"some music was meant to stay underground..."

OpEd

Heavy Metal In Video Games Part 4: The Return Of Music Games

Photo of Megadeth

Band Photo: Megadeth (?)

With the king of music games about to make a triumphant return in less than two weeks, it seemed like a good time to take another look at the limited offerings available where video games collide with heavy metal.

For those who missed our previous three articles discussing various games with heavy metal soundtracks, be sure to go back and check 'em out (and let us know if you end up playing or re-playing any of these gems!):

Part 1: the amazing Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Part 3 (the retro edition!): Rock And Roll Racing, Beavis And Butthead, F-Zero X, Earthbound, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix

Rock Band

There was this utterly glorious time where console gaming was flush with a stable lineup of music games and every weekend involved a bottle of something hard and your best friends making drunken fools of themselves in your living room till 2 AM. Typically your neighbors would not be amused, but fuck them because they don't like metal anyway.

Unfortunately that time died when Activision decided to flood the market with an absurd number of Guitar Hero entries and the era of the music game came to a sudden, crashing halt.

Obviously the Rock Band titles had plenty of rock tunes, but a handful of legitimate metal was also involved in the various incarnations and weekly DLC updates, adding in the likes of Emperor, Machine Head, and a whole lot more. Where things really took off was in the Rock Band Network, which let bands make their own tracks, seeing tons of underground groups add in their own music.

It was a truly sad day when Harmonix announced there would be no more DLC coming to Rock Band back in 2013, but an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel appeared just a few months ago. Back in March, Harmonix made a whole lot of fans happy by officially announcing Rock Band 4, which seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream up till that point.

Due out October 6, Rock Band 4's launch lineup of metal will include Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Baby Metal, System Of A Down, and more, with loads of metallic downloadable songs no doubt prepped and ready to drop each week.

Needless to say I'm greatly looking forward to it, except that unfortunately Guitar Hero is also returning. Maybe Activision can keep it in its pants this time around and not kill music gaming again by releasing six or so games a year.

Carmageddon

Way back in '97, a few months before even the first Grand Theft Auto game came out, Carmageddon was a racing game... of sorts. This one let players do what they always really wanted to in every racing game – destroy the other cars, run over the pedestrians, and drive off the track without penalty. All of this car mayhem was going on while instrumental renditions of Fear Factory tracks were playing in the background!

Amusingly, Carmageddon was an odd victim of censorship in certain countries, where pedestrians were replaced by various other creatures, from zombies to robots and dinosaurs, all squirting various fluids that were any color but red. You can still get the original game through GOG, while a reboot called Carmageddon: Reincarnation was recently crowd funded and can be picked up through Steam here.

NeverDead

This oddball beat 'em up type game featured a soundtrack by Megadeth, based on a song title of the same name from the “Th1rt3en” album. Unfortunately upon its release the reviews of this Xbox 360 / PS3 title NeverDead were pretty negative, although over time it seems like people have started to look more favorably upon it.

Although not exactly the same, you'll notice some similarities with the metal-themed Splatterhouse, like frequently losing limbs and having to pick them back up as the game title is quite literal – you can't die! Granted, it's not the best game ever, but there is some solid action fun here that lets you switch between shooting and slashing, and there's some hilarity to be had while hopping around on one leg or rolling around as just a head to solve puzzles.

NeverGone

Weirdly having a very similar title to the last game, this one isn't actually out yet and is still in development, but it features a growing trend of metal bands working directly with game programmers. Moving away from console games, this one is being developed for mobile devices but will likely also be available for PC as its currently listed on Steam.

Considering Therion's cinematic approach to metal (not to mention the fact that the band has its own board game) it was only a matter of time before the group got into the digital world of gaming. Therion is providing the music for this bloody as all hell Gothic side scroller that looks like its taking some strong cues from Castelvania. Various members of Therion will also appear in game as characters. Check out a brief trailer below, and more info can be found over here.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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2 Comments on "Heavy Metal Video Games: The Return Of Music Games"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Conch writes:

Descent for PC has an awesome soundtrack

# Sep 25, 2015 @ 9:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. I'm not Jesus Christ writes:

Badass!

# Oct 11, 2015 @ 7:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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