According to the statement made by Motörhead, Lemmy Kilmister, the band's legendary lead singer, died this week as many of us live: playing a video game at home. In his time, Kilmister wasn't known especially as a video game enthusiast, but the rogue god certainly seemed to take a liking to them.
He appeared in Tim Schafer's Brutal Legend as a Kill Master, a bassist, cleric and lord of metal-weaving spiders. Earlier this year, the Steam game Victor Vran announced a Motörhead-themed expansion, seemingly based around the band's visual pastiche of wild west bikers, leather, and skeletons skeletons skeletons. His perch at his local haunt, The Rainbow on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, was at his favourite video poker machine, which he reportedly brought home with him soon before his death. I wonder if he knew there was a Koopaling in Super Mario named after him.
But there is also a more definitive Lemmy entry in the video game kingdom than just guest appearances and downloadable content. He starred in his own video game: 1992's Motörhead for the Commodore Amiga.
Video game Lemmy.
The only game ever made by Kaitsu Software, Motörhead is a beat-em-up similar to Battletoads or Streets of Rage, although characters' stubby thumb-sized appearance makes me think of Mighty Final Fight.
You play as Lemmy, though the way his eyes are blacked out and his chin inflated makes him look like a potato puppet. All of your bandmates have been captured by anthropomorphized versions of other non-metal genres (rap, country, punk, goth, acid house, and, um, karaoke) and you need to beat the shit out of all of them by thwacking them with your fists and bass.
The most Motörhead thing about Motörhead is how much you drink. Beer takes the place of the usual apples and cooked chickens found in most arcade fighting games, and restores your health. You'll also encounter a Root Beer Tapper-style minigame called "Beer Frenzy," where Lemmy's eyes and tongue hang out like a cartoon wolf as he scampers up and down the bar chugging back them brews. Some of the other minigames are simply bizarre, such as one that revolves around sushi, and another called "Hippy Headache" where you seem to sneak around a Pagan ritual, crushing white-gowned witches with nearby boulders.
Real-life Lemmy was much better.
The least Motörhead thing about Motörhead—and this one is critical, devastating even—is that there just isn't very much Motörhead in it at all. Truth be told, the game is pretty cruddy. Each level uses stock tunes of the musical genres they're based around, and even though you're the Lemmy Kilmister, the only actual song of his appears to be a fudgy version of "Motörhead" over the victory screen. We can't say that Motörhead is altogether a fitting tribute to the late Lemmy, but it's a tribute nonetheless.