Does the World Really Need Anymore Zombie Games? Yes, If They're Like These Ones…
The war between horror movie monsters has been going on for the better part of the last century. We're talking vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies and mutant flying creatures, each of which has had their fair share of the limelight in film. But it comes and goes. Once moviegoers get an overdose of a particular monster, they aren't scared anymore, meaning it's time to move onto the next. So, Dracula goes away kicking and screaming, just to be replaced by Frankenstein and then werewolves. But it's cyclic, so it always comes back around and right back to Dracula.
Zombies are near the tail end of their run right now. In comics, movies, television, art and perhaps most notably, video games, zombies have been all the rage for long enough that there are dozens of newish zombies games to choose from in a variety of genres. Do we really need more?
I didn't think so until I played these two forthcoming ones revealed at PAX Prime last weekend. One hails from upstate New York, the other the UK, and while their aesthetics are quite different, they both promise four-player local co-op zombies slaying on a high level.
Hailing from indie developer doublesix in the UK, All Zombies Must Die!!! brings surprisingly deep RPG elements to twin-stick zombie massacring. There are levels to gain, a crating system to utilize, and quests to complete. But in the demo I played, none of it seemed to slow the gratifying and fast-paced zombie-purge action down at all (which might have to do with us not getting to the potentially slow crafting stage).
Dialog between the four selectable characters and the various NPCs is hilarious, a must for me in any zombie-based experience, and the graphics charmingly cartoony to match. It has taken some flak because it apparently does not support online multiplayer, but this game seems much better suited to local co-op anyway. Online multiplayer really shines in games with split-screen local multiplayer. This game does not have that problem. Plus it's way more fun to shoot, slice and blow up a ton of baddies quickly when you have someone close by to brag (yell) to.
It's still a few months away with no confirmed release date, but it will thankfully be coming to XBLA, PSN, and PC, so nearly any gamer should be able to get their sweaty hands on it.
New York based Ska Studios are no strangers to the undead world. Ska consists of developers James Silva ("Lead Dishwasher") and Michelle Juett ("Art Unicorn"), who just got engaged at PAX on Saturday. Previously, they've given the world I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1 and the two Dishwasher games, Dead Samurai and Vampire Smile, both of which feature either killing the undead as a person or killing people as the undead.
Their newest project is called Charlie Murder, which is also a four-player co-op, but a side-scrolling beat-'em-up rather than a top-down twin-stick shooter. The players are members of punk band Charlie Murder. Their rivals are an evil metal band called Gore Quaffer with whom they must compete at a forthcoming battle of the bands. In a misguided attempt to eliminate the competition, the metalheads unleash a plague of undead upon Charlie Murder and kidnap the lead singer's girlfriend. Now, the boys who must utilize their fists and punk rock superpowers to defeat evil and save the girl.
The gameplay is pretty classic beat-em-up action, but with a surprisingly intricate combo system for attacks and a wide variety of cool special moves (the aforementioned superpowers). Another cool wrinkle—shopping for upgrades takes place in clothing stores where players get the chance to customize not just their stats, but their looks, thanks to the wide variety of similar performing but different looking options.
Silva is also known for his excellent punk rock recordings (the title track from IMAGWZI is a classic), and Charlie Murder already has a full list of awesome tracks on their Facebook page. The game was first announced in early 2010 and should be out in 2012 for XBLA, a nice long dev cycle for a game like this, which makes my hopes even higher.