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.
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.
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.