Backlog Quest: Day 9 – Rock of the Dead – Party on Neil!

Dear Journal,

Today I fought the undead with my guitar. Also, I think I’m dating Felicia Day. All in all, a good day.

Rock of the Dead is a success or a failure depending on how you want to view it.  Considering that the game’s main goal seemed to be giving gamers a Rob Zombie fueled game that gave them something other than Rock Band or Guitar Hero to play with their plastic instruments, it was a success.  The fact that the game is stretched out about two hours too long and features some horrible graphics and an over reliance on royalty free classical music played on electric guitar makes it less so.  So much like Neil Patrick Harris’ career, Rock of the Dead has some high points and some low points.

The most notable aspect of the game of course is that Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day do star as the game’s main two characters. Considering the nerd love both are privy to, and the good reason the two of them are privy to said nerd love, this is a good thing.  In fact, it is probably the best part of the game.  The ridiculously bad one-liners and general game dialogue is made tolerable by Neil’s ability to deliver them with a pleasant B-movie style.  As for Felicia Day, well she’s just adorable, even when it is only her voice now isn’t she.

Beyond that, the game involves alien spurred re-animations of the dead and other various creatures that, like many elderly people in comedies of the 60’s and 70’s, have a weakness in loud rock music. Armed with that knowledge, and your guitar, you make your way through the world in what is effectively a rail shooter, only instead of shooting you must play a correct series of notes in a timely fashion to effectively rock your enemies to death.


Here is the shocking thing about it all; the game isn’t horrible.  It is actually kind of fun (much like a B-movie) for the first couple of hours.  The seriously dated graphics aside (I say with some confidence that you can probably find better looking PS2 games), it is just “different” enough to be interesting and enjoyable.  Much like nailing a difficult rhythm in Rock Band, nailing the right series of notes to clear the screen makes you feel like a rock star.  The game really has one fatal draw back.

Even though the game is probably about 6 hours long, it is a solid 3 hours too long.  Simple as that.  If Rock of the Dead had been much shorter, sold as a downloadable title, or just packed with some mini-games and such on the disc, it would be much better.  As is, the game just goes on for way too damn long.  In addition to wearing the whole premise thin, the game’s unfortunate length also makes the fact that UFO Interactive only had so many songs licensed from Rob Zombie to use more apparent. Much of the game’s soundtrack, as previously mentioned, features royalty free classical music transcribed to guitar.  The result is often corny. When Rob Zombie is utilized it is often done poorly, with some very poor audio editing used to stretch out the song to make it fit the game. A shorter game would have avoided most of these pitfalls.


If you are looking for a cheap way to get a little more use out of your plastic guitars that are likely collecting dust, Rock of the Dead can now be found for a whopping $4.99 at Gamestop, and at most $19.99 new in every Target.  It may not be a great game, but as a cheap throw away experience that is a little different than 95% of the gaming you normally do it is worth the now very low price of entry.

Tomorrow I go to hell in Shadows of the Damned.

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: Maybe 6 hours? Not entirely sure.
Gamer Score Earned: 410/1000
Price Bought at: $5
Current Price: $6.94 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: Under $5 is worth it (probably worth the $7)
Why you should buy it: It is different. Neil Patrick Harris.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You pawned all your Rock Band guitars months ago.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.