Friday, September 25, 2009

Zombies Invade

So, I have been hip deep in school and family lately, and haven't posted in months. Sorry. Let's try again.

So, a couple of days ago, I'm cruising around the XBLA and I find a new game called "Zombie Apocalypse". A standard top-down shooter with zombies. I've been here before. I'm not talking about the fact that the game is clearly "inspired" by Left 4 Dead. I'm talking about playing this game before on the numerous Flash game sites that litter the web like so many fast food burger shacks. I've killed zombies this way before and while I find it to be a great diversion when I should be working on that paper that due in the morning. But the controls were tight, and being able to slaughter masses of zombies from the comfort of my living room seemed like a good bet to me. So, I called my wife over, and put a controller in her hand, and played through the demo with her a few times.

This is what I piqued my interest even more. While she did initially balk at the idea of playing a zombie game (she really doesn't get the whole "zombie" thing), after the three round demo, she was having fun. I hastily plucked down my 800 MS points and grabbed the full version of the game. And apparently opened the gate of hell.

See the game is easy at first. You have zombies and guns. Kill said zombie with said guns. Useful environmental hazards abound and obligatory barrels of liquid that explodes when shot scatter the levels. And you have a stuffed teddy bear that is wrapped in C4 an attracts the zombies into it deadly radius when a saccharine sweet voice that pumps out humorous lines ("I'm stuffed with love....and C4" being my favorite). And, let us not forget that all players get a chainsaw, because what is a zombie game without a chainsaw? (Left 4 Dead I'm looking at you!). All pretty standard stuff. And at first the zombie killing all goes according to plan.

Then as you get through a few levels, power-up begin to fall. Shotys, sub-machine guns, and grenade launchers all show up to help in your zombie killing ways. And it seems just the right tools for the job to stand up to the mob of the ever increasing zombie numbers. You also get a chance to rescue uninfected lady in blue power suits and get rewarded with more explosive stuff toys. This all helps until you see the screen that tell you we are adding new types of zombies. First is the Big Boy who if he gets a hand on you, its all over. These are followed quickly by zombies that puke on you and make you slow down, granny-zombies that throw knives across the screen (and knife = instant death), and sheriff zombies that still remember how to fire there own shotguns. And they all come on by the hundreds.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this you remember something that you long forgot. Something that books like "Zombie Survival Guide" and the new version of "Dawn of the Dead" have stripped from your mind. Zombies are fucking scary. Scary like a hurricane. You can not reason with them. You can never hide from them. And they absolutely will not stop until you are dead and eaten. Zombies can not be defeated, and in fighting them all you are doing is delaying the inevitable.