"If it's a challenge you want, then it's a deadly game you'll get! We shall see just who is 'average'"
— 'Dr. Neurosis in the intro.
An interactive movie game similar to Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, created and published by ReadySoft for MS-DOS in late 1995. As in those games, you have to input commands at the right time during the movie or face sudden death, and have to retry. Compared to Dragon's Lair, Brain Dead 13 gives the player slightly more time to make decisions and actually tells you when you entered a wrong command (instead of killing you, as Dragon's Lair does), but there's much less of an idea of what you're supposed to do and when (and some of the inputs are downright counterintuitive). Combine that with Everything Trying to Kill You and you've got yourself a challenge.You star as computer fixit Lance Galahad, who is hired on a routine repair job to the creepy old castle just outside town, but discovers that he's been tricked into fixing the computer of Mad Scientist Dr. Nero Neurosis, who now plans on using his master server to take over the world. Unfortunately for Lance, he makes the mistake of pointing out how cliche Neurosis' plot is, which, of course, doesn't exactly go over well. Lance finds himself on the run from the doctor's psychotic henchman, Fritz, and now has to find his way through the oddly large castle, fight the various other villains who live there, make it back to Neurosis' computer and shut it down, taking out Neurosis for good.The game features several unique, vibrant areas and characters, including the seductive but sadistic Vivi, who has the intent of giving you the best, and last, makeover you'll ever have, and Moose, the Frankenstein's Monster with the brain of a mindless jock. The areas are interesting but challenging, since standing still at any point will leave you dead faster than you can blink.
This game provides examples of:
Acid Pool: At the beginning of the Giant Statue stage, this acid pool will form under the ground tiles Lance is standing on, and if you wait too long, they will wobble and collapse under his weight and cause him to fall in and drown!
There is also another acid pool in the fountain, and he will fall in if he can't find something to grab onto, like a gargoyle statue. He will also fall into the same pool in other death scenes.
Affably Evil: Vivi, to both Lance (who she tries to chop) and Fritz (who she tosses into a spiked coffin).
Air Guitar: Lance does this in a victory pose after defeating Dr. Neurosis and watching his lair explode.
Amazing Technicolor Population: Every foe that Lance encounters has a different kind of skin: Fritz's skin is kinda grayish-yellow, Vivi's skin is a lighter shade of purple, and Moose's skin is forest green. Only Lance himself has even a vaguely healthy human skin tone.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: When the game was first released in the U.S., its original box cover art shows Fritz unloading a wide range of weapons under his trenchcoat in all console versions. When the game became localized for Japanese releases in October 1996, it is averted in the box art for the PlayStation version (same as in the American release), but inverted when the Japanese Sega Saturn version box art◊ is very different, in that it adds Red-HeadedIdiot Hero Lance Galahad right next to Fritz, who looks ready to slice him with a chainsaw while our hero is struggling to stay alive, indicating that Japanese Fritz is hardcore! Real peachy, Japan.
An Arm and a Leg: Lance can end up dead like this in a "manicure" if you don't help him escape Vivi's attempts to cut off his hand.
And Starring: Parodied in the game box cover art, shown above, which says, "Starring Fritz".
Ax-Crazy: Fritz. More like "hook, harpoon, chainsaw" crazy, but you get the idea.
Badass Arm-Fold: Lance makes a pose like this in resurrection scenes and in the final confrontation, showing that he is brave in the face of certain death.
Badass Normal: One of the two reasons why Lance is alive (and kicking) among a castleful of monsters and undead beings.
Bat out of Hell: The bats in the Trophy Room. Somewhat downplayed when one of them (a giant bat) wraps around Lance and starts playfully chewing on his head while Lance gets a slightly irritated look, in one scene that is less of a death scene and more of a cutesy mosquito bite scene.
Batter Up: In one part of the scene, Moose wields one giant baseball bat, intending to bash Lance's brains out if you're not quick or careful.
Bears Are Bad News: In one death scene in the Trophy Room, a bear rug comes to life and mauls Lance down to the ground, and there is a Discretion Shot in which his body parts (green ooze, bones, eyeballs, baseball cap) fly over the place.
