Monday, 31 January 2011

Black Swan (2010) - Horror Film Review

Black Swan isn't a horror film per se it is more a psychological drama piece.  The horror element in the film is very realistic; that of a young woman's descent into madness. The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky who is apparently known for his films about broken people.

Natalie Portman stars as Nina Sayers a ballet dancer who gets the lead role in a theatre's production of Swan Lake. The part requires her to play both the good white swan as well as the evil black swan. Nina is a perfectionist and as the stress of the large role gets to her she starts to go insane, her life starting to resemble the story of Swan Lake. A ballet rival, as well as a domineering mother adds to her pressure and she begins a inexorable breakdown. While her life is collapsing around her she must continue to practice for her ultimate role before she gets forever overtaken by events.

I only saw this film as I had missed the one I had intended to see (the utterly terrible Hereafter).  A friend had been saying how I had to see this film so despite my reservations I thought I would give it a go.  This is a film my mother wants to see so I was very hesitant and must say I expected a bland drama but I was surprised at the film I in fact got. My initial reaction after seeing the film was bewilderment but over time I have come to appreciate the film.

The film focuses completely on the character of Nina with events whether real or imaginary taking place from her perspective.  Her descent into madness is well done though it feels that she was never too sane in the first place with her having a history of self harm and her overwhelming desire to be perfect with her ballet leading her to have a sense of isolation from her mostly bitchy ballet group. Her manager sees in her all the qualities of the white swan; innocence, frailness and grace, but he struggles to see how she is like the black swan; a character who is supposed to be cruel, domineering and powerful. This spills into her social life in the friendship she forms with her wild ballet rival Lily who seems to be the mirror opposite of Nina.

Mirrors and reflective surfaces are littered throughout the film, many creepy sequences come from these as Nina's reflections move independently of her and appear to mock her. The film is quite creepy in places with several key nightmare sequences such as when Nina is pursued by a psychotic woman into a room full of laughing paintings, and scenes when a monster from out of Swan Lake stalks her. Less creepy is Nina's slow transformation into a real life black swan, her skin turning into that of a bird, her neck extending, and her feet becoming webbed. I and a lot of the cinema crowd found this quite humorous which I don't think was the intended effect.

The film is quite 'sensual' in places with a few lesbian scenes but these have a constant feeling of threat and menace about them and coupled with the skinniness of Natalie Portman (she purposely lost a lot of weight to play this role) have no titillation about them. More interesting is the sense of atmosphere the film in general has, the score being a distorted rendition of Swan Lake that fits the films surreal tone well.

Black Swan was a worthwhile film to see but definitely not a pleasant experience, still it is different and quite captivating in its look.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Zombie Academy - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

I have put off playing this game for the longest time based on the fact the title and cover art alone made me despair.  Having now played this piece of garbage I am at least proved right in the gnawing feeling of dread I had in the pit of my stomach.

Zombie Academy is a school where zombies teach humans how to survive zombie Armageddon.  Sounds kinda cool but no.  The zombies teach you skills by throwing glowing skulls at you; that seems to be the extent of their wisdom they can give you.

There are 3 god awful mini games that comprise the game.  The first Giddy Up was not available in the demo but is most likely terrible.  The second Leap & Roll has you avoiding skulls thrown by zombies while cartwheeling over spikes in the ground and collecting floating medals.  The last Flip & Dive is again not available in the demo but I have an almost psychic ability to predict that too is utter crap.

It may seem harsh to review a game based on its demo but I feel justified.  The game looks terrible like all bad Indie games do, it looks like it was created in the most basic way possible.  One arena for all 3 games, your avatar as the controlling character and bland identical monstrosities as zombies.  The music sounds like it came out of the 16 bit era and the sound effects are patchy and crude at best.

It may be only 80 Microsoft points but there is no enjoyment to be found here at all.  Utterly boring, avoid like the plague!


