Rob Zombie Needs to be in More Video Games
When I was but a small child, video games corrupted me. No, not that they made me more violent or anything. More that 1999’s Twisted Metal 4 introduced me to Rob Zombie, with his songs Dragula and Superbeast, along with the White Zombie song Grease Paint and Monkey Brains, featuring on the game’s soundtrack. At the time I didn’t really know much in the way of music, but I knew Rob Zombie. It probably helped that he also guest-starred in the game, sort of (more on that in a minute.) However, despite this Rob Zombie is basically not in video games. That’s a crime.
If you haven’t heard of Rob Zombie before, here’s a quick rundown. Robert Cummings, better known by his stage name Rob Zombie, grew up in a carnival that his parents fled from after a riot. For a while, he worked on the set of Pee-wee’s Playhouse until he gathered bandmates and formed the band White Zombie. They put out four albums, including the very popular Astro Creep 2000, before breaking up in 1998.
Zombie went on to have a pretty impressive solo career, putting out hits such as the aforementioned Dragula and Superbeast, along with Living Dead Girl, Scum of the Earth, Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown, and more. Somewhere along the way he also became a horror movie director, debuting with House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, the 2007 Halloween remake, and most recently 3 From Hell. Also, his brother is Spider One, the lead singer of Powerman 5000 who had a one-hit-wonder with When Worlds Collide.
But most importantly for me growing up, Rob Zombie was in Twisted Metal 4 for some reason.
Why is Rob Zombie in Twisted Metal 4?
Well, the actual reason is probably that, in 1998, Zombie did the original soundtrack for Twisted Metal 3. Zombie having songs appear on soundtracks isn’t too unusual, and he has had songs appear in several games. This includes Sled Storm, Jet Set Radio, Nightmare Creatures II, Need For Speed: Underground, Brutal Legend, and Dragula would be reused in the 2012 Twisted Metal reboot. However, Twisted Metal 3 appears to be the only time he’s actually done an original soundtrack for a video game. It’s a shame he never did more, as the game includes a Christmas cover of White Zombie’s popular single More Human Than Human.
So he was in Twisted Metal 4. Rob Zombie’s first, and possibly only, video game appearance. He’s also the only guest character or cameo in all of Twisted Metal which really makes him stand out. Zombie’s car is the ever popular Dragula, as featured in his music video (and is probably actually the Hot Rod Herman.) Like all cars in the series, he has a special ability, in this case able to launch a skull that traps people and pulls them towards the center before exploding. It also plays creepy organ music while it’s shooting forward, so that’s fantastic.
Rob’s in-game biography states that he’s a rocker from Los Angeles whom, while doing his rocking out, felt that “the streets needed some cleaning up.” It also ends with this rather amazing piece of early 2000’s edge: “With his souped-up car of destruction, Zombie demands total respect and might use you as inspiration for a new song… after you’ve been destroyed.” Should you select him, a ghostly voice sings about how “he writes the songs!”
Remember how I said “sort of” in the introductory paragraph? Well that’s where this comes in. You see, for some reason developer 989 Studios made the absolutely bizarre decision to have famous rockstar Rob Zombie be mute. Instead he’s followed around by a little ghost that looks exactly like his face on a tablecloth, and the ghost speaks for Zombie. It’s a hilariously bizarre decision, especially since the ghost may or may not just be voiced by Zombie, meaning it’s an extra step where one isn’t needed. I’m actually not sure who does the voice, so there’s also a good chance this is just not Zombie.
However, there is one part of his appearance that will always stick in my mind. In Twisted Metal lore, the winner of each tournament gets one wish fulfilled. Naturally, whatever they wish gets twisted to be technically right, but often bad for the person who placed the wish. In Zombie’s case, his wish is “for this world to hear the wails and war cries of a dead man’s soul.” For whatever reason, Sweet Tooth (who, in Twisted Metal 4, hijacked the tournament and is running it instead of series regular Calypso) chooses not to corrupt this wish. The end result? Rob Zombie asks the player to watch the music video for Superbeast, and the game promptly plays exactly that. Perfect.
Was Rob Zombie in Any Other Video Games?
There is also one other video game that Rob Zombie was maybe in. In 2010 a budget title called Rock of the Dead came out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The idea was pretty rad: an on-rails shooter where you played guitar at zombies until they died using an actual Guitar Hero guitar. Despite being a budget title, the game had a voice cast with Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day, proudly advertised on the cover. Also mentioned in the voice cast? Rob Zombie. There’s just one problem: I’ve watched a Lets Play of the game and I don’t remember seeing him at all. The credits actually mention him as voicing himself, but he seems to fail to appear in the actual video game. At least the game features a bunch of his songs.
However after such a bizarrely hilarious appearance in Twisted Metal 4, all I can wonder is why hasn’t Rob Zombie been in more video games. His movies, which contain absurd splattergore and violence, would make for some fantastic games. His music still shows up from time to time because, as the children say, it slaps. But I need Rob Zombie himself to make more bizarre cameos, please.