Big "NO!": Dr. Neurosis does this on noticing that Fritz has been tricked into completely damaging his computer and machinery after Lance defeats him; this is followed by the Big Bad's shout of "Fritz, you imbecile!"
Big Red Button: Lance blows up Neurosis and his computer with one of these.
Bloodless Carnage: Despite all the horrible ways to die, none of them show any blood or gore. The only exception is that there is a scene with the red blood in the transfusion bag, and that is in the resurrection scene when Lance gets his blood back in the "Vivi's Salon" sequence.
Building Swing: While being chased up the stairs to Moose's room, Lance is stopped by a gap at the summit of the stairs. What does he do? He grabs a dangling chain in front of him and swings across the gap to safety near the entrance.
Butt Monkey: Fritz, who has a chance of getting injured in every single room. Let alone the final battle....
Chekhov's Gun/It May Help You on Your Quest: The eyeballs from the rooms of the twin witches. It later helps Lance out for use as a tetherball weapon against Fritz in the final confrontation. Of course, this still doesn't answer the question of why Lance picked up the eyeballs in the first place.
The Door Slams You: This happens to the centipede in the wine cellar, except that when it chases Lance towards the exit, he opens the door and intentionally slams it into its face, putting it out of commission.
Eaten Alive: Quite a common death sequence. Fritz will eat Lance in several scenes when he catches him; two separate fates along this line occur within seconds of each other in Vivi's Salon (a ridiculously tiny spider will swallow Lance whole if he doesn't blow it away, and Vivi will be unable to resist draining his blood if he waits too long to choose a shave, manicure, or facial); two wrong paths in the maze can lead to Lance being devoured by a mutant frog or a carnivorous plant...
Epic Fail: During the Vivi's Salon scene in which Fritz escapes from the spiked coffin, he puts on a spiked arm with a switch,note after which you can escape death by the Beautifier but just as Fritz is charging at Lance, he trips over a skull.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: You've got a haunted mansion owned by your averageMad Scientist bent on world domination, and full of his creations - including a giant robotic statue in the hedge maze and his own spin on Frankenstein's Monster. In the hallways, you've got ghosts, walking skeletons, giant man-eating worms, and a stove with sentient fire. The maze has living man-eating plants. There's a vampire running a hair salon in the basement, and man-eating broom-riding witches in the towers. It's a little surprising there isn't some kind of man-eating sea monster in the sewers.
Fire-Breathing Weapon/Kill It with Fire: Fritz uses the flamethrower to charbroil Lance's head in one death scene. And as if that wasn't enough, the imp reappears to blow on the charbroiled skull, rendering it like dust in the wind.
Another death scene shows Fritz cutting off Lance's scalp with his sword or razor blade, making it fall off and exposing his brain.
If you look closely, the lairs of the two witches are both adorned with lots of rugs and coverings and even wallpaper made out of human skins stitched together haphazardly.
Foreshadowing/Rule of Symbolism: During the intro, while Lance's voice speaks to Fritz about his computer problems, there is a purple spider in the darkness that is chasing an inchworm with big eyes and red hair, seemingly devouring it before it returns to life and gets chased by said spider again. This definitely foreshadows the whole Chase Scene, as the purple spider symbolizes Fritz, and the inchworm symbolizes our hero himself.
Game-Breaking Bug: In the 3DO port, pre-Version 1.1, when you chose the shave in Vivi's Funeral Salon, just when she was about to cut off your head with her Sinister Scythe... all of a sudden the game would turn black and you would just get sent back to the Main Menu screen for no reason other than a glitch. Nervous Nick of ScrewAttack even lampshades this in his review of the 3DO port.
Hard Head: Fritz. During the confrontation on the stairs, Lance uses a big, strong iron hammer to whack Fritz on the head, which only makes him suffer a minor concussion until he gets up and chases him again. This is even lampshaded by Frankomatic.
Hat Damage: Happens when Lance is impaled by a pit of spikes in one death scene, as his own baseball cap, hair and all, is pierced by spikes.
Somewhat averted in other death scenes, as no matter how many times he gets doused in acid or gets his skin and/or clothing torn off by thorns or some other means, his cap somehow survives intact, as if it's Made of Indestructium.
