Rewind Review: Zombie Apocalypse (XBLA)
Zombie Apocalypse was developed by Nihilistic Software, Inc. and published by Konami. It was released on September 23, 2009 and costs 800 MSP.
Zombies, weapons and hazards, oh my! Zombie Apocalypse is a bloody twin-stick shooter, that pits you and up to three friends against hordes of zombies. Journey across several stages, all with there own design, traps and advantages. With a few friends, a bunch of weapons and some luck, we head off to survive this end-of-times.
Here’s what we liked:
Enemies – Although your only enemy type in the game is zombies, there’s still no shortage in variety. You have several zombie types that appear: the “grandma” zombie who chucks knives at you, the “construction worker” zombie who is twice as hard to kill and can take you down easily, and the “stumbler” zombie who seems to somehow always bobble around your bullets. These are just a few zombies that you’ll encounter along the way. They’re varied enough to cause you to constantly change your strategy and stay on the move.
Stages – There are seven stages throughout the game, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Each stage offers new ways to kill zombies, allowing you to use the environment for new forms of death. There are gas pumps to set the zombies on fire, wood chippers to grind them up and helicopter blades to create some major havoc. With lots of ways to use the world, each stage stays fresh and fun.
Weapons – Each player starts off every stage with the same weapons: a fully automatic assault rifle, a chainsaw and a bomb strapped to a pink teddy bear. The teddy bear is one of the most useful items in the game, when thrown it will draw all the zombies to it, allowing you a moment of peace while it blows everything near it away. Different weapons throughout your battle, and with eight weapons total you never know which one might show up. Each weapon has its pros and cons to consider before picking it up. For example: the duel wielding mini sub-machine guns have a high rate of fire, but lack accuracy and power; the sniper rifle which will put a bullet through a huge line of zombies, but is a one-shot clip and takes about a full second to reload.
Mode select – Zombie Apocalypse gives you seven different game modes to pick: the default, Chainsaws Only, All Weapons, 7 Days of Hell, Turbo, Hardcore, Blackout. Each mode is unique, changing how you handle yourself on the battlefield: Blackout for example only lights up a ring around your character forcing you to fight mostly blind. One of the best modes is Chainsaws Only in multiplayer. You and a friend get to grind up zombies all close and personal like.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Framerate – When playing, whether local or online, any time it things get hectic the framerate drops. This happens at two distinct and reoccurring times, any time there is a major “zombie explosion” and when the game decides to flood you with tons of zombies at once. Lag from online connections is mildly acceptable online, but framerate issues due to poor rendering performance is never okay.
Audio – The entire game sounds generic, from the zombies to the music and voice acting. Music is limited to the menus which is a major letdown as zombie movies and games deserve a good climatic soundtrack. The zombies all sound very similar, as if they were taken from a generic 60’s horror film. The game could also have used some good one liners for the characters to make to break up the monotony and bring the dead back to life.
With so much to love and so little to hate, Zombie Apocalypse does a great job at nailing the twin-stick genre. Everything that is important in a game like this is there and done almost perfectly. So fans of zombies, shooters or twin-sticks alike, will love this bite-sized zombie arcade romp.
Score: Buy it!