|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Doublesix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Kuju Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
High score: for many years this was the main focus and ultimate goal of every video game being released. Players would spend countless hours and quarters perfecting their skills at a particular machine in order to have their initials listed directly beside the numerical representation of their best efforts.
As home consoles became more powerful and arcades sadly became a thing of the past, video games based entirely on skill and repetition began to be in short supply. Luckily, it seems as though these kinds of experiences havent completely disappeared but have instead shifted into the downloadable space. Burn, Zombie, Burn! (BZB) on the PSN is the latest example of this type of skill-based entertainment.
The premise of BZB is similar to that of an old arcade game, perform better to achieve a higher score. However, instead of your initials and score being the entire reward for your skilled play, getting a good score is the only way to progress in the game. During every level in Arcade Mode, players will need to score enough points to achieve at least a bronze ranking to unlock the next arena in which to play. Managing to accumulate the points necessary for a silver or gold rating during a level will even unlock interesting but nonessential goodies such as character bios and the ability to slightly change the game's look. The only problem with this sort of set up is that this game is quite difficult to begin with and has a few issues that can cause unnecessary frustration, but more on that in a bit.
BZB's gameplay is slightly more complex than one might expect from a game of this sort. In this top-down shooter, you're tasked with racking up points by killing wave after wave of spawning zombies. You'll have several means of destruction to call upon including a variety of weapons, triggerable events, and of course good old fashioned fire. Each wave of zombies that appear bring with them all sorts of zombie killing tools such as Uzis, shotguns, baseball bats, and chainsaws. There are also some more unconventional weapons such as a lawnmower, which is held with its blades facing forward, and a brain gun that sucks the brain out of a nearby zombie and spits it out to temporarily distract his pals.
If enough zombies are killed using the same weapon, one of three lights will become illuminated at the top of the screen. Once all three of these lights have been turned on, players are given the option of using a big red button. This button will trigger a different event depending on which arena you are in but all are pretty detrimental to the surrounding zombie population. Some good examples of these are the spinning lasers found in the secret lab and the mid-arena bombing run that can be called in the military base level.
Of course, only using these methods will make it virtually impossible, if not literally impossible, to earn enough points for even a bronze ranking. Instead, players will need to heavily rely on the essential risk/reward mechanic of setting zombies on fire. Every zombie set aflame will add another notch to your score multiplier, making it theoretically possible to rack up points much quicker. However, flaming zombies are also angry and aggressive zombies who will chase directly after you and do more damage when they attack. Balancing how badly you want points with how cramped your environment is, how many and which types of zombies are milling around, and what weapons are at your disposal can certainly be difficult at times, especially considering how quickly things can take a turn for the worse.