zombie

Plants vs. Zombies

Full Review

Plants vs Zombies CoverFew games on the iOS platform get me excited. There's just such a surplus of bad that even when you hear about Super Popular Game X, you wonder if the masses are just falling for more of the same. When Plants vs. Zombies was announced early this year as a port of the PC/Mac release, I didn't think twice about picking it up. The $3 price tag didn't even make me think twice.

I had watched my brother in law play the full version on his Mac last year, and was intrigued by its porch defense gameplay. I had never even played a tower defense game before Plants vs. Zombies. A genre virgin so to speak. It was easy to see without even playing it why the game was so popular. The zombies would walk slowly from right to left and it's your job to fend them off with some bizarre garden variety plants.

This review will just be on the iOS version (played on a second generation iPod Touch). I have no experience with any other version (though I'm secretly planning to replay it on the Nintendo DS).

Left 4 Dead

Full Review

Left 4 Dead CoverWhen I heard the announcement for Left 4 Dead, I was enormously elated. Finally, a game dedicated to fast-paced zombie action. A game I could rely on to really satisfy my urges to kill a swarm of infected. Then, when I saw the videos of people at E3 playing it for thirty minutes and then heading to the back of the huge line to play it again, there was no question.

My hunger for a real zombie game had been stirring for years. I hated Resident Evil, and still do. The idea of searching around everywhere and solving more puzzles than killing zombies -- I was disgusted. The only thing that helped curve my thirst was Counter Strike: Source, where my friend and I would play “zombies” by pitting ourselves against 30 or so bots and allowing them to only use knives. I was even happier to hear that was the way Valve decided to make Left 4 Dead. They did the exact same thing.

I was counting the days in November, 2008, for the game's release. Every day at college just seemed to drag on and on, forever, until finally the day came. My classes felt longer than those of my final days before Christmas Break. When I got done with school the day of Left 4 Dead's release, I went straight to the store to pick up the game.

I purchased the PC version, and played through the entire game in a very brief period of time, but that was okay. With all of the achievements to be had, as well as the scoring and varying difficulty levels, this game had more replay-ability than any game I had played before or since. It never gets old. I love this game, and now I own it on Xbox to play the game cooperatively with my wife. We also spend quite a bit of time online playing against other players. 

Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

Downloadable Content

Borderlands CoverIf there’s a formula that has worked the last couple of years for video games, it is that zombies makes things more fun. Call of Duty: World at War was wildly successful with Nazi Zombie mode, and the Left 4 Dead series is one of the most popular online games played today. In the near future, Dead Rising 2 will be released and Crackdown 2 will feature zombies roaming around the city during the night. Just about the only series moving away from zombies is Resident Evil, with both 4 and 5 featuring a lack of undead we know and love.

So it probably came of little surprise when Gearbox announced the first piece of downloadable content for Borderlands would be about zombies. The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned to be exact. The name itself is intriguing to veterans of the game, as Dr. Zed was a friendly NPC that helped you on your quest for the Vault, raising the question: who is Dr. Ned compared to Dr. Zed?

The answers lie within this multi-hour extra, along with many, many zombies to blow away. This DLC is available via download or by buying the Double Game Add-on Pack disc which contains Zombie Island and Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, which I’ll be playing next. The disc is useful for a number of reasons, while the initial price is the same as if you bought the add-ons online, you can pass the disc on to friends or even resell it. The only catch is if your hard drive gets wiped or you uninstall the content, you’ll have to install the DLC from the disc again.

Resident Evil

First Hour Review

Resident Evil CoverResident Evil is the original survival horror game.  It didn't invent horror, but it definitely laid some groundwork as far as the genre went in video games.  It was originally released in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation.  In 2002, it was released as a remake for the GameCube in a surprising deal that had the series on Nintendo's system and eventually led to the stellar Resident Evil 4.  It is the GameCube REmake (get it, RE stands for Resident Evil?  Ah, nevermind) that I will be playing.

So what I want to know is this:  Is this game good, and is this game scary? I've played Resident Evil 4, and had a few good jumps, but overall it was just a moody action game (arguably becoming the basis of the modern third-person shooter).  The original (and remake) had a lot more focus on puzzle solving and exploring, and less on fighting.