Monday, 24 January 2011

Lawnmower VS Zombies - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Another Indie Zombie game; that seems how I always start these reviews.  Lawnmower VS Zombies is slightly different in that it is a remake of a Commodore 64 game apparently (though I was unable to myself prove this)

The blurb for the game basically says that even during zombie Armageddon someone has to do mow the lawn.  I thought about this and decided that mowing the lawn probably should be quite low down on the list of things to do during a zombie outbreak.  I can see it being useful if the grass got over 5 foot tall as that would make any approaching zombies hard to see but otherwise no.  The game has you as a guy sitting on a gas powered lawnmower who must mow as much of the lawn on screen before the time limit runs out.  You must avoid randomly walking zombies as well as avoid hitting boulders, or mow over any flowers.

The game takes place from a birds eye perspective but the lawnmower and zombies are all polygons rather than flat 2d sprites.  It is done in a cartoony style and really does not take itself seriously.  The music in particular is very zany and comedy like comprising mostly of yodellers.  Unfortunately the zombies do not look like zombies.  Maybe it is just the over head perspective but they look like bald headed scientists rather than the living dead; the only indication they are undead is the moans they make.

The game is quite fun and while very simple is strangely addictive.  The zombies seem to randomly walk around rather than try and get you and often walk off screen never to return.  The lawnmower handles like expected, big turning circles needed but I did find problems with the lawnmower hitting rocks in the level.  A few times I did this and the lawnmower just bounced off, but once my lawnmower got jammed in the rock and I was forced to just sit there unable to move for a few minutes until a zombie randomly walked into me and killed me; not very fair!

The game is fun enough and at 80 Microsoft points is a cheap buy.  For once I actually purchased a Indie game rather than review and delete so that must say something for the game.  Beware though it is lawnmower VS grass as your goal is not to mash up zombies (like that fabulous scene in Braindead).


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dead Space 2 - Demo Thoughts

Currently available on X-Box 360 and PS3 is the Dead Space 2 demo.  Dead Space was a very good sci-fi infused survival horror that saw you as engineer Isaac Clarke attempting to escape the giant space vessel; the Ishimura.  The demo throws you into an early part of Dead Space 2 and sees you as Isaac exploring a church of Unitology.

The demo starts with an intro explaining the state of the game world as well as summing up the plot of Dead Space.  Dead Space 2 is revealed to take place three years after the events of the first.  Apparently all that time Isaac has been unconscious, he wakes up in the medical bay on the Sprawl; a city on one of Saturn's moons.  The game looks very similar to the original with Isaac controlling the same way and similar things happening.

The demo starts you in a giant freezer area to get your bearings.  Towards the end of this section a new enemy type turns up, one that spits acid.  You have access to four weapons in the demo, the machine gun, line gun, rivet gun, and a new one which appears to be a harpoon gun allowing you to pin enemies to walls.  This time around the character you control actually talks which was a bit odd to hear being used to silent Isaac.  The controls all seem very similar and I soon got into the rhythm of fighting the necromorphs again.  You now have to stamp on enemies for them to drop items rather then them just appearing once an enemy is killed.  Health is now mapped to a button rather than being forced to go through your menu to get healed, quite useful!

After the freezer section I moved onto a puzzle room.  It had me using my gravity utility to bring the rooms gravity off line.  This time Zero-G mode has you in full control of Isaac rather than just having to pinball from location to location, another nice addition.

The last location in the demo is the Church of Unitology.  Soon after arriving I was swamped by baby necromorphs and died.  Trying again I was able to successfully fight off these mini monsters and discover the reappearance of the generic necromorphs of the first game.  After some beautiful vista shots of the vast city you are in I got attacked by a gunship before falling down an air duct and having a giant monstrosity towering over me while the screen faded to black.

The game does feel very much business as usual but the improvements all seemed to be good ones and so I look forward to getting back into the world of the necromorphs!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

General Update for January 2011 (Happy New Year Edition)

A bit of a late general update but happy new year regardless.  I hope this year to be a good one for my blog and hopefully a good year for horror!  I guess it doesn't matter if it is a bad year as I have decades of horror I have yet to review.

