Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Zeno Clash has one of the worst videogame titles ever in my humble opinion.  Originally released on the PC the game has now been released in a special edition on XBLA.  It is a first person brawler that sees you exploring a creepy fantasy world.

You play as a Human called Ghat, the game starts with you having just killed your parent; a giant monstrous being called Father/Mother.  Pursued by your brothers and sisters (various humans and animals) you flee your home to find somewhere new to live.  As the plot progresses you come to learn via a series of playable flashbacks the reason for the murder of your parent.

Zeno Clash takes place in a sinister fantasy world which reminded me a lot of the world of Dark Crystal.  The Town you come from is a hotch potch of strange ramshackle buildings, you venture into the woods of the Corwids and then cross the desert from which no one is said to have ever returned.  Eventually you get to the very creepy end of the world where it is forever twilight and shadows roam the lands.  Along the way you fight a lot of people.  Combat is all first person, with one shoulder button for light attacks and one for heavy attacks.  Stunned enemies can be thrown, and downed enemies can be kicked.  Various uses of block and evade lead to a series of different attacks such as spinning kicks, and hammer fists.  Combat is satisfying if a little bit samey.

The game is really short but has a really unique look and feel to it.  The locations are all purposely odd looking and have a strange alien feel to them.  For the most part you are fighting Corwids (a group of insane people) as well as your many brothers and sisters, but there is also wildlife to fight which is mostly done via the games many guns.  The guns are all weird and created out of bones and animals, a later level sees you relying heavily on a magic wand which can fling balls of light at shadow monsters (very similar to zombies) which made a nice change of pace.  A highlight is a boat trip down a moonscape setting that has what appear to be astronauts pursuing you.

A very strange game, but it does draw you in to its bizarre world.  Quite easy, but there are fighting arenas outside of the main game that provide some challenge.  It is unsettling, weird and kooky but I did enjoy the brief time I spent and is definitely worth checking out if your looking for something a bit off the wall.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Intensity by Dean Koontz - Horror Book Review

Some of Dean Koontz's books are quite good, others...not so good.  Intensity was a book I started with some excitement but this slowly turned into depression as I realised I was stuck with a book to read that was very boring.

Intensity is the tale of a girl versus a serial killer.  Troubled Chyna Shepherd had gone to stay at her best friends parents house for a vacation, however the very first night a crazed serial killer called Vess turns up and kills everyone.  Chyna manages to avoid his notice but ends up trapped in the back of his camper van.  At first her only thought is escape but after witnessing a murder at a service station she realises that the crazed killer has a young girl locked up in his basement.  Chyna makes it her mission to stay with the killer until he returns home and then free the girl and call the Police on him.  Things don't go quite to plan though as Vess is a very smart man...

The trouble with this book is that just over half the book is dedicated to the drive to Vess's house.  All this time Chyna is hiding and Vess is driving and not too much happens making the books first part very dull.  Chapters and paragraphs switch between Chyna and Vess, with Chyna you get long flashbacks to her childhood where she was constantly surrounded by danger, while the parts with Vess try to show you his view of the world and make you understand why he does what he does.

Vess is not a likable character which I guess he shouldn't be as he is a sadistic butcher who delights in breaking his victims and hearing them plead for their lives. He sees himself as a wolf and everyone else as sheep and delights in the way he is able to blend in with normal people.  Chyna on the other hand is kinda annoying and her constant flashbacks to her pathetic childhood are not appreciated.

The book picks up in the second half which is set at the killers house out in the country.  He has a lot of high tech security as well as a pack of amazingly well trained attack Dogs in the form of 5 Dobermans, though a later plot twist does kinda give an excuse to how he has been able to train these dogs so well.  Plot spoilers abound here but Chyna ends up captured by Vess who promptly leaves giving her 6 hours to escape her chains, rescue the girl locked in the basement and flee the property before he returns from his day job.

