Friday, 30 September 2011

Blogger Zombie Walk 2011 Special - The people you need, and the people you don't need with you in the event of Zombie Armageddon

Welcome weary travellers to the home of The Rotting Zombie.  Hope you are part of the Blogger Zombie Walk 2011 and if you are not then welcome anyway.  Mainly a place of horror videogame and film reviews I am branching out to offer you my knowledge gained from watching/playing such things.

We all know the Zombie Apocalypse is coming, foretold by both the Mayans, Nostradamus and Pat Sharpe. The people you band up with during that crucial point in human history will determine whether you live or die (or un-die I guess).  To help you on your way I have drawn up a list of people you should seek out, and people you should hope are already zombified when the time comes.

First off here are Top 10 of the types of people you really could do with in your unhappy little band of survivors...

10.  Forrest Griffin

Not only is Mr Griffin quite a good UFC fighter (Ultimate Fighting Championship) but he has actually already wrote a book on how to survive an apocalypse ('Be Ready When The Sh*t Goes Down').  I have not read the book but I imagine it involves Forrest generally kicking post Armageddon butt.  He may be a bit too hard to control with all his strength, but what a sight his final stand would be as he beats the living daylights out of a horde of brain thirsty zombies!

9.  Chef

At the best of times I want to chew off my own feet at the mere thought of doing my own cooking.  Having travelled the globe I am certain in the knowledge that I am the world's worst cook, every single meal I have ever cooked has made me feel sick and craving anything to get the taste out of my mouth.  In a zombie apocalypse food will be harder to come by, tinned goods will probably be the height of fashion.  A Chef with his collection of herbs and spices should be able to make even the blandest meal of tinned spaghetti into a meal fit for zombie surviving Gods.

8.  Helicopter Pilot

I know Helicopters are not exactly in abundance, here in Blighty I rarely ever see one.  Judging from media though they are quite handy in getting to places without the hassle of swarms of ghouls clawing at you and burnt out cars blocking your path.  If I did get my hands on a Copter I would not have a clue what to do with it, I have nightmarish visions of me ploughing it down a street on its side, sparks flying everywhere.  In case of such an event it would be cool to have my very own Fly Boy to fly the thing.  While it cannot hold too many people it could be used to fly to shopping centre rooftops where a barricaded life of luxury could be had.

7.  Nurse/Paramedic

With the NHS gone there will be an absence of response to any emergency numbers called, even the slightest injury could devolve into a life changing event.  I don't know about you but if I banged my thumb while boarding up some windows I would appreciate a health specialist to stick a plaster on it.  More serious injuries such as crashes, falls, setting yourself alight etc would really need medical know how that a first aid book would not be too forth coming with.  Therefore some well trained, experienced health care specialist would be indeed a useful resource.

6.  Handyman

Regardless of where you end up in your own personal apocalypse there is bound to be some frantic barricading needing to be done.  I have seen far too many situations where hastily boarded up doors and windows are easily broken down by attacking freaks of nature.  I remember being in Leon Kennedy's shoes pushing bookcases and cupboards against doors only for them to be destroyed minutes later.  A Handyman would be able to not only organise us into useful teams but he could also instruct on how best to secure the places, as well as build us some nice furniture for when the chaos dies down.

5.  Person immune to the virus

There is always going to be some people who are immune to any cause of zombiefication.  It would be wise to enlist at least one immune into your group.  If you are barricaded into your mansion/church/cinema etc and food supplies are running low then who better to send off on an errand then the immune kid?  They might moan about being bitten, and they might complain about the possibility of their brains getting eaten but they are a useful commodity.  Of course they should not be allowed to mingle with your group for the very obvious reason that they may certainly be carrying the zombie virus so should be locked up/kept in a shed when not out on errands.

4.  Scientist

The chances of a cure being found by studying zombies is very very slight, but under controlled conditions, and a suitable lab space tissue and blood samples of the undead could be studied.  On no account should actual zombies be brought in for testing as that never goes down well.  Your Scientist could also develop cool new weapons for your group to use like electric firing guns and plasma rifles as well as create robots for you to send out to dispatch your rotting nemeses.

3.  Soldier

Soldiers are trained to fight, they know how to use firearms (a skill quite lacking in Britain) and they know how to defend an area.  They also follow and give orders well and with their discipline are unlikely to flee at the first sign of danger.  One with an expertise in communication could get radios up and running while engineers could work generators, and of course vehicle specialists would be handy also.  A soldier with a tank would be very useful for a slow but sure escape from almost any zombie-centric situation.