I don't know what films are to come out at the cinema this year, obviously recently there was Season of the Witch though that was quite average.  I intend to go back to visiting the cinema weekly so if there are any horrors I will catch them!  On a side note I saw The Green Hornet the other day, it was really good so I recommend that.  I got over 20 horror films for Christmas so I am sure that as the year progresses they will all end up being reviewed.

I am near the end of Battlestar Galactica Season 3 now, while it is not horror it does have some elements of that, also I intend to see the rest of Supernatural this year, a most excellent show.

I am currently playing through a few review worthy games.  On the PS3 I am currently playing Burn Zombie Burn and Final Fantasy XIII.  The former is an ok game, it has grown on me I will admit, while the latter is a fantasy role playing game and so may get a small mention based on the various monsters I am sure I will encounter during the game.  On the X-Box 360 I am playing Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age: Origins, Deadly Premonition and Puzzle Quest 2.  Only Deadly Premonition is an actual horror game but the other 3 all have had zombies make appearances in them, especially Dragon Age which is packed to the rafters with zombies, skeletons, and currently Werewolves.

Shock Horror magazine is sure to continue for at least this year so I will be reviewing those as and when I read them.  I have quite a few horror novels on my to read list.  I am currently reading Dean Koontz's Intensity; a book a girl who has gotten herself trapped in a serial killers camper van.  I have a load of zombie compilation books to read as well.

I have plenty of material to write about so fear not loyal reader (readers? heh), I just hope I update as regularly as I should and resist the urge to be lazy.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Heavy Rain - Videogame Review (PS3)

Heavy Rain is the very first proper PS3 game I have completed, I have a pile of over 10 PS3 games I have brought but not yet actually played.  Heavy Rain is the spiritual follow up to Fahrenheit; an X-Box and PS2 game that saw you evading Police after murdering a man in the games intro sequence.  The games are near identical in style being an adventure style game set in a ultra realistic world.

Heavy Rain sees you take control of 4 protagonists throughout the game.  The game is set in a City where a serial killer named as The Origami Killer is at large.  Each of the four characters has an interweaving plot.  Ethan is a 30 something Dad whose son has been kidnapped by the Origami Killer.  He has been given a series of increasingly deranged tests by the killer that he must perform, each successful test gets him one step closer to discovering his sons location.  Scott Selby is a Private Investigator who has been hired by the parents of the killers previous victims to bring him to justice.  Madison Paige is a reporter investigating the killings, while lastly Norman Jaydon is a F.B.I agent tasked with capturing the Origami Killer.

Much like Fahrenheit before it the game uses a series of context sensitive motions and QTE's to control the actions of the characters.  Nearly everything in the game world can be interacted with, symbols popping up to show you how to interact.  Opening a door for instance sees you needing to make a triangular motion with the right analogue stick (to symbolise turning the handle).  A lot of the game is this gentle adventuring but there is also a heck of a lot of action which plays out more as intensely paced QTE battles.  You get a fast collection of random button presses needed to be done to get your character through these battles, very frantic, stressful but also very exciting and fun.

The plot is very good, and much better than the insanity of Fahrenheit which ruined its crime story with the inclusion of giant bugs, super heroes and Aliens.  In Heavy Rain the games plot never leaves the crime thriller genre and is all the better for it.  It may in essence be a simple whodunit but it is told really well and leaves you guessing right up to the last scene.  The Ethan Mars section of the game plays out like a version of Saw, he is forced into ever more cruel tasks in order to proceed; driving the wrong way down a motorway, crawling over broken glass, mutilating himself, really is Saw the game (though there has been two actual Saw the games now).  Freedom of choice is one of the games biggest strengths.  The story plays out regardless of your actions but will change depending on your choices.  Even if your character dies the game continues, morphing itself to adjust for your input.

