Genre: Action, katana hack and slash, third person shooter, ladies seducer, anime

Release Date: 2013 

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture

Publisher:​​ Kadokawa Games, Deep Silver


Where to start? Although I can summarise the plot in a few lines, it does not do justice to the flabbergasting over the top confusingly hyperbolic potential of Killer is Dead’s storyline. You are Mondo Zappa, a private executioner equipped with a katana and a cybernetic arm affectionately named Musselback. Mondo dresses like a Japanese banker (but look closer and you’ll see that he likes haute couture and has red eyes). Mondo is a company man: he has a boss, colleagues, a salary, perks etc. His job is anything but mundane… Mondo travels the world killing monsters, criminals and other bad people. He’s a fixer, he’s a cleaner and he clearly is a professional.

Playability: Slice and dice and mash

Killer is Dead is a third person action hacker, shooter, seducer and more. The variety of difficulty levels makes the game accessible to beginners and a worthy challenge to professional players. However some serious button and keyboard mashing will be required. Occasionally fastidious combinations (five and more keys in a row to unleash secret strikes and other finishes) are interspersed among rather straight forward controls. The introductory tutorial is near absolutely cryptic but the game generally does an adequate job at providing hints and tips.

Annoyance: Blabbering teen age sidekick

Mondo’s sidekick provides more aggravation than comic relief. Mika is a typical blabbering Japanese anime teenager with hyperbolic emotions and a juvenile sense of humour. While the boss villains are an intriguing mix of Eastern and Western horrors. The average bad monsters that provide kebab meat for your katana are repetitively ugly. And there are a huge number of them! Lots of things seem badly lit in Killer is Dead: dark corridors, dimly lit basements, pitch black caves, dark side of the moon, Mondo’s black suit etc. A bit more colour (aside from blood red and its variations) would have provided a bit of respite to the casual old video gamer.

Beauty: Well endowed female beauties, stylish baddies

Killer is Dead is a good looking Japanese animation that is worthy of Gundam, Astro Boy or Captain Harlock. The voice acting is surprisingly professional given the ridiculously absurd plot, and is backed up by a groovy soundtrack. During his spare time, Mondo is a seriously lecherous (and a bit desperate for bedroom action) guy, quite reminiscent of geeky Japanese salary men that one may encounter in the Tokyo subway. There are some girl missions between the episodes of the main campaign. Our hero tries to seduce a variety of well endowed pouting women with gifts. Special spectacles allow him to see through the clothes of the ladies and drool over their lingerie. Seriously? Seriously…

The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Slightly deranged 7/10

Killer is Dead is a slightly deranged video game, it has stylish, if classical animations. It is a very Japanese endeavour with the classic tropes of anime beauties, slicing katana action, folk lore villains and a peculiar brand of Nippon humour. Throw in Tokyo pace with a Western mix frenzy to obtain a concoction that is sometimes delicious, and sometimes barely palatable. Those who have lived in Japan or are already well versed in Japanese pop culture might actually find the plot relatively benign. Killer is Dead is a slightly deranged but entertaining video game if you’ve got an open mind.