The Hedge of Thorns: This hedge of thorns has formed a giant maze, and they can be deadly: In one death scene, if Lance goes the wrong way, he will accidentally run into the thorny hedge and come back out as a skeleton; in another, if he goes through the wrong gate and is trapped, a tentacle vine will grab him while he tries to get out and pull him into the hedge!
I'm a Humanitarian: Several of the deaths involve Fritz eating Lance somehow. Also, the witches do this if you die in their rooms as well.
I'm Melting: In one death scene in the cocoon chamber, a spray of acid hits Lance's face, and it could be either Type A or Type D, but either of them results in his entire face and head melting (except for the eyeballs) along with his entire body, which melts away into nothingness at all.
The entire rest of the game is really one big lampshade hanging for Horror and Sci-Fi tropes as well.
Last Grasp at Life: In one of the death scenes of the Giant Statue stage, after Lance falls into the Acid Pool under the collapsing ground tile, which flies and lands back into the acid and crushes him, the camera cuts down to a close-up of his hands rising and clutching one tile as he tries in vain to pull himself out of the acid before one of them twitches and then becomes still.
And, of course, even if Lance dies by electrocution or any other means of attack in Moose's scenario, the thunderbolt can bring our hero back to life in one resurrection scene. Lightning CAN do anything, indeed.
Living Statue: There is a giant statue at the end of the maze, and it will come up with nifty ways to kill Lance if he doesn't stop it.
MacGyvering/Solid Gold Snot: In the intro, Lance sees that the only way to fix Dr. Neurosis' computer is to find some connection on its core, like bubble gum. Failing that, Lance finds Fritz picking his own nose and uses his snot as a substitute. As soon as he fixes that, all hellbreaks loose!
Made of Plasticine/Critical Existence Failure: In one death scene of the final confrontation, when Lance gets shot multiple times, one bullet goes through his forehead, followed by many bullets that reduce him to swiss cheese and consume his entire body until he is nothing but his eyeballs that fall down.
Lance:[to Dr. Neurosis] Hey, New-free!!! It's just me and you!!! Frankomatic: Uh, "It's just you and me!" sounds better, Lance.
Male Gaze: Vivi says she's a little bit "behind". Guess what's appearing onscreen a bit after she says it?
Man-Eating Plant: If Lance clings onto the hilt of the Giant Statue's trident for too long, he'll get flung into the jaws of a yellow, vile plant that can swallow him in a gulp in one death scene.
Man on Fire: Lance, in one death scene involving a furnace.
The Many Deaths of You: Tons and tons of ways to die. Of which only a third of them are shown in this video. The ways range from cartoony to very violent yet cartoony, such as Lance having his spine ripped out of his body.
The Maze: The first area of the garden in a hedge maze, where any and every wrong move equals death. The hallways themselves can be thought of as mazes, though it's really more of an exploration thing: unless you're too slow, you won't be penalized for going the wrong way.
Meaningful Name/Theme Naming: Lance's last name, Galahad, has an English origin that means "pure, noble and selfless", and named after one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. The first name of Dr. Nero Neurosis, likewise, has a Latin origin that means "powerful", named after the Roman Emperor Nero; and his last name is derived from a mental disorder, less severe than psychosis, marked by anxiety or fear. No wonder this mad scientist wants to rule the world with an iron fist.
Mundane Made Awesome: The first thing that Lance manages to avoid death in Vivi's Salon is... by blowing away a tiny spider that would have swallowed him whole with a deadly bite!
Mushroom Man: Lance will encounter these mushroom people in the garden maze in one death scene, and without warning, one of them will jump up so high, it will explode and spray him with its spores that can cause little mushrooms to sprout all over his body. This video explains it all.]
Never Smile at a Crocodile: If you go to the kitchen in another way, there is a crocodile wearing chef's garb and holding a meat cleaver. And it can chop off Lance's head and make it fly and land on his neck in an upside-down position in one death scene.
Non-Dubbed Grunts: Evident in the Japanese dub and all other foreign language dubs of the game, especially with Lance's laughter; his muffled speech when he is gagged by Vivi; and his dying groans, grunts, and screams in death scenes. Also evident is Fritz's unintelligible gibberish, which is so obvious that other game programmers around the world didn't need another foreign language speaking voice actor to do the dubbing for Fritz.