The characters are really well fleshed out, with the possible exception of the bland Madison Paige.  Ethan is a heavily depressed father prepared to do anything to save his sole remaining son, the asthmatic P.I Scott Selby (my favourite) is the very image of a film noir character; middle aged, overweight, trench coat wearing; utterly fantastic.  Even the F.B.I agent has some foibles having a drug addiction that has to be combated at various points through the story.

This is less a game and more an experience, a wonderful child of film and game rolled into one.  The graphics are beautiful save for a few dodgy animations, the soundtrack is haunting and sorrowful and there is a lot of replay value in the different choices you can make to get to the games epic conclusion.  Despite the replay value though I don't think it is a game I personally would ever replay, as I have never replayed the similar Fahrenheit.

At times the situations the characters get in do feel slightly silly, there is only so many times you can get captured and have to escape in a game, at least 5 or 6 times through the course of the game you find yourself in some ridiculous James Bond style death trap (such as having to escape from a car dumped in a lake).  Also it seems that the most benign situations turn into Psychoville, it got to the point when something as innocent as a scene at a characters house would devolve into crazy action time as a random Psycho emerged from out of the woodwork.

The game is really unique and is a must play if you own a PS3, highly recommended


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Shadow - Horror Film Review

Shadow is an Italian horror film released in 2009.  The trailer was not particularly good and kind of gave away the half way point spoiler of the film.  As the trailer gives this twist away I feel no need to keep it hidden.

A former American soldier heads off on a cycling holiday to a place known as The Shadow; a large foresty mountain.  While there he gets into some trouble with two violent hunters.  They decide that him and his newly found love interest Angeline are to be their latest prey.  The whole genre then gets ambushed as both the hunters and the prey get captured and awake to find themselves chained up in the basement of a desolate facility at the mercy of some weird bald creature.

The big twist in this is that what starts off as a red neck fuelled deliverance rampage gets diverted at the halfway point to Hostel style torture porn.  This would have been cool and unexpected were it not for the trailer spoiling this.

There are only a handful of characters in this film, none of which are particularly likable.  The main character David is flawed in that he behaves so oddly and feebly.  Just after avoiding death at the hands of some psycho rednecks he decides to initiate a love scene at a lake a few hundred yards from where the killers are still in hot pursuit of him, when being chased by a car later on he keeps incredibly feebly pleading with the driver to stop chasing him which was inadvertently funny and later on he is far too easily distracted by random pieces of junk when he should actually be concentrating on escaping a crazed lunatic.  These were just a few things I noticed that made his character irritating as Hell.

The bad guys are more interesting but not in depth of character as they are cookie cutter stereotypes.  The two hunters try and make themselves seem dangerous but just come across as idiots full of mean looks and random angry shouting,  there is nothing frightening about them.  The torturer guy is a better character though looks like he stepped off the set of Nosferatu being all pasty white and hairless.  There seems no particular motivation for his character and there is quite a randomness to his actions; one moment torturing victims, the next licking hallucinogenic frogs while the next driving big trucks that I'm sure his character would be incapable of doing.

There is quite a bit of violence and looks the part with good special effects.  The deaths all take place off camera, but there is plenty of people standing on nails, getting boiled alive, and in one particularly nasty scene someone gets their eye lid cut off.  Later on after watching the film a dear friend of mine decided to insert her finger up to the knuckle into my eye (well it felt like that anyway!) I couldn't help but remember the man with his eye lid cut off and think that something just as horrific had happened to me!

The film ends on a twist which while not that original I did not see coming.  It is kinda a crutch for the whole of what come before explaining away all the inconsistencies and discrepancies but is still a lame twist.  The film does look great with some beautiful vistas and grimy locations and features an ace score that mixes with the hallucinogenic feel of some parts of the film.  An ok film just nothing special, it just reminded me of the better Creep (pretty much the same plot but set in the London Underground) and felt confused in what it was trying to do.