It is hard to recommend the book when half of it is an utter snore-fest, and to be honest I am quite happy that it is over and hopefully choose my next book to read more wisely.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dead Space 2 (2011) - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

I wanted this game since the day I first heard about it, I love Dead Space and the whole mythos behind it.

Dead Space 2 is set three years after the events of Dead Space.  Isaac Clarke has been kept in a mental institution on the Sprawl (a giant city on one of the moons of Saturn) during that time.  The horror of the necromorphs (basically alien zombies) erupts in the city and Isaac is brought out of suspended animation by a mysterious group for unknown reasons.  Isaac caught up in events must find a way to destroy the threat whilst avoiding the corrupt administration of the Sprawl who are quite literally gunning for him.

As sequels go Dead Space 2 ticks all the right boxes.  Whilst feeling and sounding much like the first game this time around there is more action, more enemies and a more refined engine.  The game starts off on a chaotic high with none of the opening suspense of Dead Space.  The very first thing you do in the game is run a crazed gauntlet of necromorphs whilst tied up in a straight jacket and from this point the game hardly lets up with threat and danger around every corner and in every vent.

The location this time around is a giant city which whilst varied enough never flows together as smoothly as the space ship setting of Dead Space.  Isaac seems to travel between locations that wildly vary and feel disjointed; going from an apartment block to a church to a school with no smooth changeover.  In the fiction of the game the Sprawl was so named as it grew so quickly with little planning so in that context the random locations can be explained away I guess.

The plot for Dead Space 2 is not as complicated, it couldn't have the suspense and mystery of the first game as the necromorphs are now a known quantity.  The plot instead elects for a simpler style with a bad guy in the form of the corrupt director of the Sprawl Hans Tiedemann.  The eventual payoff is satisfying with a plot device used in many zombie films being deployed to good effect.

There are a lot more enemy types this time around; as well as the returning monsters of Dead Space there are acid spitting necromorphs whose acid makes Isaac unable to run, children necromorphs that are very weak but swarm you in packs, raptor style animal necromorphs who are quite sneaky, and even baby necromorphs who are slow moving but explode when shot.  The new enemy types bring in some nice variation though my favourite enemies are still the common grunts with their claws and teeth.  You have access to about 10 weapons this time around, new ones including a powerful harpoon gun that can pin enemies to walls, proximity mines, and a sniper rifle.  Returning are Isaac's other abilities of using anti gravity to use ordinary objects as weapons, and his stasis field that slows the many enemies down.  Once again this abilities can be upgraded at shops dotted around the game.

The first game had many show stopping bosses, some which literally took up the entire screen but in this game they are all gone, the game has no real bosses to speak of which is disappointing but what this game does have are set pieces.  A fight aboard a speeding train, a crazed battle whilst being chucked around in space and a very cool revisit to the space ship the original game took place in.  Many of the scare techniques used in the first game return here as well as a few more but again the game is never scary; tense and panic inducing certainly but not really scary.

The game features multiplayer this time around, I gave it a quick go but was quite hard to find a game as my stupid broadband NAT is set to strict.  Multiplayer sees 4 players as humans charged with an objective while 4 other players control necromorphs whose aim is to disrupt that objective.  It is quite fun playing as the necromorphs and experience gained by playing levels you up providing new weapons and other bonuses.

Reading through this it sounds like I hate the game but I really don't it is an immense experience and has a hell of a lot of replay value.  I have played through the game once but intend to replay the game at least another 3 times and that's not even including the crazy hardcore mode that is definitely something that will destroy me.  The games music score as well as sense of immersion (audio and visual files are back with a vengeance) really makes this game a true experience.  A fantastic sequel in a great series!


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

General Update for March 2011 - March into March Edition

A late update for the month of March as my life has got quite busy lately. Unfortunately I am still not working so my finances for horror are looking grim (quite appropriate!).