I'm going all out with this one.  I'm playing at night, while everyone else is sleeping, with the lights off.  Let's see if we can get a good scare out of this.

Dead Panic

Full Review
Dead Panic Cover

Zombie games are gaming's latest craze gone wild. With the popularity of zombie shooter Left 4 Dead at its peak, Call of Duty: World at War featuring a Nazi zombie mode, and old classics like Zombies Ate My Neighbors being re-released on the Virtual Console, a zombie outbreak is as ripe of setting as ever. Independent developer Sean Maher has brought the classic hobby of mowing down zombies to the iPhone now with Dead Panic, a tactical zombie shooter. Dead Panic is light on story, but heavy on difficult scenarios for your soldiers to survive. The premise is simple: strategically place your soldiers, and let loose horde.

Dead Panic is our first indie game review of 2010, we'll be featuring five more indie-developed games throughout the month of February. Dead Panic is available on the Apple App Store right now for the very reasonable price of $1.99.

Nintendo DS M-Rated Blitz

First Hour Review

Esrb MatureThere are a total of six released M-rated Nintendo DS games: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, theresia, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, Dementium: The Ward, Touch the Dead, and Resident: Evil Deadly Silence (one more game, C.O.R.E. has been rated but not released yet). For over 1100 rated titles on the Nintendo DS, there are just six games considered Mature by the ESRB! That's about one half percent of all DS games. Kotaku has some theories on this, but I'm not really one to analyze the market or audiences - I'm one to play the dang games.

The following is going to be a 10 minute blitz of each of the six released M-rated games for the Nintendo DS, starting with the first released, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, and finishing up with the recent Grand Theft Auto. I already had a friend review the first hour of Chinatown Wars, but a little overlap is okay. I'll say a few things about each game, play it for ten minutes, and then wrap each up with a few more notes about gameplay. I'll also decide if the first 10 minutes are worthy of the M-rating or not. Let's get this started.

This is also a taste of the new first hour review format. Less about numerical scores, more about what I liked and what I didn't. The reviews will be a bit more fleshed out next week as I have more room to roam. Enjoy.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

First Hour Review

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem CoverEternal Darkness was released on the GameCube in 2002 and was actually the system's first M-rated game and I believe the first M-rated title published by Nintendo. I'm actually not very good with horror games (or anything horror in general) so it's a surprise to me that I'm even reviewing this game, but it's Halloween this week, so you are all in for a timely treat. I think I own two scary games, and Eternal Darkness is one of them (the other is Resident Evil REmake, also on the GameCube, and you will never see a review on here of that game, it's just too dang scary!).

Anyways, onto the actual game! Eternal Darkness features a unique sanity system unlike anything ever seen before. So addition to your health and magic meters, you have a sanity meter that measures just how stable you are. You lose sanity when you get hurt, or when you see something particularly freaky (which happens a lot). Losing sanity is nothing to laugh at either, because when it gets low, even more crazy stuff happens! I won't detail these "sanity effects" right now because some of them are pretty cool, but let's see what Eternal Darkness throws at us in our first hour together.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

First Hour Review

Zombies Ate My Neighbors CoverZombies Ate My Neighbors is a cult-classic barely recognized by most gamers, but much like Streets of Rage 2, ZAMN (maybe the greatest gaming acronym ever) looks like it will soon get a release on the Wii Virtual Console. This will undoubtedly expose the game to a much wider audience whose only experience with run-and-gun games is Alien Hominid. Well, hopefully they're able to appreciate this oldie enough to check out some of the other greats in the genre, such as Metal Slug, Contra, or Gunstar Heroes - all of which are available on the Wii or Xbox 360. Actually, let's hope this game appreciates the modern gamer.

Anyways, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was actually developed by Konami and published by Lucasarts (a rare pairing). It was released for the Genesis and Super Nintendo in 1993 and features two player multiplayer. I'll be taking advantage of this and playing simultaneously with my friend Hylas. Let's see how the first hour of one of the original zombie games turned out...

For the record, we are playing the Super Nintendo version of the game (I just like the Genesis cover better), so the score I assign is specifically for the SNES version, but is no doubt indicative of the Genesis version too.

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