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Zombie Cow-Milking - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Just when you think Zombie games on the X-Box Indie channel have gone as low as possible something like this comes along.  Read on to see if I am only joking, or if I am in fact just about to throw myself out my window in a fit of despair at this much maligned channel.

The game is set in 2011 with zombies having eaten the brains of every single Human in the world.  With no more brains to eat the zombies turn to a new food source; milk.  The game sees you as a zombie (or Pirate, Ninja, etc.) milking a cow.  You milk the cow by following the button presses on screen, so if a big Y appears on screen you press amazingly enough the Y button on the controller.  After a set time the cow kicks you away from it.

The game is up to 4 players for multiple cow milking tedium.  There is nothing else to the game, milking the cow following insanely boring button presses is it.  Once again Zombies are being used as a means to entice people to a game, the inclusion of other popular characters like Ninjas and Pirates shows Zombies just were not needed, a stick man could be there instead and the dreadful game would have lost nothing.

The game looks utterly terrible like something drawn in Microsoft Paint, the music is terrible, made up of simple beeping sounds.  The makers describe the game as 'fun filled' and a 'Party Game' but it is neither, it is Hell and makes me want to cry!


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Zombiez 8 my Cookiez - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

The title for this game alone nearly made me delete it, the title exemplifies everything that is wrong with the X-Box Indie games channel being as it is made up of text speak, ugh.  I decided to play it anyway; (an easy blog post!) someone needs to inform the masses of the glut of zombie games available in these times.

The game gives some text saying that zombies have gotten sick of eating nasty tasting brains and are now after tastier biscuits like cookies and chocolate digestives.  The game sees you and up to 3 friends as small Micro Machine sized tanks who must protect a bunch of biscuits on a plate from being dragged off the table top by hordes of cute titchy zombies.  If the zombies drag all the biscuits away, or the biscuits all get eaten then it is game over.

The game looks very good, the graphics similar to the style of Castle Crashers, everything really solid looking and bright primary colours.  The music is very fitting, a basic droning ditty that is quite hummable.  The zombies are small on screen (the game plays out from a birds eye perspective) and so look really cute and friendly.  The way they all swarm around a cookie to drag it off and not harm your tank (all they do is hold onto the tank to slow it down) just makes them adorable!

The tank you control can utilise lots of different weapons.  You get your normal machine gun and rocket upgrades but also more fun stuff.  The flame thrower ignites all enemies it comes into contact while the electrocution power up makes your tank fry any zombie you touch.  There are 3 different game modes, first is Classic which just sees you protecting your biscuits.  Next is Frenzy mode which is the same as Classic but features hordes and hordes of zombies making it very hard.  Last there is a game mode that looks like it is player VS player, some type of American Football game maybe?  I was not able to access this due to playing on my lonesome.

I could imagine the game would be lots of fun in multi player but for me on my own the game was far too hard and I was soon left protecting a small chunk of cookie after everything else had been quickly dragged off.  At 400 Microsoft points it is very expensive for an Indie game.  A fun game but maybe too much cash is being asked for, for such a basic game.


Friday, 7 January 2011

Season of the Witch - Horror Film Review

Not a remake of Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, this is instead a horror film set during the middle ages.  I saw a brief TV spot for this, it didn't look anything exciting but my new years resolution was to start going to the Cinema weekly once again, so off I went.

Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman are tasked with transporting a suspected Witch to a remote monastery as a recompense for them deserting from the Crusades.  A plague is ravaging the unnamed land they live in and the girl has been blamed as the cause. At first they question whether the young woman in the cage is actually a Witch but as they journey it becomes apparent that yes, she probably is kinda evil as their group of travellers befall many perils along the way all seeming suspect.

Despite being ex-crusaders Nic Cage and Ron Perlman are very American with no effort to put on an accent.  Apparently even British and European actors used in the film were forced to adopt American accents, making the whole thing seem faintly ridiculous, it reminded me of a sketch from the creepy Monkey Dust animated series.  Things are not made better in that much of their dialogue is ye olde worlde style with some modern slang and swearing thrown in for good measure.  It was very hard to get into the film due to these very off putting accents.