On the video game front I have just completed Dead Space 2 and have to say it is quite excellent even if it feels a little bit more disjointed than the first one, a review will follow within the next few days.  Dragon Age 2 has been released now but I shall wait until it goes down in price drastically before getting that as I have read some mediocre reviews of it.  I still have Deadly Premonition, Fall Out: New Vegas, Puzzle Quest 2 and Final Fantasy XIII to finish up and have started on the decidedly bizarre first person adventure game Zeno Clash.  I recently played through Deathspank 2: Thongs of Virtue and while it is a decent game I don't feel it warrants space on here as despite featuring various monsters, skeletons and ghosts has a less fantasy setting this time around.

There are quite a few horrors at the cinema that I have missed mainly due to lack of time and the fact that petrol is so damn expensive that it is a mission just to get to the cinema (it is the other side of town from my house).  I really need to start making more of an effort to go!  Still I have a million horror films at home I have yet to watch.

On the book front I am still struggling through the snore inducing Intensity by Dean Koontz, over half way though the blasted thing now, the main character has been captured by the lame killer so hopefully something exciting will happen now?

Stick around on this blog as I at least update regularly even if my writing is not that great (or dare I say it interesting!)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Top 5 Scariest Videogames

I often focus on videogames on this blog, I admit they are my favourite hobby and sure I would like to be more balanced in my content but that doesn't really happen as much as I would like.  Horror in videogames can really be done well, the added level of interactivity means a deeper immersion.  Rather than screaming at a character in a film to get away from a killer you are the character, your fate is in your hands.

It was quite hard coming up with a list of my top 5 most scary games, many nearly made the list but just about failed.  These include the sublime Dead Space; a masterpiece of survival horror, a sci-fi nightmare as a lone engineer explores a desolate space ship.  Other notable examples are the Nintendo DS first person horror game Dementium: The Ward which has amazing sound effects, Clocktower 3 which sees you as a defenceless school girl fleeing from a series of different serial killers, Manhunt where you are a man forced to participate in the ultimate snuff film, and the impressive Doom 3.  These 5 I have chosen below are what I think are the most scary games of all time...

5. The Suffering

This game got some really low scores but despite that it is excellent and I would say is one of my favourite games of all time.  I remember one Sunday playing this game from beginning to end non stop.  The game sees you playing as a man on Death Row at a Prison on an island with a sinister past.  Monsters attack the Prison and in the confusion you escape your cell.  The rest of the game sees you with the task of escaping the hellish island.  The locations all flow naturally and the horror does not end when you leave the confines of the Prison with an insane asylum, quarry, army base and various other locales full of monsters and evil ghosts.  The cool thing about the game is that you can choose to help fellow inmates as well as prison guards which gives you morality points that decide the ending you get.  The sense of being trapped on this nightmare island under constant attack by demonic creatures (all based on various execution methods) is amazing.

The Suffering 2 is not very good at all unfortunately.  The beginning scene where you are taken into custody after arriving on the main land is stunning but after that the game falls apart with inferior rehashes of the first games set pieces and a stupid plot.

4. Resident Evil

There have been lots and lots of Resident Evil games but the one I am going to talk about is the original Playstation/Saturn version of Resident Evil.  I liked the remake but it added needless things which took away from the horror somewhat.  Resident Evil sees you playing as a member of S.T.A.R.S (a search and rescue police team) who are attacked by crazed dogs while searching the woods near Raccoon City for signs of their missing Bravo team.  Seeking refuge in a remote mansion your aim is to discover the source of a zombie outbreak as well as find a way to escape the house from Hell.  The moment wild dogs burst through a window early on in the game cements this as one of the most scary games I know.  Ammo is always scarce, the enemies are terrifying and the location has such a sense of isolation that it feels like you will never escape.  Special mention goes to the panicked run through the generator rooms late in the game pursued by bizarre ceiling running monstrosities.

Resident Evil 2 is the highlight of the series, while 3 became just a bit too stale.  After that the games continued at a average pace until the reinvention of the series with the breath taking Resident Evil 4.  Unfortunately the reboot for the series moved the game away from survival horror to more of an action game.

