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47 Comments

Charlie Murder Is A Great Name

And, assuming that Ska Studios' upcoming brawler holds up, it could be a great game, as well.

I know I've said that the classic side-scrolling brawler is effectively dead, or at least that it can only exist as a deliberately retro-styled genre. But I'm realizing that smaller teams of creative people seem to have found a way to make Final Fight-like games live on by giving them unique looks that you just don't see much of these days. Castle Crashers did it quite well, and the upcoming game from Ska Studios, Charlie Murder, looks like it's definitely got the right idea, too.

Charlie Murder is a four-player brawler starring the members of a fictitious punk band called... Charlie Murder. Oh, hey, the front man's name is also Charlie Murder, and he's backed by Lester Deth on guitar, Tommy Homicide on bass, and The Rexecutioner on drums. The story behind the game is that Charlie's girlfriend--Skelekitten--has been taken by a rival metal band. So you'll have to beat up a bunch of dudes with crowbars and unleash special attacks to save the day.

The action doesn't seem to stray too far from the classic brawlers of the '80s and '90s. You can jump and attack, you can wield a variety of weapons, and you each have a special move that'll get you out of a bind by knocking down a group of enemies. These powers are based around each character's instrument of choice, so Charlie blasts his enemies with sonic waves from his singing, while the drummer makes a drum kit materialize and pounds nearby foes into submission, and so on. If you're playing multiplayer, you can pop those specials off simultaneously. I was left with the impression that doing so made the attacks more effective. The demo being shown at PAX East also contained a vehicle level, where players toss junk at motorcycle-riding bad guys. It looked like it could make for a neat diversion, similar to the motorcycle level in Renegade.

While it has the standard brawler feel, the game's art style is what makes Charlie Murder stand out. The game's sketched-out characters look pretty nice in motion and the enemies, some of which come packed with crowbars and knives, look like guys you'd want to really beat up... like zombies, or perhaps ninjas.

Look for Charlie Murder soon in the Xbox Live Indie Games section. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
48 Comments
Posted by Jeff
I know I've said that the classic side-scrolling brawler is effectively dead, or at least that it can only exist as a deliberately retro-styled genre. But I'm realizing that smaller teams of creative people seem to have found a way to make Final Fight-like games live on by giving them unique looks that you just don't see much of these days. Castle Crashers did it quite well, and the upcoming game from Ska Studios, Charlie Murder, looks like it's definitely got the right idea, too.

Charlie Murder is a four-player brawler starring the members of a fictitious punk band called... Charlie Murder. Oh, hey, the front man's name is also Charlie Murder, and he's backed by Lester Deth on guitar, Tommy Homicide on bass, and The Rexecutioner on drums. The story behind the game is that Charlie's girlfriend--Skelekitten--has been taken by a rival metal band. So you'll have to beat up a bunch of dudes with crowbars and unleash special attacks to save the day.

The action doesn't seem to stray too far from the classic brawlers of the '80s and '90s. You can jump and attack, you can wield a variety of weapons, and you each have a special move that'll get you out of a bind by knocking down a group of enemies. These powers are based around each character's instrument of choice, so Charlie blasts his enemies with sonic waves from his singing, while the drummer makes a drum kit materialize and pounds nearby foes into submission, and so on. If you're playing multiplayer, you can pop those specials off simultaneously. I was left with the impression that doing so made the attacks more effective. The demo being shown at PAX East also contained a vehicle level, where players toss junk at motorcycle-riding bad guys. It looked like it could make for a neat diversion, similar to the motorcycle level in Renegade.

While it has the standard brawler feel, the game's art style is what makes Charlie Murder stand out. The game's sketched-out characters look pretty nice in motion and the enemies, some of which come packed with crowbars and knives, look like guys you'd want to really beat up... like zombies, or perhaps ninjas.

Look for Charlie Murder soon in the Xbox Live Indie Games section.
Posted by JackiJinx

You know what murder rhymes with? More murder.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Brawlers are nice if done right, it's just that most people have forgotten how to make them.
 
