One of the games industry’s few auteurs, there’s no mistaking a game that’s had the benefit of Tim Schafer’s golden touch. From his early forays in the Monkey Island series to the under-appreciated genius of Psychonauts, Schafer’s games are rich with memorable characters, wonderfully-woven stories and a genuinely twisted sense of humour.
Since he left the comfort and safety of the LucasArts nest, he has had more trouble than a designer of his calibre should ever have to deal with: Psychonauts was dropped not just once but twice, firstly by Microsoft and then by Activision, with EA finally picking up the pieces.
Thankfully it seems the new EA has been a force for good, Schafer’s vision equalled only by the company’s bottomless pockets. While his previous games (Full Throttle’s Ben) have alluded to his desire to be a rock star, Brütal Legend is the first to tackle that subject directly. Jack Black reprises the spirit of his roles in Tenacious D and School of Rock to play Eddie Riggs, a roadie with a passion for heavy metal and a loathing for whiney pop, who dreams of a time when music was more meaningful.
As the game begins, Riggs is thrust into a fantasy world where heavy metal is the answer to the universe’s greatest secrets – a world with a visual style rooted in the fiction of Frank Frazetta’s Heavy Metal animation, featuring a cast of mythical beasts that could well have leapt straight off the cover of an Iron Maiden album. Along your journey through Brütal Legend’s medieval landscape you encounter familiar faces in the form of Motörhead’s Lemmy, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Black Sabbath’s irrepressible Ozzy Osborne.