Charlie Murder isn’t a character that necessarily wants to murder, he’s forced to. The murder in his name comes in the form of his band. They murder, but they murder the charts. Charlie Murder is one of the biggest bands ever! They play shows constantly and the band is even featured on a show with a host that looks a lot like David Letterman. Everyone is obsessed with Charlie Murder. Well, almost everyone has this obsession. Charlie was once friends with a guy named Paul.
These two friends decided that they would start the best band ever. The only problem is that Charlie started the band without Paul and became famous. Throughout many failed attempts, Paul could never reach the fame that Charlie achieved. He made an unholy union and became Lord Mortimer. Lord Mortimer killed all the members of Charlie Murder and sent them all to Hell. The game begins as we’re resurrected and placed back on Earth during “The Fall.”
When I said that Charlie is forced to murder, I’m talking about the fact the he has to fight for his life. Lord Mortimer is mad and is ready to kill whoever stands in the way of his band called Gore Quaffer. Players can choose between Charlie, Lester, Kelly, Rex or Tommy. Each character has the basic punch and kick moves, but the differences between each character are the type of special moves they can execute. The specific character moves shouldn’t persuade you to neglect a character because all of them are great, they just play a little differently.
With the exception of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Castle Crashers, there haven’t been that many unique beat em’ up games on the marketplace. Sure, there are games like the TMNT, The Simpsons Arcade and X-Men Arcade, but those three games are just ports. James Silva definitely has a love of the genre and it shows with every step taken in Charlie Murder. Bland environments are nowhere to be found in the entire game. In fact, there are areas that are so colorful and bright. This covers up the very dark themes that are scattered throughout the storyline.
Some sections of the game have you riding on bikes throwing trash at enemies while other areas have you stealing a witch’s broom and going on a shooting spree. Parts like this add diversity to the usual punch and kick combat that the game heavily relies on. In addition to combat, there are rhythm sections that feature the band playing songs. These sections do nothing to boost your character experience, but they are fun diversions. The difficulty varies depending on who you are in the band. If you play the tambourine, be prepared to have a dull time. If you are the drummer on the other hand, these sections are a joy.
One of the best parts of Charlie Murder is the level up system. It’s reminiscent to many RPG games. Whenever a character levels up, they get points to upgrade their strength, speed, defense or your magic which is also known as anar-chi. In addition to leveling up these skills, you can also give your character a new move. Everyone can unlock overdrive moves, support from other characters and head stomps while each character can learn a specific move linked to that particular character.
For instance, Lester can rip the souls out of enemies so that he can regenerate health. Rex can lift up heavy objects that other characters are unable to grab. Minor moves can totally change the game experience and that’s why it’s fun to experiment with new characters. I played through the game as Charlie, but it was on my second playthrough that I realized how much more fun the game was with Lester.
The storyline is really dark and sometimes it’s shocking to see how messed up the game can get. That’s actually a big highlight. This is a game that can make fans of mature games very happy. Horror fans will also find a lot to love about Charlie Murder. Weapons include: chainsaws, bats, axes, maces, shotguns, rocket launchers and there are even severed limbs. You will face enemies such as: zombies, rabid people, killer rats, poisonous spiders, pumpkinheads and there are even throwbacks to The Ring and the original Saw movie. There are plenty of horrific moments that are very welcome and uncommon for a game of this genre. There are also multiple endings, two other difficulties after completion of the game AND unlockable skins/classes for each character.
The music is also spectacular. The rock tracks are very inspired and bring life into the world of Charlie Murder. Charlie’s band also has some infectious lyrics. While some songs are hard to understand, there were many songs that I was actually singing around the house. I stated before that none of the environments looked bad. Charlie Murder isn’t the best looking game in the world, but the game is very visually appealing. Fans of Silva’s previous work will love what he’s done with Charlie Murder. There’s tons of chaos on the screen at once and there are no slowdowns or glitches.
With every great game, there are some negatives. Charlie Murder is no exception. The BIGGEST flaw that Charlie Murder has is definitely the checkpoint system. I should say that the game basically lacks a checkpoint system. When you die, you’re sent to the beginning of the level. The difficulty isn’t that bad, but once you reach the later levels, be prepared to have some moments of rage.
It’s unfortunate to have to fight your way through tough levels again. Fortunately, your experience and items carry over so you’ll be stronger when replaying a level. The game’s autosave feature is also flawed. There were times when I couldn’t see the autosave symbol. I would make it past 3 levels and I would fight so many bosses only to take a break and realize that my progress never saved. This is a frustrating occurrence that happened multiple times.
Charlie Murder is a GREAT game to play with other players and while the game is still a blast to play solo, the game can be a lot tougher alone. There are plenty of sections that contain overpowered enemies that can obliterate your character. Speaking of negatives, playing multiplayer can be annoying on Xbox Live because players either don’t communicate or jump right into the game with a level 1 character. It makes the game tougher to play. Plus, players can attack other players so online matches can be frustrating due to obnoxious partners.
Charlie Murder wasn’t a highly anticipated game in my eyes. There are so many games coming out soon and with the next generation of games quickly approaching, Charlie Murder was a game that I actually overlooked. This shouldn’t be the case because Charlie Murder is one of the year’s biggest surprises. There are so many things to like about Charlie Murder. The action is fun, the soundtrack is enjoyable, the characters are actually interesting, the story isn’t predictable, the environments are diverse, the game has a lot of depth and lastly, the game is full of surprises. Charlie Murder is a game that must be played by fans of unique experiences and fans of the beat ‘em up genre. Whether you play it alone or with friends, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy Charlie’s twisted journey through Hell on Earth. Are you ready to Rock? If you are, Charlie Murder is the game for you.