Death shouldn’t be feared. In Death Coming by, Zodiac Interactive, death is a hell of a lot of fun. That is, as long as you play on the side of Death, and not on the receiving end. With its cute graphics and easily accessible gameplay, killing has never been so much fun. But is it any good?
I wouldn’t believe you for a second if you said you hadn’t killed an innocent bystander in a game. Skyrim springs to mind, anything from the GTA series or the more recent Streets of Rogue – there’s always an avenue to kill someone minding their own business in a game.
Death Coming is precisely that: killing a quota of people going about their daily lives, with the minimum fuss and most effective outcome: death. Your nameless character has recently died but has made a deal with Death where if you meet the tally he requires, you’ll be returned to mortality again, as if nothing happened. Leave your conscience at the door.
A Hand in Death, Think Final Destination
Death cannot directly reap souls, he can only influence the environment around his targets, and he has given you that same power. Unlike the power of judgement given to you in Peace, Death! You can’t click on an NPC to kill them; you have to set up a trap to take their soul. The majority of the time this means waiting for them to walk into your path, later on, it’s about timing it right to take out as many people as you can.
Death Coming is very much like the Final Destination movies – an often elaborate Mouse Trap time setup where the outcome is murder, death, kill. There is even the pane on glass deaths from some of the earlier movies.
In the earlier levels of the seven available, you can open up manhole covers for NPCs to fall down. Other easier prey is clicking on an air conditioning unit or coconut to drop from the sky on an unsuspecting figure. Later levels combine environmental aspects such as the weather – you can use the wind, rain and snow to concoct an ingenious death setup.
As satisfying as it is to kill these poor people, there’s a goal other than the set quota. There is usually a few specific targets you need to terminate, and they stay as a legend onscreen to remind you who they are. These are often harder to get in one go, so sometimes you have to build momentum to their death.
When these targets die, there is an ominous sound of their soul leaving their body (it’s mildly disturbing but expected for killing all these ‘innocent’ people). They leave this plain with a little bit of dialogue, eluding to their role in life.
There isn’t one set way to eliminate the NPCs in Death Coming as you have multiple approaches. You will most likely follow the same path as everyone else, just selecting each calamity in a different order as there is a wide selection of interactive objects through every stage.
Death Coming Has a Lot to Unlock
Each stage has a set amount of objects to locate. In the menu, you will be given hints as to what those objects are as they are in silhouette form, so it boils down to a process of elimination. That said, you can often drift over the play area and mindlessly click everything in the hope of finding each tool for Death.
Early on in Death Coming, when you kill off a decent amount of people, you will alert the police. The police are in the form of angels, and they float around looking for anything untoward. You’ll be able to see their line of sight – much like a Metal Gear game. It seems simple to avoid but sometimes when clicking an object, they fly past at the right minute, and you lose a heart. Once all of them have gone, it’s game over.
Aside from the police, you can’t really die (as you’re already dead) so to determine the difficulty; it comes down to how many people you can kill. The more, the better. There are three trophies; gold, silver and bronze – you need the latter to progress. Some of the objects can be used once or twice, but others have one use, so the more you can kill off in one hit, the better. Oh – and you have mini-games as well, which are incredibly tough!
Is There an Afterlife?
The graphical style of the game is very cute. Presented in isometric form, it’s relatively easy to see all your prey and the objects around. The visual style takes the edge off of the tone: you’re killing innocent people just so that you can come back to life. It’s so much fun, it really is!
Much like Lemmings, when somebody dies, they let out a cry, and anyone within the vicinity will go into a mild panic. In fear of coming across as cruel (you have to be in this game), it is so much fun to hear them scream, only to run into your next trap of electrocution, releasing a bloodthirsty vampire or tampering with a ski lift so that they fall from the sky. Sometimes onto an unsuspecting person having a picnic.
After finishing the game, will you go back to it? I did. There are so many items to interact with, and like a time trial, you want to better your score each time to unlock the gold trophy – which is surprisingly hard. Death Coming was well worth the money and a conversation piece. Even some of your most balanced friends will have a sinister streak in them that gets a kick out of seeing an innocent bystander being stung to death by angry hornets.