perpetual 80’s robot-dance limbo. You might as well have some fun during an apocalypse, I suppose.
 

NoobFeed Preview - Dead Meets Lead - Full Preview
Somewhere in there, The Captain is chopping heads.
 

Each stage offers a nice open view, only harmed by invisible borders making the hero contract spontaneous malaria. This creates a false sense of freedom where players need to be sure not to cross certain lines, which can be difficult during tumultuous gameplay sections. As such, the gameplay is rather intense. Hordes of enemies approach in a rather fast pace and slicing them all to bits swiftly can be a heart-pumping task. Killing foes raises a rage meter, which can be used to level up and unleash more devastating attacks. This is equally applicable to a ranged weapon, but one must be mindful that ammo is scarce around them here parts. Yeah, there are magic antidotes everywhere, but no one thought of bringing bullets. Boy, did they have their priorities wrong 3 centuries ago.

Luckily, the core gameplay is as entertaining as it always is in the slasher genre. The controls even hint towards some action RPG feel or a slightly altered twin-stick control, with a separate scheme for movement and the use of a mouse for aiming. The good thing is that there’s always heads to chop off, enemies to foil and new challenges ahead. Unfortunately, some sections will be hampered by strange level design decisions, such as bridges being hard to maneuver over and resulting in instant piranha-related death upon failure to comply. Zombified piranhas are no laughing matter. Apart from that, it is fun to run around levels and test your might. There are also boss fights to put all these skills to the test once the regular barrage of enemies don’t suffice. But the regular enemies alone are enough to create a challenge as one thing is for sure: Dead Meets Lead is hard. There are a few sets of enemies, ranging different strengths, but some can be quite a pain to overcome. In particular, zombies that conjure shields upon all their brethren are like a visual cancer. There is almost no overcoming this challenge and running circles around large groups is near impossible without losing a few chunks of flesh. There’s no quarrel in aiding zombies a little, but shielded foes become damn near indestructible, even with special attacks and that makes playing a little frustrating. Additionally, healing works counterproductive, as waiting for health to come back decreases the needed rage meter.
 


 

While Dead Meets Lead offers very little novelty or its own ideas, it’s not said that this game can’t be fun. Fans of destroying things can take the joy of a challenge in a nice game of mindless fun. It could do well to tweak certain aspects before release, but if not, it’s still bound to find its core audience, as we all know you’ll buy anything zombie-related. Zombie equals gold; it’s like theoretical physics, it’s so logical.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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