Zombie Apocalypse (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Friday, September 25, 2009

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 10.00
Replays: 9.00
Gamelength: 9.00

Konami’s “Zombie Apocalypse” is a fun burst of nostalgic action that’s sure to give anyone more zombies than they can handle.

Ah, good ol’ zombies. Who doesn’t love a large serving of shambling undead to shoot? And what’s better than “Smash TV” style gameplay for the perfect blend of mindless fun? I’ll tell you what: Almost nothing! If you’re the kind of person who appreciates very simplistic, addictive and somewhat gorey gameplay with hordes of zombies, step into the world of “Zombie Apocalypse  with me and let’s see how long we can survive in Konami’s latest Xbox Live Arcade title.

Xbox Live Arcade games typically range from decent to good in the graphics department. Much to my surprise, “Zombie Apocalypse” looks fantastic! From the realistic blood to the lively character-specific animations, it’s obvious that the graphics and design team really gave this game their all. Of course, the zombies look awesome and are in no short supply! I would be willing to wager that 100+ zombies are on-screen at any given time during some of the more challenging levels, which is pretty badass, as far as I’m concerned! At any rate, no, this game will not be setting any records or blowing away such titles as “Dead Space” or “Star Ocean: The Last Hope”, but for an Xbox Live Arcade game, it looks great!

This game has the absolute best music ever found in a zombie game. Every track sounds like it was taken straight out of George Romero’s back log, but with a hint of “28 Days Later” and just a pinch of “Resident Evil”. The sound effects are standard, but some of the character sounds are hilarious, especially when a level is completed. To put it lightly, this game had to be made by zombie fans.

Now, when you pick up a zombie game and you start to play, you’ll typically get something along the lines of “Resident Evil” or perhaps “House Of The Dead”. In recent times, games such as “Left 4 Dead” and “Dead Rising” have popped up. Those are great games, but they just don’t capture the feeling of oldschool nostalgic fun. Sure, it’s great to play a serious business zombie game, but nostalgia also has a time and place. In this case, that time and place is here and now. Konami has managed to capture the perfect “Smash TV” style feeling, all while updating the graphics and sound, but still keeping true to the zombie genre. What’s even better is that you’re able to play with up to 3 of your friends over Xbox Live for hours on end. Could it get any better? In a word, “Yes!” The controls are as simple as it gets, utilizing a dual analog control scheme and basic button mechanics. The controls are extremely responsive and generally wont take a new player more than 30 seconds to get into. The gameplay itself is just as simple. Your goal is to kill as many zombies as you can and survive as long as possible, ultimately ending the game after the 50th day. Along the way, you’ll pick up such weapons as grenade launchers, shotguns and various other genre favorites, including your default (and permanently equipped) chainsaw, which has it’s own dedicated buttons. Aside from the default machine gun and the chainsaw, every weapon has a limited supply of ammunition. Don’t worry, though! More guns spawn almost constantly, ensuring that every player has a decent weapon at almost all times. Aside from those basics, you can also use zombie bait to lure the hordes of undead into environmental hazards, such as an active jet engine. This is almost pointless during early levels, but some later levels require good use of just about everything you can get your hands on, environmental hazards included. Oh, and did I mention the survivors? Aside from the players, of course, there are random blue color-coded survivors. By touching them and defending their position for a few seconds, you can earn a massive score bonus. If they get torn apart by zombies, however, they’ll turn their backs on you and attack you without a thought! As for the Xbox Live play, it’s generally very quick, streamlined and lag-free. You don’t need to coordinate much of anything, which in a sense is a very good thing. You get to have fun with your buddies, catch up on old times and slaughter endless waves of the undead. It doesn’t get much better than this, which is exactly why I highly recommend this game. You’ll get 50 full levels, up to 4 player co-op via Xbox Live, plenty of weapons and environmental hazards and a grand total of 7 different modes. What’s that? Modes? Oh, right! I almost forgot! Not only can you play the game in it’s default form, but you’ll unlock modes that change the game completely! For example, one of the easiest modes to unlock is “Chainsaw Only” mode. I don’t think I need to explain to you exactly what that means. It’s hard. VERY hard. In short, Konami made a badass multiplayer zombie game and priced it at $10. What more could you want?

Overall, this is my current favorite multiplayer Xbox Live Arcade game. I hope Konami has some good DLC available in the future!

Pros:
-Fantastic visual quality.
-Perfect soundtrack matches the genre spot-on.
-Simple controls that take no time at all getting used to.
-Tons of levels, modes and multiplayer; endless replay value.
-Only $10!

Cons:
-Could use a few new modes that require team coordination just to add variation.

Bottom line:
If you like the idea of shooting endless waves of zombies with your buddies, this is an easy buy. Even if you don’t like playing games online, this is still a worthy purchase, given the massive amount of modes and levels.

Overall Rating: 9.50

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