3. Project Zero/Fatal Frame

In Project Zero you play as a teenage girl who has gone to a decrepit house in the mountains of Japan to find her brother who vanished.  She soon discovers the house is full of evil spirits who trap her in the place.  Finding a magical camera which can destroy spirits by taking their pictures she has to figure out the curse of the house.  The game is terrifying and is a game that is almost too scary.  The game taps into the Japanese style of horror film with many nods to The Ring series of films.  Set over 3 nights you are never safe, every part of the abode is full of danger and evil spirits who are very memorable (such as the ghost of the woman with no eyes who screams 'they took my eyes!' at you as she attacks you)  A very very scary game and one I fear to go back to.

Project Zero was followed by two sequels.  The first Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly moved the location to a deserted mountain village.  It lost the sense of loneliness by having you control two characters.  In Project Zero 3: The Tormented the heroine of the game enters a giant ghostly mansion in her dreams.  You are able to leave the dream at any time and return to your normal suburban house which slowly gets infiltrated by the horrors of the dream house.

2. Condemned

A launch title for the X-Box 360 this sees you play as a FBI agent who has been framed for the murder of two Cops.  As he searches for the true killer he is likewise pursued by the Police.  The game as the title implies takes place in condemned structures including a subway system, a fire ravaged library, a creepy department store, an old school and more.  The atmosphere is very intense in this game with the darkness being the enemies friend (enemies comprised of deranged homeless people, and crazed drug addicts).  The game has a very realistic feel to it yet includes a bizarre supernatural element to it.

The game had a sequal Condemned 2 but it is quite disapointing.  The bizarre plot of the first game is ruined here with every single thing being explained, and a stupid conspiracy plot thrown in.  Locations are not very good with a lot more new and unscary places used instead of creepy ones.

1. Silent Hill

I think this game will forever remain my most scary one, the memories of it are so strong.  I have said before about my most scary moment but will reitarate it again here.  I was living with my parents at the time and they had gone away for the weekend.  I had moved my Playstation downstairs onto the big (at the time) TV, the volume was up loud it was the middle of the night and was playing through the game for the first time.  I was in light world Silent Hill exploring a big Hospital.  In the elevator a mysterious extra floor become avaliable to go to, exiting the lift I found to my horror I was now in dark world Silent Hill.  The corridoors were pitch black and each door I went through got locked behind me funneling me onwards.  Then the zombie Hospital staff attacked...I had to turn the game off it creeped me out that much!  Later sections such as the overwhelmingly terryfying sewer sections cemented the fear for me.

Most of the Silent Hill sequels are good games (especially Silent Hill 2) but none ever recreated that first feeling of terror.  I think it was a combination of stiff controls and graphical limitations that really made the fear so deep.  Later versions are too clean cut and smooth for my liking, the rough edges really added something to the game, true psychological horror.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Golden Axe II - Fantasy Videogame Review (Megadrive)

I was playing this earlier today when it hit me that this is something I could blog about.  Fantasy shares some similar tropes with Horror especially with its violence and monsters.  Golden Axe is a side scrolling fighting game by Sega.

Golden Axe saw you playing as one of 3 characters; the Dwarf Gilius Thunderhead, the Barbarian Ax Battler and the Amazon Tyris Flare.  Golden Axe II again has you choose from one of these 3.  Several years after the defeat of the conqueror Dark Guld he returns stronger than ever, once again seizing the throne and taking control of the Kingdom the game is set in.  It is up to the 3 warriors to fight their way through 7 scrolling levels on their path to the Castle of Dark Guld.