2.  Survivalist

Near the top of my list for many reasons.  They would know how to survive and would be ready to adapt to any situation.  Lost in the woods (Blair Witch style) they would be able to track animals and find food and most importantly escape the woods.  In an urban area I would hope they had their own underground bunker stocked with food and ready for use.  An ideal survivalist would have a vast underground bunker built over many years due to their healthy dose of paranoia.  I would love to last out the apocalypse in a secure bunker, safe from harm from any darn zombies.

1.  Me

I intend to survive the apocalypse.  If it turns out you have the nine already listed in your team then you should get in contact with me.  I am pretty average, but I promise I wont be any trouble!  I have no qualms dispatching previous loved ones turned zombies (possibly), am used to living on a basic diet, and follow orders well.  For all your zombie survival needs contact me at!

So they are the top people I would want for my group.  All have their uses and would ensure at least a longer survival than most.  Of course if the zombie apocalypse was via demonic means then eventually everyone would be killed no matter where they hid but hopefully it will be a virus, or radiation from a returning space probe that starts it all off.  For every Ying there is a Yang, and so I also have a top 10 people I would most definitely not want to be stuck with for my zombie Armageddon...

10.  Clown

Many people are scared of clowns, I personally don't mind them, the few I have seen in the wild have been quite funny.  But if Dead Rising is anything to go by then the apocalypse will turn any and all clowns into chainsaw juggling, fire breathing mad men intent on destruction and carnage.

9.  Old Person

It might sound harsh not wanting any old people in my group but to be blunt they would be more trouble then they are worth (unless they are some type of sage or martial arts expert).  They would not be able to help much, they would slow the group down if we were on the move, and they would complain about how zombie apocalypses were so much better in their days.

8.  Pregnant Woman

Pregnant people are very dangerous to have around, years of watching zombie flicks and reading books has hammered this fact in.  If a pregnant lady gets turned then without a doubt her partner will defend his zombie mistress with his life, putting everyone at risk with his madness.  If the pregnant lady should come to term and have a zombie baby then she will go crazy and put everyone at risk defending her undead child from harm.  If she should have a child and it is all fine then that is dandy...but it is very unlikely to happen that way, she may even decide the worlds too miserable a place for her child to live in and let in the undead to feast (obviously again not a good thing).

7.  Criminal

Sometimes it can be good to have a criminal with you, their skills (depending on crime) could help you to gain access to locked up buildings, help you fight the zombie threat, or even be a good leader.  But what if you end up with a serial killer, or psychotic rampager?  Sure they will get kicks out of tormenting the undead, but sooner or later they will get bored and decide live humans are far more fun to play with.

6.  Religious Guy

The dead walking will make many devoutly religious people see the end times, when revelation occurs.  Their faith will cause them to strike down the unholy, while their devotion to the Lord will make them assured of their own salvation and much like the Preacher in War of the Worlds they will attempt to banish the zombies with prayer.  Maybe if the outbreak is demonic this would work?  I for one don't intend to last out the death of humanity sitting in some crummy basement somewhere praying for salvation, nor be lectured to incessantly by some mad priest and his tales of fire and brimstone.

5.  Someone with suspicious wounds

While it can seem ultra harsh to refuse entry to a fellow human desperate times call for desperate measures.  Sure that patch of missing flesh on the arm could be from 'tripping over' but it could also be from a zombie with sharp teeth.  Do you really want to play good Samaritan only to have your kindness repaid by a bite to the brain?  If you really feel that much kindness to your new pal then at least make them stay separate from the rest of the group until you feel a fair amount of time has passed.  If the person with the suspicious bite wound is known to you then make your own judgement, I myself don't think I would be able to turn away a family member or friend from seeking shelter even if they had a zombie clamped to their ankle.  Don't wimp out like me, be a survivor!

4.  Evil Scientist

Unlike the normal Scientist the evil one would demand live zombies to experiment on, as well as human test subjects to use.  This would put the base at risk as it is likely that either the captured zombies will escape, or the Scientist will die and his prized subject will use his new found zombie intelligence to get revenge.  Either way chaos will happen.  For a good example of this I recommend the amazing fly on the wall documentary 'Day of the Dead' that documents what happened to a group of military and scientists during the brief 1980's zombie outbreak in America.

