|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nihilistic Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The same is also true of the enemies in Zombie Apocalypse. There are a ton of different baddies with which you'll have to deal, and they all have distinct characteristics. Shamblers are weak alone but tough in groups, and they get a lot tougher once they go radioactive. Pukers muck up the battlefield, slowing you down. Dodgers are good at avoiding your attacks, but they're nothing a chainsaw can't quickly take care of. Big Boys are bastards. They inevitably end up taking you down. That's because they take a lot of hits before dying, and they can't be shaken off if you let them get too close. Isolating them and timing a chainsaw execution does help to boost your multiplier though.
Grannies are old hags that hurl kitchen knives at you. While they're easy to dodge out in the open, getting caught near a crowd, close to a survivor, or in a puddle of puke can spell disaster. Sheriff zombies are a joke. Their shotgun blasts never get close enough to hurt you, and leading them into a crowd can have pretty funny results. Kamikaze zombies can be a real pain to deal with, as they come packing some serious TNT. It's important to concentrate fire on them or lead them into a crowd of Shamblers, otherwise that's all she wrote. Prom Queen zombies are perhaps the most annoying and disgusting because they make macabre projectiles out of their undead offspring. All in all, there's a lot of interesting undead cannon fodder to blast through.
Graphically, the game is very solid. The action is well depicted and the gory animations are unnervingly satisfying. The available locations are all distinct and enjoyable. However, there are only seven of them recycled through 55 days of action. Though they're initially fun to look at, they end up getting boring due to their overuse. Similarly, the aural presentation is solid, though it suffers from being repetitive as well. Menu music features an eerie piano melody that seems as if it were plucked right out of a quality horror film. The sparse voice work is very funny, but the end of level celebrations and even the taunts of the Teddy Bear Bait end up getting old. The sound effects buck the trend, however, as the groans, splats, and hollow thuds all fuel your bloodlust nicely.
Zombie Apocalypse is a noble effort to bring the Left 4 Dead phenomenon to a straightforward arcade shooter. Pretty much everything is done right, but it still can't manage to transcend the mundane conventions of its genre. As such, expect to tire of this game after a few hours. Nevertheless, the co-op multiplayer experience, well-implemented theme, and arcade price means it's a nice bit of valuable fun to pull out when your buddies come calling.
CCC Editor / News Director