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Video Game / Kingdom of the Dead

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Kingdom of the Dead is an indie First-Person Shooter by Dirigo Games (one-man developer Philip Willey), made in Unity and released on Steam on February 10th, 2022. The game is inspired by older shooters such as Doom, GoldenEye, and Blood. The game is most notable for its black-and-white hand-drawn art style, with every texture having been hand-drawn by the developer (inspired by old EC Comics), giving the game an appearance similar to old Apple Macintosh adventure games such as those by ICOM Simulations or the 2014 game Betrayer.

The game takes place in the late 19th Century, with players taking the role of Agent Chamberlain, the Army General of "the Bureau"/"Project GATEKEEPER", a group dedicated to thwarting the Grim Reaper's attempt to take over the human world with his army of the dead. Chamberlain's reluctant ally is a magic demonic sword named Sitis, which has the power to close the Gates that the Grim Reaper uses to bring his forces to Earth.

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Kingdom of the Dead provides examples of:

  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Cacodemon and Pinky Expies both take much more damage if shot in the eye.
  • Badass Bookworm: According to the game's store page, Chamberlain is a professor turned Army General whose current occupation is battling the hordes of the undead.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshots kill humanoid enemies instantly and are pretty important, since most enemies can otherwise soak quite a lot of shots from the revolver.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Like in many older shooters, there's no need to reload your weapons and you can keep firing them as long as you have bullets for them. The only exception is the double-barrel shotgun, which needs to be reloaded after every double-barrel shot.
  • Continuing is Painful: Dying causes you to lose all the ammo you've acquired throughout a level. You respawn with a small starting amount of ammo. You do get to keep all the guns and secondary objective items you've acquired, but every enemy in the level will respawn as well.
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  • Deliberately Monochrome: The game's graphics are rendered mostly in black-and-white, and hand-drawn at that.
  • Dire Beast: The boss of each level is usually an intelligent animal of tremendous size. The only exception is the Military Commander Ghost and the Final Boss fight with Death ( as well as the Post-Final Boss fight with Sitis).
  • Expy:
    • A few of the enemies are inspired by those from Doom, with clear Expies of the Pinky, Cacodemon, and Mancubus.
    • The boss of the Downtown/Clock Tower level is one for King Kong.
  • Flunky Boss: Most bosses are accompanied by respawning enemies.
  • Foil: While most of the bosses are giant evil animals, the boss of the Artillery Base level is the ghost of a military commander much like yourself. He rides around on a horse and fires at you with a revolver, which actually makes him one of the game's more dangerous bosses.
  • Gatling Good: One of the weapons is a man-portable gatling gun. It tends to be rarer than the other weapons and is typically found towards the end of a level.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Big Bad of the game; referred to as Death, the King of the Dead, and the Grim Reaper.
  • Hand Cannon: The game's revolver appears to be a Colt Walker revolver, which according to many sources was the most powerful handgun in the world until the development of Magnum rounds. However, in-game it does mediocre damage, but kills humanoid enemies instantly with a headshot.
  • Heart Container: Heart Containers can be found hidden in each level; they increase your life meter by one heart each. However, they only apply to the current level and your life meter gets reset to 3 hearts at the start of each new level.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most of the bosses can kill you in one melee hit, but you're fast enough to run circles around them.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: An "Endless Mode" featuring holding out against infinitely spawning waves of enemies in an arena-like level was introduced in the game's first major patch.
  • Post-Final Boss: After fighting your way through the Kingdom of the Dead and defeating Death, you return to your office where you and Sitis come to blows over your decision to accept Death's surrender rather than killing him and taking his power for yourselves. Sitis blows up your office and transforms into a spider/scorpion-like creature with a sword for a tail and chases you around the roof as you shoot back at him.
  • Recurring Boss: The Conqueror Worm shows up multiple times to fight you, appearing twice in the first level as well as at the end of the second level. The Giant Bat also fights you twice, once in the middle and once at the end of the Saw Mill level.
  • Sword Beam: Killing enemies with Sitis charges up his power bar. At full power, you can use alt-fire to launch a powerful energy ball from the sword; this creates a large explosion on impact and deals enough damage to take off nearly a 1/3rd of most bosses' life bar.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Chamberlain and Sitis aren't thrilled to be working with each other, but Chamberlain needs Sitis to close the Gates to the underworld while Sitis seems to be bound to Chamberlain. The two do exchange banter and seem to develop a mutual respect over the course of the game.
  • The Wild West: The game is set in the last days of the Wild West, with an era-appropriate arsenal including a blackpowder muzzleloading revolver, a double barrel shotgun, a lever-action rifle, and a portable gatling gun.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • On medium difficulty there are only about 3 of the Mancubus-like creatures in the entire game, one in the Train level and two in the Kingdom of the Dead. More do appear on the highest difficulty.
    • Spiders only appear in a couple of levels, typically those that take place in outdoor forests.

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