Not Now, Kiddo: Happens in Vivi's Funeral Salon, when Vivi asks Lance if he's in a hurry and he answers, "Yeah, lady, there's this freak of nature chasing me and—" but she shushes him by wrapping the spider web barber cloth around him and telling him to wait until later. Just then, Fritz, whom Lance referred to as the "freak of nature" who's coming after him, stumbles into the same salon, catching Lance's and Vivi's attention.
Off with His Head!: In some scenes when Lance's head gets cut off or knocked off or torn off or bitten off. Of course, this becomes Pulling Himself Together by his head rejoining itself to his body thanks to the power of resurrection.
Oh Crap: Fritz when he realizes what Lance was doing with the carpet...
Palette Swap: The blue witch and the orange witch are the exact same battle, except everything is flipped horizontally and the witches' palettes are swapped.
The white gorilla in the trophy room uses the exact same wedgie kill scene as Moose.
Also, the giant snake in the maze has the same wraparound and head-biting attack as the centipede in the basement.
Another one can be found with the acid-spitting death by a dragon in the Trophy Room, which is the same as the one used by the Giant Statue in the Garden.
Piano Drop: Works as a Kaizo Trap near the very end of the game, but it can be avoided if you wait until the last possible moment... which is the right moment to press any button and escape.
Piggyback Cute: A non-romantic example in that Lance is the cute rider on piggyback while Frankenstein's MonsterJerk Jock Moose is the vile, ugly mount who tries getting him off yet gets blinded and ridden like a horse while playing "dodge the deadly lightning rods".
Pulling Himself Together: Lance does this in miraculous ways in some scenes whenever he loses a limb, like his hand or his head. Heck, there's even one resurrection scene that has the pieces of his body falling on top of each other and reconnecting him if he dies in the confrontation with Fritz.
Resurrective Immortality: Oh yes! Lance has this from the very start, up to the very end of the gamenote since you have an infinite amount of lives... no matter how many times he gets decapitated, mutilated, doused in acid, etc.
Say My Name: Dr. Neurosis tends to shout Fritz's name a lot, especially in the final confrontation.
Scaled Up: There is a giant snake that can wrap around Lance and eat him up at the maze if you're not quick enough.
Scream Discretion Shot: In one of the death scenes, at the sound of a gong, Lance looks up and becomes shocked as Fritz pounces on him and they both go offscreen. Fritz's arm is then raised up onscreen before it turns on the egg beater, and Lance's scream is heard before Fritz's arm goes back offscreen. The scream is still heard as bits of Lance's hair fly up before fluttering back down. When all of the screaming is done, Lance gets back up heavily damaged and battered, his shirt ripped up, and going bald in black eyes, lasting for a few seconds before Fritz's hook pulls him back down offscreen to finish the job.
Serial Escalation: How many weapons does Fritz have? How insane can the castle's residents get?
Shirtless Scene: Well, temporarily: If Lance can't make a choice of either a shave, manicure or facial quick enough, Vivi will quickly hold his head to her side and pull down both his spider web barber cloth and his shirt, exposing not just his neck, but also his bare chest and his man nipples (!), before taking a bite and draining him of blood!
In one crossroads path scene, Lance will get surrounded by a shark fin that circles around him, and then get pulled downward and eaten up... by Fritz, disguised as a shark and wearing a "crying baby" bib, in homage to Jaws.
The giant bat playfully chewing on Lance's head in the Trophy Room's (rather kid-friendly) death scene is taken from one of the Don Bluth Dragon's Lair games (hence it's much more kid friendly).
The whole final confrontation sequence, which takes place entirely in the dark, is a nod to the start of Magus' first confrontation scene in Chrono Trigger; and the dancing sequence in the shootout is a nod to Disco and its dance moves, the songs like The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" and Village People's "Y.M.C.A.", and the moves homages to those from The Karate Kid and Platoon, and other films.
"Simon Says" Mini-Game: The deadly "manicure" scene is probably this... sort of. And you can tell by the way Vivi's clumsy fingers point in the direction of her next strike of her butcher knife on the chopping block table after her previous, failed one, which tells you that you have to quickly move Lance's hand away at the opposite direction of the way she swings the knife to avoid getting his hand chopped off. For example, if her finger points right on her first failed attempt, his hand must move left on her next attempt. The next sequence follows: Her finger —> down, his hand —> up; her finger —> left, his hand —> right; etc. After her repeated failed attempts, she will tire and say, "Hmmm... this don't look very sharp," thus ending the "manicure".