Golden Axe was a fun game but Golden Axe II is the real series highlight.  Everything in the sequel just seems more bleak and desperate.  The background music throughout the game is mournful and full of sorrow even when it has war drums thumping away.  The locations you fight through are all dank and depressing; ruined villages, crumbling ruins, the grim fortress of Dark Guld, it seems like a land that has had its heart crushed. The last few levels see you assault Dark Gulds castle and it really feels like a dramatic place with enemies now decked out in golden armour.  Eventually you fight to the throne room seen in the pre game story where you discover the being seated on the throne is not the real Dark Guld.  You head to a beautiful palace where you fight the real Dark Guld to the beat of really inspiring music.

Much like Golden Axe civilians appear every now and again but whereas in Golden Axe they were likely to be running away here they are usually being beaten up by the enemy characters.  The enemies are again a mixture of human types and monsters.  The main enemy type of soldiers armed with claws and clubs but these are mixed up with a wide range of skeletons, lizard men, possessed suits of armour and Minotaurs.  Bosses are quite cool, though the bosses all show up in later levels as normal enemies.  Golden Axe saw you beating up defenceless thieves to get magic and health but in this one the thieves are replaced with mage's who fight back.

The game is quite easy and due to the bad A.I many enemies commit suicide by walking off cliffs or into pits, despite this the game is fun. It is a scrolling fighter, quite  basic so there is not much detail to go into.  Remember that the Dwarf is the best pick as he is the strongest!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Rite (2011) - Horror Film Review

First of all I would recommend that if your interested in seeing this film that you don't watch the trailer.  Luckily I never saw the trailer before seeing it, which is good as it gives away the whole plot.  I had no idea what to expect when seeing The Rite, I knew it was some type of horror but that was all.  The Rite is a film about exorcism.  I can't help but give slight spoilers so tread carefully.

Michael Kovak (played by Colin O'Donoghue) only trained to be a Priest to escape his family business of tending to the dead.  He planned to leave before he said his vows.  His mentor at Priest School recognises greatness in Michael despite his lack of any faith in religion and convinces Michael to take a two month course on Exorcism in Rome.  In Rome his lecturer sees Michael's bullish lack of faith and directs him to an old friend, an old exorcist who has performed over 1000 exorcisms; Father Lucas Trevant (played wonderfully by Anthony Hopkins).  As he helps the Father perform his exorcisms his beliefs that possessed people are merely mentally ill comes to be questioned as he witnesses things that cannot be easily explained away.

The film is played a large part as a realistic story.  The film purports to be based on true events but the reality is not so exciting as the true parts of the story are the most mundane.  The film descends into fantasy territory with Michael running around Rome plagued by mad visions such as a room full of frogs and a mule with glowing red eyes, while the exorcisms sees the apparently possessed turning all burnt looking and veiny as the demon takes over.  There are some cool things that have been added to the film which research afterwards only brought to light, specifically what type of Demon is supposed to be the one possessing the victim (to exorcise a demon you must know its name).

O'Donoghue is wonderfully cast as the unbelieving Priest in training, his arguments and scepticism are convincing, though less so when he wont believe despite blatant evidence.  The characters back story is shown quite a lot, explaining his coldness with his father and his desire to escape the confines of the family business (such as him witnessing his father calmly embalming his dead mother as a child).  Hopkins is fantastic as ever, his exorcist coming across as both creepy and powerful but displaying human weakness.  The film looks ace with lots of well shot angles and the pervasive element of rain to intone coming disaster and humour used to good degrees.

The film is not really scary, at most it gets creepy only really managing to make you jump by cheap shock scares.  Nonetheless I really enjoyed this, maybe because I was in a good mood, but I got what I expected; a enjoyable, well made horror film.  At times the film feels like a superhero origin story rather oddly maybe due to the excellent film score.  If your in the mood for a decent exorcism film then this is 'The Rite' film to see!


Monday, 7 March 2011

Zombie Arena 2 - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

When reviewing Zombie Arena a few months back (find it on the index page!) I said it was the worst type of shovel ware crap.  It was with some trepidation that I loaded up its sequel Zombie Arena 2.  Would it be an improvement or would it somehow manage to be even worse?

