A Retrograde Look at Brutal Legend

Looking back fondly at the most metal game in the history of metal…and games.

Ah, Brutal Legend, also known as ‘that Jack Black’ game. Developer Double Fine’s love letter to all things metal and fantasy in the form of a quirky little game with a big cast and a lot of heart.

Brutal Legend has a special place in my heart. It is by no means the best game out there but it really pulled on all the strings in the right way. The music was amazing, the aesthetic really cool and the gameplay, though not revolutionary, it was easy and fun.

So sit back, put on some metal and let me ramble on about the one, the only, Brutal Legend (also a game in dire need of a remake in my opinion).

Brutal Legend scren 1

The Aesthetic

METAL! This game is one big homage to the metal of old. There are broken statues of giant swords and guitars coming out of the ground, while a volcano is constantly erupting in the background. It doesn’t get any more metal than that, you might say, but it does!

There are lion-like creatures dressed up in the same signature makeup that the members of the band KISS have. There are giant metal spiders that weave bass strings and there is a lot of S&M imagery and clothing…hmm, it’s kinda hot though…anyway, this game’s world is amazing to look at.

Everything about it just screams metal. A lot of the imagery was inspired by old metal covers, which is a nice little nod.

Brutal legend screen 3

The Gameplay

The gameplay mixed the typical hack ‘n slash with some RTS mechanics. It also featured a very small quick time event mechanic akin to that of the Guitar Hero series and an okay-ish driving system. The game gives players a battleaxe for slaying, a magical guitar (also for slaying), a hotrod and an army to command with some simple RTS controls. All of the weapons are customizable with mods, which just adds to all of the fun.

Brutal Legend screen 2

The Music!

If I could marry this game’s soundtrack, I would. Not only does it feature music by so many metal bands like Motorhead, Black Sabbath, but it also has characters and based on and voiced by legendary figures in the genre, including Ozzy Osbourne, the late Lemmy Kilmister (miss you, man) Lita Ford and Rob Halford and not to mention Jack Black as the titular character. The cast of this game is insane.


Seriously, if you are still not convinced, what other game lets you melt the faces off of enemies with a rocking guitar solo? The game is playable on Xbox One through the backwards compatibility system. Go forth! Go slay in the name of metal!