3.  Biker

On the plus side they are trigger happy, unfortunately they are also wild, drunk, and reckless; all things that would put your group at risk.  Post Armageddon Bikers do not care who they shoot whether it be zombie or human, while during any emergency they would be too busy playing with 'Test your Strength' machines to actually fight.  In zombie films these types of people are usually bad guys, or at the very least herald in waves of zombies following in their chaotic wake.

2.  Zombie Bloggers

The problem with bloggers about zombie apocalypses is that they all have plans of survival already formulated. All the 'I told you zombies where going to rise up! I was right! I am so god damn good!!' would get tiring quickly.  There is no quicker way to get into an argument then discuss zombie survival plans, this I have learned from experience, so to have a self righteous know it all bullishly dictating the best course of action to a group of stressed, traumatised survivors would lead to disaster.  I of course am the exception to this rule, but only because my zombie survival plan is perfect, just like me!

1.  Annoying Person

Think of the most annoying person you know, now imagine ending up stuck with them during a zombie apocalypse.  Enough said really.

Well that is it, thanks for sticking by, I know these lists are plenty, hopefully this one was not too boring.  What started off as a quick easy post turned into a bit of an odyssey.  Feel free to visit again, and if you are on the Zombie Blogger walk then carry on walking.

Ghost Hunting Theories
Above the Norm: Bizarre Arizona
Zombies Everywhere
Holly's Horrorland
Little Gothic Horrors
Anything Horror
Katy Bennett Horror Writer and Poet
Bubba's Place
Horror Smorgasbord
Monkey Man
Words and Music
Red Shoes Chronicles
The Wolf's Eyes
My Day in a Sentence
Pixie's Horror Galore
Strange State
The Misadventures of HalloweeNut
Halloween Blues
Kweeny Todd
The California Blogging Massacre
Horror Shock Lolipop
Vanessa Morgan
Improbable Frontiers
No Really, You Can Eat It
Art By Living Dead Girl Nicole
Two Gory Chicks
A Dust Bunny in the Wind
A Ghoul's Best Friend
Zombies Are Magic
Cherry Neko Saves the World
Tall Tales
At the Mansion of Madness
The Haunted Rose
The Rotting Zombie
Halloween Overkill
Out of the Shadows
Creepy Glow Keyhole Gallery
Creepy Glowbugg
Bifocal Univision
Sherry Soule
Anchors and Roses
Paranormal Researchers Group
Whispering Pines History
Lovely Miss Megs
Sean Thomas Fisher's Blogwash
Rise and Fight
Stump Town Horror
LoliClown's Little Blog of Horror
Zombies Can't Love
Books and Beyond
The Grave Bandits
Screaming Goregasms
Lazy Daisy Life
Icky Monster
Pretty in Fiction
Ivy's Closet
Justine's Halloween
Annie Walls
Just Johnny

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hysteria Project - Horror Videogame Review (PS3 Mini)

Hysteria is a fully FMV (full motion video) experience, I picked it up as it was cheap on the PSN store.  It sounded kind of interesting.

In Hysteria you are a man who awakes tied up with duct tape in a shed.  Managing to escape your bonds you leave the shed to discover you are in the middle of a wood.  While running away you become pursued by a strange hooded man wielding an axe.  The woods are maze like, and there are explosive trip wires set up.  You keep getting strange flashbacks as well as hallucinating a H symbol that appears everywhere.

The game is different, being as it is one long video clip where you occasionally get to make decisions such as what route to take, or if to hide or run.  In these situations there is usually only a right or wrong choice, it being game over if you choose wrong.  Sometimes button prompts will turn up on screen, you must complete these button presses in time or you will be killed (such as stealthily moving through the wood, or trying to get an explosive device out of a pile of leaves).

The game is only about 15 minutes in total, much of this devoted to you character running along small woodland paths.  It never really feels like you have much impact on events, but the first person perspective is kinda neat.  The hooded figure chasing you is able to warp around, but is quite useless at catching you as even if he is right behind you, you have time to hide behind a log or tree without him noticing.

The game ends with you arriving at an urban environment and then promptly fades to black saying 'to be continued'.  It is something different and despite the low budget did get my flesh crawling sometimes when the mad hooded man appears.