Also, I think the "brawler" category is a bit broader than people are allowing.  There are plenty of popular brawler games, they just don't want to be called brawlers.

Posted by Th3dz

Played this when it was  in peer review a couple of months back. That version was pretty good. I don't know it James Silva made more changes to it until now, but I don't know if it needed any either. Also thank you Jeff for talking anything about the indie games section. It's reputation isn't the best and hopefully these good games will make that change!

Posted by MarkWahlberg

name is interesting, but that's about it.

Posted by HypoXenophobia

 


 Oh, hey, the front man's name is also Charlie Murder, and he's backed by Lester Deth on guitar, Tommy Homicide on bass, and The Rexecutioner on drums. The story behind the game is that Charlie's girlfriend--Skelekitten--has been taken by a rival metal band. So you'll have to beat up a bunch of dudes with crowbars and unleash special attacks to save the day.

 
 Reading this reminded me of Mayhem after their album Deathcrush was released. 

Vocals : Dead
Guitars:  Euronymous
Bass:  Necrobutcher
Drums: Hellhammer
Posted by MeatSim

Someone should have made a Dethklok game like this.

Posted by Rodiard

Those character names are pretty good.

Posted by ArmedBear

Mike Haggar is a great name.

Posted by dancinginfernal

Charlie Tunoku's brother?

Posted by MrGetBonus

Anyone else immediately think of Stone Protectors?

Posted by Reverseface

CHARLIE AIN'T NO MURDERER!!!!

Posted by Chuggsy

Ska Studios is also an awesome name.

Posted by Banzai_NL

CHARLIE BIT MEEE

Posted by AgentofChaos

Great game name, bad dev name.

Posted by brocool

I love beat em ups,  why no ps3

Posted by Lambert

Brawlers get too button mashy for my tastes. I got bored of Castle Crashers -- even playing with friends -- because it just turned into a button mashing fest.
 
Really wish developers would actually be a little more creative with their combat system.

Posted by Milkman

So, is this an actual XBLA release or like a XNA indie game type thing?

Posted by Skald

I'm interested.

Posted by Teirdome

Coverage for Ska Studios is fantastic.  Thanks for the heads up Jeff.

Posted by Brodehouse

Diablo killed the brawler.  It's one thing to mash a button until something dies, its another to mash a button until it dies and then pick up a sweet new axe that lets you mash on bigger dudes.
 
Want a great modern brawler, give it persistent RPG elements a la perks and a combat system similar to the pinpoint strike/counter system of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Posted by Dalai

Moider?

Posted by Chocobo_Blitzer

I can't decide without the pictures

Posted by ajamafalous

Sounds promising.

Posted by Apathylad

Reminds me of how I never finished Streets of Fury. It's a shame I can't convince my friends to play that game with me though. :P

Posted by nrain

Those guys sound like some serious Bad Dudes.

Posted by Whisperkill
@Meatsim said:
" Someone should have made a Dethklok game like this. "
YESSS!!!
Posted by Cetra

This actually does sound interesting. I've yet to buy a single indie game on XBL. This may be my first one.

Posted by Linkyshinks

I prefer Joe Murder. 

There's been a severe lack of innovation and willingness to be bold in this genre, and I consider that shame. I still like the genre along with shooters. Capcom need a kick up the arse, they should be able to inject life into this genre easily, I can think of many ways in which they could.  
 
Viewtiful Joe would work excellently in this format, spiced up with snazzy looking 2.5D effects, along with retro styled Mode 7 & Sega Saturn type pixel effects. An online co'op "Yummy Mode" would be essential of course, as well as an 8 bit symphony orchestral soundtrack. Any such game would need to refine upon some aspects in all four games in the series, and then combine them all into something wild and fun for up to four players online. 

Posted by Goopynose

I really can't stand this art style. Developers need to play a ton of Streets of Rage 3, and build on that.