The film at least looks the part with the land the film is set in being murky and muddy full of peasants and soldiers and lots and lots of trees.  It may be because I have seen them in so many films set in modern day but Cage and Perlman both look completely out of place, feeling to me like time travellers from modern day.  I think this is my problem though as the clothes they wear are the same as all the other characters.  The special effects are quite good, the plague victims are covered in nasty looking bulbous sores and seem quite icky.  The creature special effects are also quite cool.  There are a lot of action sequences throughout the film whether it be the group fighting a pack of crazed Wolves, or fighting a collection of Demon possessed Monks all are entertaining.

The film seemed to fly by, at just over an hour and a half it does not out stay its welcome, but the main problem apart from the acting is the predictability of the whole thing.  There are a few twists but nothing special and at one point I correctly guessed Perlmans entire sentence he was about to speak due to how obvious the whole thing is.  Nothing in the film surprised me, it just felt like one big Hollywood horror.  Characters say 'witty' one liners, there are forced moments to make the characters seem likable, jump scares are signposted a mile away, and the soundtrack is utterly forgettable.

If you are prepared for how average the whole thing is going to be then watch it if you must.  It's hard to recommend such a bland and at times very boring film though.


Thursday, 6 January 2011

See No Evil - Horror Film Review

See No Evil is a WWE financed film starring the huge Wrestler Kane as the bad guy.  I had not heard anything good about this film but I really wanted to see what Kane was like.

The film starts with some Cops investigating a house in search of a serial killer.  One of the Cops is killed by the suspect while another gets his arm chopped off by an axe, but not before he shoots the offender in the head.  Four years later and the Cop is transporting a bunch of young offenders from prison to a huge dilapidated Hotel that had been closed 30 years previous after a fire there.  In exchange for a few days of cleaning the Hotel they will get reduced sentences.  Nearly right away it is apparent that there is a killer on the loose; the serial killer from four years back appears to be living on the eighth floor of the Hotel and wants to kill everyone who has invaded his home.

The plot is highly minimal, usually in these kind of films there is a gradual build up to the horror but here the horror starts quite soon into the film and just never stops.  I expected the offenders would be at the Hotel at least one night before hell brakes loose but with dead bodies littering the Hotel this wasn't really an option.  The offenders are all unlikable, annoying teenagers played by twenty somethings, and the Cops looking after them are equally unlikable.  I don't know what sort of prison they come from but the teens have phones, i-pods, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc which I'm sure they should not be allowed in Prison.

The Hotel is a great location, it looks really really ruined and really dirty and grimy; it looks like a place where bad things would happen.  It has quite a lot of wildlife as well such as stray dogs, rodents and plenty of insects.  Expecting the teens to be able to tidy the place in a few days is a joke as the building looks like it should just be pulled down being so over the top trashed.

Kane looks really menacing, his 7 foot height helps this a lot as does his massive build and psychotic look.  Where ever he goes a bunch of flies follow, and he seems almost zombie like (when his head is injured maggots fall out of the fresh wound)  He is like a juggernaut albeit a slow one, walking through walls, hacking open doors and his lack of reach is made up for by his cruel butchers hook on a chain that he wields with deadly accuracy.  A favourite method of his is to swing the hook into a victim then drag them off to his lair to toy with later.  Part of his profile is that he removes his victims eyes (a series of flashbacks reveals that as a child his nasty Mother drilled into him that eyes are the gateway to the soul, and that all people are evil).  Towards the end of the film he speaks a little bit, but sounds so normal that I don't think he should have had any lines.

