Killer is Dead screenshot
Killer is Dead screenshot

Killer Is Dead is a classic Suda 51 project. A hyper-stylised action game with more nods to western cinema than you can shake a katana at. It's a gory brawler with a great look.

Playing as Mondo Zappa, a suited assassin for the Bryan Execution Firm, you fly around the world, killing for cash. The levels themselves are the usual surreal fare - at one point you're fighting in a house inspired by Through The Looking Glass, rescuing an Alice-alike. Combat is primarily focused on Zappa's blade, with a gun mounted onto his left arm providing long-range cover. Impressive-looking combos, guard crushes and dodges are staples, with a nifty, black and white slice-and-dice finishing move for those who can time their counters right. It's an interesting game - more style than substance so far, but then that's Suda's recent output.

Whenever I talk to people about Killer Is Dead, however, I don't really explain any of that. Instead, I talk about one of its mini-games, which is so preposterously sexist that I'm having a hard time believing it's not been streamed directly from a certain '80s comedian's brain.

So... erm... in Killer is Dead there are 'Mondo Girl' missions, in which you have to pick up women. You do this by putting on special X-ray 'Gigolo' glasses and, when they glance away or are otherwise distracted, look at their breasts. There's even a little pop-up message that implores you when to quickly look away, explicitly pointing out that she's distracted.

Successful 'peeking' fills the Gigolo bar, but there's a risk/reward element: if you get caught letching, she'll slap you in the face and leave the bar. Successfully fill the meter and you can offer your 'beauty' a gift of say, a diamond encrusted watch, or money, or a CD, or a f**king macaroon, among others. You have to select which one you think she'll like the most, which seems to be the money or the nice watch.

Perv long enough, and offer the right materialistic gifts, and you'll be rewarded with a thumbs-up followed by a cutscene of Zappa taking the girl home, before (literally) climaxing in some sort of primeval howl that may very well be the unsexiest thing ever commited to history.

Sorry, what?

I'd be tempted, if I hadn't seen it myself, to write this off as some sort of crazy, Suda 51 thing that will all explain itself over the course of the game. But, having played it, I can't. It's one of the most desperately sad things I've seen in a video game for a long time, and I've played Dead or Alive.

Killer is Dead screenshot

Beyond the incredibly uncomfortable nature of what you're being asked to do - which is objectify a simpering, submissive woman, look at her vagina for as long as you can get away with for, sigh, points, before giving her cash for sex... actually, there isn't a lot beyond that, is there? It's total shite. Oh, and she's called a 'target' on the pre-mission screen.

It's not the only instance of objectification in the game; almost every female character I've encountered so far has had their breasts out. The one that hasn't is a whiny brat who's established almost immediately as being too stupid to pass an exam that Mondo has easily completed.

I should say that I'm not that far through the game, having only played the preview build. Maybe it will all be explained away. But I can't really think how. And, well, even if it is, it's still pretty unacceptable. Making women - or men, for that matter - sexually appealing is one thing. Looking at a woman's breasts while she attempts to talk to you and then giving her money to take her home is quite another. The fact that you're presented with the girl's measurements pre-'mission', and that you don't even attempt to talk to her, compounds a tawdry mess.

There are plenty of games out there that are guilty of this kind of thing, but none - that I've played - take it as far as this. It's not a matter of prudishness - the closest I'll get to the word prude is if I'm misspelling prune. It's just grasping teenage fap-bait that makes Suda, who I've met and came across like a nice enough guy, seem like someone beamed in from 1970.

It's embarrassing to watch, let alone play. Oh, and the mini-game itself is also total rubbish.

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User Comments

sswam's Avatar


"fly around the world, killing for cash" vs "look at boobs and pick up"

Every guy wants a pair of X-ray gigolo glasses, some pretend they don't.

I don't doubt this game is sexist, shallow, glorifies violence and killing.
Posted 02:54 on 23 July 2013
Mintyrebel's Avatar


Wait, will this game even be allowed out if Mr Cameron has his way?
Posted 15:25 on 22 July 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


"the closest I'll get to the word prude is if I'm misspelling prune"

That made me laugh! :D
Posted 13:17 on 22 July 2013
s_h_a_d_o's Avatar

s_h_a_d_o@ Los_VALOS

Cultural tradition is no excuse... female genital mutilation is considered to be "culturally significant" by some societies... still doesn't make it right. :/
Posted 06:11 on 22 July 2013
Los_VALOS's Avatar


Well.. A japanese, anime-ish game isn't exactly the oddest place to find disproportonate boobs and objectification.. Kind of a genre thing. Though this does seem completely stupid and unnecessary, but hey Japan's kind of behind the curve on this issue. It's a problem of culuture.
I'd still hate it if you got hung up on this stuff in your reviews though, boobs are completely ignorable bad gameplay is not. So go easy on them these games are kinda made for Japanese gamers and otakus. Not Anita Sarkeesian.
Posted 23:54 on 21 July 2013
Rayqauzay's Avatar


Do we have to play the missions or are they skippable?

(Suda make No more heroes 3 please)
Posted 16:56 on 21 July 2013


Is it trying to parody those erotic flash games?
At best it should be maybe a one scene kind of deal that last 10 seconds if it HAS to be in the game, but literally copying a erotic flash game and putting it as a mini game is... tasteless. And, as said, is objectifying as hell.
Posted 23:41 on 19 July 2013
DunhamMD's Avatar


Thx for that comment on this game. When ever I read about Killer is Dead exactly THIS came up in my mind. A maybe awesome game put to death because of this tasteless pervert-mini-game.
Im not 7 years old playing larry, this is some much more (read: deatiled) way of objectifying. Its not about women in particular, its about objectifying humans. The male leadrole seems to be a mindless shallow jerk. Killer7 had much more depth than this game seems to have.
Posted 20:34 on 19 July 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Posted 18:42 on 19 July 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 30/08/2013
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 3,046 8
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