Zombie Arena 2 again sees you playing as your Avatar (this time I sported a Duke Nukem T-Shirt and again my trademark Frankenstein mask).  Rather than be trapped in an arena and forced to fight for your life you are now on the walls surrounding an arena where you must use your trusty bow and arrow to protect a defenceless human from the onslaught of zombies.

Zombie Arena 2 is actually a better game than the first.  Your character has more movement, with the tap of a shoulder button your Avatar runs and leaps from turret to turret like someone from the god awful Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon films (which does look kinda funny).  Your not alone on the walls, you also have zombies heading towards you on the ramparts, but it is the masses in the arena that should be your main concern.

Your weapon is a bow and arrows and again you have access to power ups that deal various different types of damage.  Also you are able to purchase a rope (from the shop you visit between waves) which gives you easier ways to get around the arena.  There is more strategy this time around as you must position yourself in the best place to take out the approaching hordes.  The approaching hordes are unfortunately all identical looking, I had kind of hoped for some variation this time around.

It is a much better game than Zombie Arena but it still sucks, the same score, but is a much better 1/5 than the 1/5 for the first game.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Boy Eats Girl (2005) - Zombie Film Review

Boy Eats Girl is a teen horror flick that describes itself as a cross between American Pie and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have to say that did not make me want to watch it but luckily it is nowhere near as bad as that.  Despite looking like it was going to be an American based film it is actually Irish made, it just wishes it were set in America.

David Leon stars as Nathan; a high school student who on the night he was to reveal to his long term crush Jessica (Samantha Mumba) that he loved her is accidentally killed by his mother.  Remembering a book on Voodoo she discovered in a secret crypt in her local church she uses the book to reanimate her son.  Not knowing he has been reanimated as the living dead Nathan heads to School where a fight with the school bully Samson leads to Samson being infected and turned into a zombie.  Quite soon the whole Town is over run with zombie students and teachers and it is up to Nathan (who has still retained his humanity) and his school friends to sort out the whole mess.

The film desperately wants to be American.  The whole School atmosphere and setting is identical to those found in American films but feels out of place in Ireland which doesn't have a similar school system.  Half the students who are supposed to be under 18 must be around 30 years old and look that age also making it all seem a bit odd.  Leon is a good actor and conveys the transition into zombie well but co-star Mumba is not a good actress in the slightest.  The film is held up by the double act comedy sidekicks of Diggs and Henry who provide comic relief all the way though. Diggs especially has some laugh out lines.

The zombies are of the running kind and are mostly students.  Only the lead zombie Nathan is able to behave rationally, the other zombies are mindless apart from being able to hunt out people they knew in life.  A sub-plot with the Nathans mum has her finding a cure for the zombie infection but out of everyone only two people actually get the cure, the rest are butchered mostly in a scene involving a threshing machine which goes to Brain Dead levels of over the top gore. After the survivors experience I am pretty sure they would be messed up for the rest of their lives!

The American Pie references come with lewd jokes about penises and gay people which were not needed or funny but luckily did not come to dominate the film due to a lot of the obnoxious characters being killed.  The film was OK but it is off putting to see old actors trying to play school students, as well as the Americanisation which was not needed (least the characters kept their Irish accents and didn't attempt American ones!). Quite a lot of blood and gore and some decent lines in places but the story is really nothing new.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

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

Ugh, another Indie zombie game.  Not a very interesting one this time around.  You control a cross hair which you must use to take out zombie sausages running around the colourful cartoony levels.

The game takes place in a colourful land in which thousands of human sized zombie sausages run around not doing much at all.  Mingled in with these zombies are humans who seem unperturbed by the zombie sausages and who the zombies have no interest in.