The film was boring me to death, it was really basic and generic but at some point about half way through the film the kills started getting quite inventive and made me laugh with joy.  One character gets flung out a window of the Hotel by Kane.  She plummets through a conservatory but survives due to a rope tied around her ankle (though her wrist snaps in half on contact with the ground), things seem kind of bad for her but get worse when a group of wild dogs appear randomly to eat her!  Another of the humorous deaths come when a girl gets her still ringing mobile phone stuffed down her throat!  Kane's death is also quite funny (it really is no spoiler to say the slasher of a slasher film gets defeated eventually)

The film was almost criminally boring but does pick up in its second half, and so it is something worth while watching, but only just.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

ZP2XX: Zombies & Pterodactyls - Deathmatch Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

ZP2XX is the sequel to the bland ZP2K9 that was released early on in the Indie channels life.  I didn't review that (though I was sure I had), it was a 2D Arena Deathmatch game in which several players could run around trying to be the person with the most kills.  Zombies only appeared in the game as power ups and as such I did not like it, perhaps more due to the fact I don't like Deathmatch games.  Still everyone else seems to like it as it got high scores.  Now a sequel has crawled out of the woodwork.

The brief story says something about Pterodactyls are bringing warriors together to fight in vast arenas (?).  That's about it, which ever stage you choose sees you enter in the claws of a giant bird who drops you off before exiting.  That is where the Pterodactyl part of the title comes along.  The game is designed for online play, single player just letting you fight against bots.

I really don't want to talk about the game much, it looks beautiful like something out of a water colour children's book, there are a choice of skins to choose from, the music is generic rubbish and there are plenty of different guns and swords to choose from.  Control is via the twin sticks and your character can run up walls and across ceilings as well as use a jet pack.

There are no Zombies! Oh I'm sure they are included somewhere in the game but not anywhere I was able to see in my brief tour of the thing.  Perhaps they are stage specific, or only turn up when time is due to run out, but I think its a bit of a con to have Zombies in the title of your game and then have the brain dead things be like gold dust.  Maybe the fighters are supposed to be zombies? I really don't know, but what I do know is that this game is not for me!

A well made game that looks amazing.  If Deathmatch is your thing then get it, it's only 80 Microsoft points after all, but it is just not designed for the likes of me.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Scott Pilgrim VS The World - Zombie Appearances in Videogames (X-Box Live)

I have recently finished the ace retro looking Scott Pilgrim VS The World videogame.  Scott Pilgrim is a classic 2D scrolling beat em up for X-Box Live and PSN.  It features a unique heavily pixelated look and has an ace chip tune soundtrack.

The game is very fun and quite similar to River City Ransom in that your character can visit shops to buy goods to level up his or her stats.  The game much like the comic book and film revolves around Scott's battles with his girlfriends seven evil exes.  Each level of the game sees you heading towards one of the evil seven, all with the exception of the zombie themed level six.  Level six begins with you in a park, every now and again a shadowy figure appears in the background who causes you mischief (such as raining down random objects on you).  The level progresses to a graveyard where the shadowy figure summons zombies!

The zombies feature two types; male and female and both are suitably decomposing.  The male zombies seem to have a broken ankle, and have partial brain showing, while the females have a weird attack where they can jut out spiky bones from their chest (?).  When knocked over the zombies become invulnerable for a time until they have stood back up again. The level ends with a fight with the shadowy figure (who turns out to be Scott's evil twin Nega Scott).

The game itself is quite varied with other enemy types in the game including Ninjas and Robots among others. This is not a review but if it was I would give the game 5/5 as it is very fun, based on a fantastic property and is up to 4 players which I would imagine would be a load of fun.  At 800 Microsoft points it is not too expensive either.

The game features many cheats unlockable which include among others a blood mode, a sound test and my favourite Survival Horror mode!  By entering Down, Up, Right, Down, Up, Right, Down, Up, Right, Right, Right on the title screen you unlock this mode selectable from the main menu.  Survival Horror mode puts you in a static location (the graveyard) and has an increasingly large and strong horde of zombies after your brains.  There is no end to this mode, is just a case of lasting as long as possible.

People say that nowadays Zombies are over used in games but I don't agree.  Zombies are ace! Embrace them.