If you are after something different then try this out, but be warned it is very short, and there is zero replay value.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Zombie Dream - 23/09/2011

If my post yesterday about my zombie dream seemed like a cheap update then god knows what you are going to make of a 2nd zombie dream post.  Yet again last night in my dreams I dreamt of zombies.  Maybe it is a return to dreaming about those creatures every night?

I was not actually in my dream, instead the dream I had was a film I was watching, and which I knew I had watched before.  It really is not a real film though (as it's kinda lame!).  A group of friends where out in a Country Village by an old pub.  One of the friends summons a bunch of zombies including two twin zombies that kinda resemble Michael Jackson.  He tells his friends that he can control the zombies and starts some Thriller style dancing with them.  A Werewolf appears and starts chasing two girls from the group across some fields, back lit by a giant full moon.  The girls loose the Werewolf and stumble upon a graveyard where two grave robbers are creating life.  Lightning flashes in the sky and strikes a tombstone.  Out of a grave bursts the Bride of Frankenstein shouting "I Live!" one of the girls says "no you don't" and lops off the monsters head with a spade she's carrying.  That's all I recall about the dream, though the me watching the film in my dream knew that dispite its silliness the film got much more violent and frightening later on with the group of friends all being killed.

I had a cheese sandwich before bed, maybe that is why I had a weird dream?  I recognise elements from a lot of horror films in there, so maybe I had been thinking of films before I fell asleep.  A friend told me about a supposedly amazing zombie film called The Dead coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in October yesterday evening so that could account for the zombies.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Zombie Dream - 22/09/2011

This is going to be quite a shot meaningless post but I felt it prudent to mention that I had one of my fabled zombie dreams last night.  Once upon a time I used to have at least one of these a week.  I can't actually recall much of this dream but will say what I do recall.

It was zombie Armageddon time and I was holed up in some large building with other survivors.  The building was under attack by thousands of zombies, all of which had bright blue Smurf coloured skin.  One of the survivors had the idea of cooking zombies as a means of not starving to death.  This seemed a great idea until someone said that surely zombies are rotten, so any meat off of them would be spoilt.

That's all I can remember but it was good to get a zombie dream again!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Plants VS. Zombies - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

While billed as a puzzler Plants VS. Zombies is actually far more of a tower defence game.  It is made by Popcap who deal in addictive, cheap, cheerful and mass market games.

For reasons unknown your house has been chosen for invasion by a group of polite zombies (they send you letters in advance to tell you their plans) who want to eat your brains.  You must defend your property by planting various plants with special attributes who are able to repel the attacking hordes.  The game is split into 5 different levels each made up of about 8 stages.  Your front garden is attacked by day and then night, then your back garden is attacked by day and night, finally the zombies bring the fight to your roof top.

Popcap really know how to make addictive games and this is no exception.  Levels begin with you needing to plant sunflowers to create sunlight orbs.  Your plants require sunlight orbs to be able to grow, each plant type requiring a different amount of orbs ranging from 0 to 300.  Plant types vary with many many different types (though you can at first only have 6 types at a time).  Chilli's burn up any enemies in its row, Cherries act as bombs while Peashooters fire out peas, Wall-Nuts create barricades to stop the zombies while Chompers eat zombies.  Night time sees a whole host of different items for use focusing on mushrooms such as the Puff-Shroom (that requires no sunlight orbs) and the Fume-Shroom which fires out spores capable of destroying enemy shields.

There is a large number of zombie types in the game.  Normal zombies come in a variety of styles, some have buckets on their heads, while others have traffic cones offering protection.  Along with these are lots of sporty zombies such as the pole vaulter who can jump over barricades, and the American Football zombie who runs.  Certain types can be defeated easier with the right plants in your set.  Ballooning zombies can be blown away, zombies in vehicles can have their tyres blown out while zombies on pogo sticks can have their stick magneted away.  By the games end you get some truly punishing zombies thrown at you.

Before each level  you get to see what type of zombies are going to be used so you can plan accordingly, you can also visit the shop (your crazy next door neighbours car) where new plant types can be brought as well as upgrades that let you select more plants to take into battle.  As well as the main adventure mode there are puzzle modes, endless mode, and mini games.

Breaking up each level is a stage or two of mini games.  These range from bowling to conveyor belt stages (where your plants are determined via a ever rolling belt).  Plants VS. Zombies is not a hard game, I never once failed a level, the addictiveness of the game is what keeps you playing.  Even after the games completion there are still the other modes to try out, and even now I can feel the call of the game.  Damn you Popcap!  Cartoon violence; I mean zombies do get decapitated and loose limbs but its all bright and cheerful.

