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Video Game / Never Dead

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Elation through Mutilation

Trapped in this "no man's land"
Where angels dare to tread
Forever banned to the realms Of the Never Dead.

Bryce Boltzmann is an ugly, bad-natured bum with personal habits that would make a rat vomit. He's inept at his job, his partner is more like a parole officer and he uses self harm to escape his problems.

He's also a demon slayer with a murder-boner for the Devil King himself, a master gunfighter and swordsman, and mankind’s only hope against the coming apocalypse.

And he can’t die. Ever.

Never Dead is a linear Third-Person Shooter developed by Rebellion and published by Konami. It follows Bryce as he slaughters his way through hordes of demonic minions on the path to the Demon King Astaroth, as well as revealing the cause of his immortal predicament through flashbacks. Bryce is truly immortal, without need to breathe, eat or wash (although the latter is largely a personal choice), and when gorily dismembered he merely needs to reacquire his limbs by hopping, crawling or rolling over to reattach them. Given a few moments he can even regrow his entire body from his head alone, but this does not make him indestructible. His enemies can digest his head into immortal, inert ooze given the opportunity, trapping him in a conscious, agonized state for all eternity without respite.

To prevent this he wields a massive collapsible sword and any guns he can get his hands on, brings down the environment on his foes heads and constantly evolves new uses of his abilities to crush the endless hordes of abominations that confront him.

What results is The Suffering meets Death Becomes Her.

Panned at release by most review outlets in January 2012, most agreeing that it was an amusing story but a mediocre game, Neverdead is available on PS3 and Xbox 360, and provides hours of goofy dark humour, giddy ultra-violence and snarky dialogue.

Provides Examples Of:

  • And I Must Scream: If the Puppies manage to eat Bryce's head and he fails to escape, his head spends eternity in the digestive tract.
  • Anti-Hero: Even if he will bust his ass to protect the innocent (usually right up the middle), Bryce is still a prick. He treats everyone disrespectfully, destroys millions of dollars in public property mostly for fun and has no consideration for either the possessions of his friends or the minds of the innocent civilians who might be a bit distraught at watching a smelly hobo rip off his own head to shoot hoops.
  • Automatic Crossbows: In his formative years Bryce dual wielded Crossbow Assault Rifles.
  • Batman Gambit: Astaroth's scheme for spying on the mortal realm by using Bryce as a proxy. If Bryce had decided to give up in disgrace and retire from the demon slaying business, it's pretty likely that the next Medium would never be found. It's thanks to Bryce's vendetta that he wound up finding Nikki and kicking off the new resurrection plot.
  • Battle Couple: Bryce and Cypher.
  • BFS: Bryce's Butterfly Sword, an oversized balisong.
  • Butt-Monkey: The universe seems to exist to make Bryce miserable.
  • Broken Ace: Bryce was once so glorious, and has become so repulsive.
  • Camp Gay: Sangria has very clear overtones of this, with his effeminate dress sense and constantly suggestive dialogue.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: It's all over this game like a splatter of viscera.
  • Dance Party Ending: We see Nikki in concert.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: An impressive amount of the environment can be totally torn to shreds by combat, and the destruction of nearby scenery does big damage to any enemy type. In fact it's possible to customize Bryce to maximize the ease and effectiveness of killing foes by bringing down the ceiling on them.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: One of the game's favorite running gags is just how abusive Arcadia is to Bryce, continually mutilating him to keep him in line. Then again, Bryce can take any punishment she gives out, and seeing as he's so ridiculously old and jaded by immortality it seems hard to keep his attention otherwise.
  • Down the Drain
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Bryce was already a class-A demon slaying machine before he had immortality imposed on him.
  • Escort Mission: A big part of the game is made up of keeping Arcadia or various civilians alive while monsters try to nibble them. Unusually this is a fairly easy objective as Arcadia can handle herself pretty well and reviving fallen comrades is quick and easy.
  • Evil Counterpart: Alex. Like Bryce, he's an immortal demon slayer but where as Bryce still has some nobility and goes out of his way to save Arcadia, Alex is a murderous asshole who is heavily implied to have intentionally killed his partners.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Astaroth. Sullivan has a deep voice too, but he's also impeccably, creepily pleasant.
  • Fallen Hero: Bryce fell so hard all his arms and legs fell off. Then he pulled them back on and got drunk.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The demonic minions all have inoffensive and childish sounding names, from the quadrupedal man-sized piranhas called "Puppies", to the behemoths known as "Panda Bears"
  • Gallows Humor: Bryce has a flippant and sarcastic attitude to nearly everything, even his own dismemberment.
  • Girls with Guns: Arcadia has a powerful collapsible sub machine gun that she is a dab hand with. Although her favourite target tends to be Bryce.
  • Guns Akimbo: Bryce's preferred methods of wielding fire arms, regardless of size or practicality.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alex, although he was already a creepy, partner-murdering ghoul.
  • Idiot Hero: Bryce is pretty appallingly dumb, often needing Arcadia to point him in the right direction. He even seems to have trouble counting.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Averted with Bryce; when he was cursed with immortality, he was young and handsome and basically looked like a Final Fantasy character. However, even after being cursed with immortality, he apparently continued to age into middle age before his aging stopped, ending up looking like Frank West in the modern day (though hundreds of years of depression and alcoholism may also have had something to do with his modern appearance).
  • Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear: And her beer stash. And her comics. And snuggled on her bed. And bathed his head in her washing machine. And-
  • Left Hanging: Bryce ends the game trapped in Hell and perfectly happy it seems.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Bryce was this when he was young, handsome and optimistic, apparently from a line of similar heroes.
  • The Load: Nikki is defenceless, whiny and self-entitled as all get out. She's also the last Medium, and her enchantments allow Bryce to carve up Arch Demons like turducken.
  • Losing Your Head: Several of the puzzles require Bryce to pop off his head and maneuver it somewhere. Beware however that he's vulnerable at this point to the Puppies.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: A big part of the game's charm is watching something horrible happen to Bryce that makes his body blast apart into disparate limbs, then watch his head bounce around pathetically trying to reunite with enough parts of himself to get revenge.
  • Made of Plasticine: While he may be immortal, Bryce is quite easily dismembered by enemies.
  • Magical Eye: Bryce's power comes from his glowing right eye.
  • Pop-Star Composer: The game has a theme scored by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Bryce's superpower, the main gameplay dynamic and the game's main comedy set-piece. It's impossible not to laugh as Bryce's head rolls around on the floor, arms and legs attached to his cheeks, guns blazing and limbs gyrating spasmodically, as he mumbles his frustration at not being able to find his torso.
  • Obviously Evil: Alex. He even jokes about it. Also, Commander Sulivan's voice actor does a wonderful job of making even mundanely pleasant lines seem sinisterly intrusive, hinting at his vile nature.
  • Redemption Equals Death: To ultimately redeem his failure to kill Astaroth and protect his wife, Bryce is willingly dragged into hell along with his nemesis, still shooting him in the face. He then calls up Arcadia from the Stygian Abyss to tell her he's okay, because he's awesome like that.
    • Alex, when betrayed by Astaroth, willing relinquishes his immortality to Bryce in order to give him a fighting chance.
  • Revenge: One of Bryce's main goals to get payback on Astaroth for killing Cypher and cursing him with immortality.
  • Sad Clown: It's likely that Bryce's goofy attitude and bad jokes are the only things keeping him from going completely insane. The game's director Shinta Nojiri even confirmed this in an interview.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Most of the demons are surprisingly good about this, but Bryce of course can fire an entire body from his neck hole in seconds with little more than a plume of pale gore and a grunt.
  • Shout-Out: Alex has clear overtones of two Metal Gear characters, namely Vamp for his appearance, combat methods and flamenco body language and the Cyborg Ninja with the way his glowing red eye follows his Flash Step.
  • Smug Snake: Sangria. He's essentially a snooty, foppish aristocrat in the body of a demon.
  • Taking the Bullet: Cypher.
    • Bryce does this often; as he has little to fear from most projectile weapons. He even does this with gravity when Arcadia falls from the top of the NADA skyscraper and he cushions her impact using his own body.
  • Tsundere: Arcadia really detests Bryce for being such a disgusting asshole, but she softens on him significantly by the time he saves her life with a blood transfusion.
  • Tragic Hero: Bryce failed at the last hurdle 500 years ago, and paid for his error every single day since.
  • The Unfought: Astaroth implies that the God of Demons, the birth of whom informs his entire motivation for invading Earth, is the baddest mamma-jamma in the Never Dead universe. His defeat prevents Bryce from fighting or even seeing it in it's true form, which is probably for the best.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Never Dead can seem uncannily reminiscent of Clover Studios's cult classic God Hand at times. An abrasive yet skilled lout with a supernatural body part forced upon him is dragged by the nose by his abusive female colleague to defeat an army of demons. Ultimately the lout has to fight up to the top of a demonic ziggurat to prevent the sacrifice of a young woman to summon a devil God onto the Earth. At the last hurdle he is delayed by an evil counterpart who bears an identical but opposite supernatural body part, who when defeated is betrayed by his demon masters and gives up the appendage to the hero so that he can defeat his ultimate adversary.
  • Womb Level: The battle with Sullivan. The last areas of the Demon's Nest are also a bit vaginal.