Skippable Boss: If you do the shave first, Vivi will offer you the facial in her next set of options, which is the end portion of her area - which means the manicure can be skipped completely.
Spiders Are Scary: During the Vivi's Salon sequence, after she tosses Fritz in a spiked coffin, there is a tiny spider that is scary enough to swallow Lance whole with a deadly bite if he doesn't blow it away.
Giant Spider: And speaking of spiders, there is a giant one in the Wine Cellar (where the Creepy Centipede is), and it can use its web shots and poisonous bite to bind and kill Lance if he doesn't watch out.
Spikes Of Doom: Lance can fall into a spike trap hidden by leaves on the ground and get impaled in one death scene if you take the wrong way in The Maze.
Squashed Flat: Happens in one death scene when the giant Living Statue squashes Lance with its big hand and spreads his... paint mess... on its body. This will also happen if Lance doesn't dodge Moose's shoulder charge.
Stealth Pun: You encounter flesh devouring worms in the library. The only speaking person there makes no comment on this.
Also, it's either this or a Visual Pun, but when Vivi wraps Lance up in a spider web barber cloth, she says, "Snug as a bug," when he is like a bug who is caught in a spider web, and is mistaken for a bug a little later by a tiny spider who grabs his face and swallows him whole in a death scene.
Stripped to the Bone: In some scenes when Lance gets... in a squicky manner... reduced to a skeletal pile of bones, like getting doused in acid, or getting pulled apart from his skin in a two-way manner by Fritz! Of course, being as Badass Normal and Genre Savvy as our hero is, he revives from being a pile of bones, back to being flesh and blood.
Take That Kiss: Lance makes one, coupled with a Badass Arm-Fold, to show Fritz that he is not afraid and to dare him to give it all he's got, though our hero is still brave in the face of certain death.
Tired of Running: In the final confrontation with Dr. Neurosis, Lance is faced by Fritz, who wants to unleash Trigger Happy terror upon him by unloading every weapon he's got. Of course, Lance can have a choice of running away again by pressing right first or by pressing left twice, but that would only waste more time in endless chasing. The solution? Lance has to move left once, and then right, in order to show Fritz and Neurosis that our hero is tired of running away, then makes a Badass Arm-Fold and a Take That Kiss to show that he is not afraid and is ready for one more challenge that awaits him.
Too Dumb to Live: Fritz at times, particularly the intro cutscene, where Lance tricks him into thinking his cannon arm had already fired by yelling "BOOM," after which he looks into the barrel to see if it worked and gets shot in the face. It's a good thing he's practically unkillable, huh?
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lance is pretty blasť about going to an ancient macabre-looking castle to fix a large antiquated computer at the center of a laboratory straight out of an old horror movie. And he's completely unimpressed by the evil talking brain and its plans for world conquest.
Unwinnable by Design: If you accidentally run from any of the "big three," then you can't see the ending without restarting.
Vampiric Draining: Vivi will do this to Lance if he doesn't make a choice of either a shave, manicure, or facial quick enough. And the result is downright unpleasant: though over in a split-second, we see Lance visibly shrivelled into a mummy-like state as a result of her appetite.
Villain Opening Scene: The intro starts at Dr. Neurosis' castle, where bats fly and Fritz is summoned by Neurosis to get Lance to fix his computer and then dispose of him so that the villain can succeed in Taking Over the World.
Villainous Breakdown: Fritz's patience begins to visibly wear thin as you progress through timing events where he's the danger. He finally snaps at the end, unloading upon Lance with every ranged weapon he has while blindly charging at our hero. This tunes out Neurosis' demands and pleas for him to stop since he's slowly destroying the doctor's jar in the process.
A Winner Is You: After watching the explosion in Dr. Neurosis' castle, Lance says, "Cool! Back to work!" then makes an Air Guitar of victory and drives away in his truck before the camera pans overhead to a bat that has awoken from its slumber and flies off.