Edited by Alphonzo

Charlie Murda's droppin a mixtape in a couple weeks.  I don't know  about this Charlie Murder, though.

Posted by RedCricketChase

I wish Charlie Murder had a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend, but I am pretty fucking drunk right now. Also I am bisexual. Which is different from bus-sexual. Which isn't as funny as it was in my head.

Posted by AhmadMetallic
@Meatsim said:
" Someone should have made a Dethklok game like this. "
amen.. thats totally a William Murderface rip off
Edited by MrKlorox

Sounds like somebody couldn't get the Dethklok license.
 
I always wanted a Metalocalypse episode where the band funds research and development of an actual Murder Simulator. Maybe have a crazy ex-lawyer Thom Jackson  try to fuck it up or something. Some jokes about the Florida bar and Tampa death metal maybe. Perhaps a twist at the end where folsk actually die in the multiplayer and South Korea slaughters everybody. Stuff like that.

Posted by FengShuiGod

Great? How 'bout EPIC?!?!?!?!?

Posted by wh1terav3n

Jamezila and Ska Studios are amazing. Love the Dishwasher and I made a game with zombies in it. Talk about one talented game creator (He's a one man studio who programs, does the art, and the music (his voice is the Zombies voice))

Posted by Eristocrat

I love how show previews end up with stuff like "I was left with the impression"

Posted by Iron_Scimitar

I think he was rollin wit NO LIMIT back in the day.  Charlie MURDA.

Posted by Slab64
@RedCricketChase said:
" I wish Charlie Murder had a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend, but I am pretty fucking drunk right now. Also I am bisexual. Which is different from bus-sexual. Which isn't as funny as it was in my head. "
Cool story, bro. 
 
Also, nobody mentioned Shank yet as another example of modern brawling done (seemingly) right.
Posted by the_podman

Like RENEGADE, you say?? Ah, the memories of that game in arcades. The very first game I've ever played that taught me the concept of a "boss".

Posted by bassthumpin99

my last name is Murdter and the t is silent. (its because its swiss german) anyway its pronounced Murder. and My dads name is Charlie. So, Charlie Murdter. Finding about this game is sort of surreal.

Posted by BisonHero

Alright, well somebody already necroed this thread, so while everybody's here:

Jesus, this game still isn't out yet? They did a Quick Look Road Show of it like 13 months ago, and it was well into development. I know it's a small team, but how long does it take to make a sidescrolling beat 'em up with fairly simple 2D art?

Posted by Genkkaku

@BisonHero: They put out Dishwasher Vampire Smile last year? so maybe they were working on this when they had time..

Posted by BisonHero

@Genkkaku: Yeah, but that was released in April 2011. And Charlie Murder was already playable in August 2011 (which is when the Giant Bomb video is from). Perhaps that demo was literally all they had made in terms of enemies, levels, music, etc.

Posted by Genkkaku

@BisonHero: Yeah they must of just had a really polished demo.. From there website it looks like they show it off every PAX..

Posted by ProfessorEss

Charlie Murder is good, but Tommy Homicide is great.

Posted by thedj93

@bassthumpin99 said:

my last name is Murdter and the t is silent. (its because its swiss german) anyway its pronounced Murder. and My dads name is Charlie. So, Charlie Murdter. Finding about this game is sort of surreal.

cool name! welcome to the site :D

Posted by cotain

So this is now a SOA 2013 release. Has anyone played this? They seem to be sticking to their artistic guns with the style. Sort of hand drawn with a "skteched" sort of vibe. Seems more colorful than the companies previous Dishwasher game, but I could be wrong. The companies previous games always did intrigue me but I never bought any. This is only 800 points ($10) so I might give it a shot. For the first time in a few years it seems that ALL 4 of this year's games look at the very least, mildly interesting!And no kinnect games! lol Also, I read that buying 2 of the 4 games gives you "a handful of souls" for another game. What does that mean?