31 Days of Halloween: Brain Dead 13

If you’re looking for a little something to get yourself into the Halloween spirit, but you also want a game that’s not your typical spooky/horror fare, there’s an odd little title out there in the world that might just scratch your itch. It’s a relic from a bygone era, with character designs that smell so much of the 90’s, you might just find yourself wearing a flannel shirt and listening to Pearl Jam without even realizing it. It involves a computer tech named Lance, a haunted castle, and a murderous lunatic named Fritz. And it’s got just enough personality to keep it interesting. Just enough…

Brain Dead 13 is basically the same game as Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. The whole thing is basically one big cartoon wherein you “control” a character by occasionally pressing a button that triggers a canned animation event. It’s basically an entire game of quick time events, before that term was a thing. It tells the story of Lance, a computer technician who’s called to fix a computer at the haunted house of Dr. Nero Neurosis. Once there, he meets up with the castle’s caretaker Fritz, who is constantly armed to the teeth, and more than willing to murder you at a moment’s notice. Much like Dragon’s Lair, it’s all trial and error. Press the right direction at the right time, and Lance will narrowly escape whatever dangers lie before him. Press the wrong direction, and Lance will be brutally killed. And yes, the death scenes are quite brutal.

You’ll see lance impaled, ripped to shreds, set on fire, poisoned, stabbed, beheaded, and even have his skin ripped off, and it’s all done in this weird, almost kid-friendly style. And you probably won’t mind either, because Lance has got to be the most stereotypical 90’s character since Bubsy, and as such, is remarkably hate-able. Honestly, it’s pretty darn fun watching him get killed over and over, just so you can see him and his dumb-ass bowling shirt/hammer pants combo get what they so richly deserve. It also helps that the game’s primary threat, Fritz, is actually pretty loveable. Sure, he loves to murder you, but he seems so happy when he’s doing it!

Brain Dead 13 was released on pretty much every CD-based console back in the day. So if you want to experience it as the creators intended, and you happen to still have a Jaguar CD or 3D-o laying around, go nuts. Otherwise, you can download it on iOS for about 5 bucks. They really don’t make games like this much anymore, and if you go back to play this one, it’s pretty easy to see why. But while Lance will never be Dirk the Daring, Fritz and the other weird creatures found in this game make it at least worth giving a go. There are certainly worse horror games out there…

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