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19Aug/095

Xbox Live Indie Games Review - I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1

xboxboxartThis game is digital heroin.That's the only real way I can describe it. It's a tiny download, a  little under 13 meg I think. And probably a large part of that size is the music itself. It's a very simple dual stick shooter made by the same guys who brought us the XBLA game Dishwasher : Dead Samurai, that's literally all you need to control the game are the two analog sticks.  When you first start the game, you are greeted with this outright HIDEOUS looking title screen, telling each player (up to 4 locally, no Xbox Live play unfortunately) to hit the A button. You can check out the top scores with the Y button ... of which I don't happen to remember any scores that came with the game for you to beat. And you can hit the B button to exit. No background music, that's about it. The title of the game flashes. You hit the A button, it brings up where you'd like to save your scores. Then it asks if you're ready. Now if I were the type to judge a game by the title screen alone, my hopes would be shot. But I'm not like that fortunately.

When you start, you appear in the middle of a fairly boring looking field of dirt. A few zombies pop up out of the ground and you shoot them with your default pea shooter. But that's not the first thing you really NOTICE. You hear this music going ... which is surprisingly a large part of the game. And you hear the lyrics "Welcome. To my game!" with a light rock tone to it, and when it gets to the lyrics "You'd better shoot them, or you'll die. Cos I made a game with zombies in it! Oh yeah." And THAT'S when the game really starts. You are then BOMBARDED by easy to kill zombies. And as the game progresses you get bombarded by even more enemies such as generic looking snakes going along their typical 4 areas of movement, weird looking little flashing faces, geometric shapes, glowing asteroids that blow apart, little green blobs that multiply as they're shot, tougher zombies, and God knows what else. And this is the one and single mode in the entire game. I haven't played it with other people (yet. That comes this weekend.) but I can only imagine it's the same thing.

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Graphically, it's the stages themselves that are the best part of the game. Your character and the various enemies, while they don't look all that great ... it's all a part of the game because the developer seems to be poking fun at all these horrible Xbox Live Indie Games that seem to show up every week. Snake games, card games, zombie games etc etc. The stages however morph and change along with the music, changing the ground layer, adding neon lights like you're in the middle of a mosh pit at a concert, plugging the developer's logo, changing colors. It really is amazing the way this overly simple dual stick shooter manages to present itself and REALLY adds a lot to the game. And these simply drawn enemies die in just amazing way, either in a little shower of blood, or just outright exploding (seeing those damned snakes just explode in a cloud of ASCII is great). And the explosions that result of the constant bombardment of the rocket launcher are cool as all hell.

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You get various weapons and powerups that show up both at random and from fallen enemies. You start off with your worthless pea shooter. But then you start seeing these icons appear on the screen. There are machine guns, rocket launchers, lasers, a 3 way plasma rifle type of deal ... which happens to be my favorite. A flame thrower, which works GREAT when you're surrounded shotgun, and a little bullseye looking thing that creates a destructive shield around your character for a short time that kills anything it touches. There are also extra lives and lightning bolts that make you move faster, which helps a LOT because without it your character isn't a whole lot faster than the zombies themselves. And the control itself is totally flawless.

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The sound adds just as much to the game as the gameplay itself. Especially the music, which is outstanding and hilarious. I wish I had it to put on my iPod, it's just that good. But the only other sounds you really get are the sound of the guns, which have a great feel to them. Especially the rocket launcher, if you have a good sound system on your TV you're going to FEEL it when that son of a bitch slams into a group of enemies. Or the flamethrower that doesn't have much range but will quickly take out anything it touches. And all the other weapons sound GREAT as well. But the music and the way the stage and enemies interact with it is the real star of the show here.

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Now for the bad, which this game in all it's addictiveness and fun has. When you die, especially later in the game, it's both neat and frustrating as hell. When the zombies kill you (or anything else for that matter) they just walk off like you weren't even there. But the game doesn't respawn you where you left off, it respawns you in some random area that is close to where you're at. And usually, it respawns you in the middle of a horde of zombies and other enemies with that useless pea shooter you start off with. Which will more than likely cause you to die because you can't clear out enough enemies to get to a different weapon. You have a few seconds of invulnerability during that time, but it doesn't seem to help much. It's only a slight nag, but it's worth mentioning.

And there's only the one game mode, which is the exact same every time you play. While this isn't really a problem given how much fun the game is, a little randomization would've helped a lot, maybe a different game mode or something that just randomizes everything about the game.  And the final thing ... no Xbox Live support for ANYTHING. No online multiplayer and no global high scores, which, as I understand it isn't supported by XNA anyway. But there have been developers of other games do it using P2P.

9.0  - Despite those small nags, this game is all about the experience, because without the music, the humor, the over the top weaponry and ridiculous enemies it would just be another bullshit dual stick shooter. The presentation is among the best of any Indie Game and most Xbox Live Arcade games you'll see, and is just a TON of fun to play. This game is among the best games ever released on the Xbox Live Indie games, and at only 80 points there is no reason not to own this game. And I can't wait to get 4 players in on this sucker after some beers. Don't even download the trial if you've made it this far, just unlock the game right off the bat. You definitely won't be sorry.

Here's hoping for a sequel with even moe crazy shit to do, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

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Comments (5) Trackbacks (1)
  1. I’d love to see a sequel that has support for playing over Xbox Live, leaderboards, and where the game can go on forever - assuming you are good enough to stay alive.

  2. Does this game end? I really suck, and about 800,000 points in I usually die. lol

  3. Yeah, at around 800,000 points the song ends and the game ends, no matter how many lives you have :(

  4. @ Jigsaw hc - dude i love the way you think!

    This game is epic in all 80 ms points of its glory. Ska Software is an incredible Indie Game Powerhouse! James Silva knows how to be a crowd pleaser. Max props goes out to him!

  5. This game is a copy of another game called “crimsonland”
    you can compare the sprites here

    http://www.igniq.com/images/crimsonland060904.jpg

    Crimsonland is a game created in 2004

    so

    I can’t give the points to this copy

    regards!


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