The main complaint with this game is it is just so boring.  A tedious never ending tune plays constantly while you shoot everything that moves.  There are so many sausages running around that it is harder to not hit them than it is to kill them.  There are two game modes.  Normal mode sees you armed with a machine gun with which to gun down the masses.  You can also get a grenade and other weapons.  Each level has a time limit for you to kill as many sausages as possible.  The 2nd mode sees you armed with a sniper rifle and a specific zombie sausage target to hit.

The sausages do not look like zombies, the red eyes and partial stitches are the only thing to make them seem as such.  The game may look nice and have some pleasant destructible scenery but it is just mind numbingly dull.


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Dead Space: Ignition (2010) - Horror Videogame Review (XBLA)

Dead Space: Ignition is an interactive comic that was released on the run up to the release of Dead Space 2.  The comic is mildly animated with full voice and soundtrack.  The comic takes place just before the start of Dead Space 2 and takes place on the Sprawl (the location in that game). There are giant plot spoilers ahead!

The game follows the exploits of an engineer called Franco Delile and his security guard girlfriend Sarah.  They are carrying out a routine repair on the Sprawl (a city on a moon of Saturn) when there starts to come reports of an outbreak of some disease.  Monsters start appearing killing all in their path.  Franco and Sarah head to the medical wing as they feel that they will be able to help the people there and also that in the event of an evacuation the medical wing would be one of the first to be evacuated.  On the way Franco receives a bizarre message on his pager saying 'HE AWAITS'.  Sarah is killed leaving Franco on his own.  He heads to a Psychiatric ward and the game ends with him releasing Isaac Clarke (the protagonist of Dead Space 1 and 2) from a stasis chamber.

The comic is multi branched with there being three different branches though the comic such as having the choice to restore lights to a section of the Sprawl or to go and deal with a hostage situation.  Each path leads to the same ending but I would say it is worth playing all the routes as they feature lots of different scenes.  No matter what path you take Sarah ends up dead and the game has just the one ending.

There are three mini games encountered time and time again to split up the comic. The first of these is a game where you control a coloured line and must race it through an obstacle course and beat other coloured lines, this is the best of the three but quite basic.  The second mini game sees you in a tower defence style situation where you are attacking rather than tower building.  You can beat all these just by spamming the buttons so is always very easy.  The last game sees you needing to match up coloured lasers using mirrors.  It is the most complicated of the games and also by far the most boring and time consuming.

The comic looks pretty dreadful with the whole look being unfinished and rushed.  The mild animation is mostly terrible and makes everything look really bad.  Maybe it is just that it is on a big screen but the whole art direction is very basic and sloppy.  Coupled with the fact that the mini games are so bland and awful leads to not a very good game.  There is replay value in the alternate paths, and masses of the terrible mini games to do but even at 400 Microsoft points this is abysmal.  One good thing is that the sound effects and menu design is very similar to the main games.

If your into the Dead Space universe then this is unfortunately essential as it does provide some back story to Dead Space 2 but otherwise avoid like a zombie plague.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Zombie Accountant - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Zombie Accountant is yet another X-Box Indie game, there is never a shortage of these Indie games to review it is just that I don't want to just review video games, I want to review everything horror and zombie based.

Zombie Accountant sees you as an employee at a Office who just so happens to be a zombie.  You must run through the Office collecting tax returns while avoiding running into filing cabinets and avoid eating your co-workers.  Being a zombie it is natural to want to eat brains so when you pass humans you must duck your head to avoid the urge.  As you collect more and more tax returns you get promoted up through the ranks.

The game is one never ending level which sees your zombie constantly running.  Collecting tax returns without hitting any obstacles leads to your score multiplier increasing but also leads to your zombie running quicker and quicker.  On the brains front if you eat more than 3 workers brains it is game over, a screen shows your notice of termination with the reason being 'eating brains after being specifically asked to stop'.  With only two buttons; duck and jump it may sound easy but this is twitch game play at its finest!

The game features large characters in a bright colourful environment with an awesome chip-tune soundtrack.  At 80 Microsoft points the game is as cheap as possible so definitely recommended!