It’s been hard to be a Suda 51 fan over the past few years. Since Killer7, Suda’s works have either been pawned off on other directors with him being given headline status for whatever reason(Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw) or his crazier notions for a game being subdued by higher interests(Shadows of the Damned).
The collaboration between the two developers began around six years ago, just as Suda 51 finished work on Killer 7. Mikami says the developer showed him some concepts for a game he hadn’t started work on. The dark story attracted Mikami to the project and the pair of them set to work.
“The story was pretty different to begin with,” says Mikami, “It was a lot darker and also was far more complex. Right at the beginning, we didn’t really have much humour in the game, but the Grasshopper (Manufacture, the developer) staff brought jokes into it and I think it turned out pretty well.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. As I’ve said, I enjoyed SotD. It was quite good, and fun to play. But it lacked a certain spark, as Louis Cypher would say. I think that spark was the craziness Suda originally had in mind. Sadly, we’ll never see that game.
I’ll settle for this one.
Make no mistake, KILLER IS DEAD is nuts. The best kind of crazy that you’d expect from Suda in his prime.
No, he didn’t direct this game either, so it still isn’t really a Suda 51 ‘trip’ per se, but he did create the story and was involved in the writing, and does it ever show. The main character, Mondo Zappa(no relation to Sumio Mondo from the Kill The Past games, as Suda has insistently claimed), encounters everything from Yakuza who can summon tigers from their tattoos to syringe-wielding nurses who just might show an interest in our bespectacled gigolo if he proves he has the guts to handle her.
Why must you cause so much trouble?
I would affectionately call KILLER IS DEAD a mix of Killer7‘s crazy storytelling, No More Heroes’ delightful swordplay, and Yakuza’s debonair approach to lady killing. (Metaphorically speaking.)
Yes, much ‘journalistic’ drama has been stirred up over the fact that Mondo can seduce all manner of women into a night on the town and then, perhaps, a night in the bed with him. Calling these scenes offensive seems kind of silly once you actually play them.
Hilarious is more appropriate. Mondo has to woo the ladies with naught but assorted gifts and meticulous use of a charming look cast to a desired lady’s eyes(among other places).
KILLER IS DEAD is not perfect. But it is fun to play, has style to spare, will make you laugh on more than one occasion, and reassures us that somewhere inside that assuredly busy mind of his, Suda 51 is still more than just a little insane.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.