Not your typical zombie game, recommended though if you have plenty of free time.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sega Superstar Tennis - Zombie Appearance

Playing Sega Superstar Tennis recently I was reminded that one of the courts is set in the grounds of the Mansion from Sega's House of the Dead game.

A lot of stages in the game set you challenges, such as collecting gold rings on Sonic's court.  The House of the Dead court has you fighting zombies via tennis balls.  Hitting the zombies cause them to fall over, should you get swamped then the challenge is over.  There are large, small and medium sized ones.  Either side of the court are stone gargoyles who spit tennis balls at you to use.  Some challenges see you needing to rescue scientists who run across the court, while others see the zombies armed with tennis rackets which they throw at you.

Quite a cool court in the game and features some select tracks from House of the Dead (a game I have sadly never got to play properly).

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Zombie Wranglers - Zombie Videogame Review (XBLA)

Long, long ago I downloaded Zombie Wranglers, back in the days when a mere mention of zombies in the title would warrant an immediate purchase.  I remember playing a few levels of it, hating it and abandoning it.  Now several years later I have returned, and returned in style completing the whole game in one play through.

Zombie Wranglers takes place in a cartoony world like that of a kids cartoon.  You play as one of 4 children who have somehow been employed by a Government agency as a zombie wrangler.  Your job is to infiltrate cordoned off zombie zones and defeat the zombies there by either killing them or wrangling them (sucking them up into some sort of big vacuum).  You seem to work for your Mum as at the end of each level you get a phone call on your mobile where she tells you where to go next.

The games premise seems quite cruel to be frank, each stage is in a blocked off area (such as a street, car park, camp) with police and SWAT lazily watching from behind the barricades as you do your thing.  I don't know if in this nightmare world children are immune to zombie bites but it seems a clear breach of child laws (your character even says this himself at one point).  Obviously it is not really a nightmare vision of the world, more as I said before a Saturday morning cartoon style place where it is up to the 'cool' kids to sort out all the trouble.

Levels for the most part see you in an area with a check list of objectives to complete such as collecting special items and killing certain types of zombies.  Every now and again this will be interrupted by an area where your goal is just to survive until the time limit has ended, this is not as exciting as it sounds though and just involves running around in large circles for 5 minutes.  There is a range of zombies to battle; skater, tramp, armoured, puking, headless, and Knight zombies are just some of the types you will fight.  Some must have their armour knocked off before they can be dispatched while others can only be wrangled.  A few bosses litter the game, for the most part being rolling balls of zombies (like the critter balls in Critter 2) and giant Frankenstein Monster enemies.

The game is very colourful and reminded me a lot of the art style of Costume Quest.  The dialogue is not great and you can tell the writers thought their dialogue was really hilarious which is a bit embarrassing.  Levels are named after films but with a bad zombie twist such as the rib tickling 'Zombies in Black' and 'Gone with the Zombies'.  The game is a few hours long and never really gets too boring despite its ease.  The achievements in this game are ultra annoying as they seem to be worth random numbers (such as 42 achievement points for completing the game).  A lot of the achievements involve collecting hidden items in the levels.  After all the objectives are achieved the zombies all vanish leaving you ample time to search out these items.

Geared more towards children this zombie game is bright, easy, and lacking violence (zombies just sort of fade away when killed, and your mouth activated weapon shoots some sort of purple goo) but it was entertaining enough to keep me occupied to its end.


Friday, 16 September 2011

BloodRayne: Betrayal - Horror Videogame Demo (X-Box 360)

I must say the demo for BloodRayne: Betrayal has really whetted my appetite for this game. The music, setting (what appeared to be the outskirts of a huge castle on the eve of a giant full moon) and action all reminded me heavily of Castlevania games of old.  Replace the red haired vampire woman (well half vampire) and it could easily pass for a new entry.

The game has a lush cartoony art style like anime, enemies spill blood plentifully, and you can cause head decapitations, and bodies ripping in half. Your character is armed with twin blades, as well as a gun with limited ammo. The demo is limited to nearly two levels. Both have you walking from left to right fighting mostly blonde haired vampire men armed with swords and guns. Many times you will be unable to progress until all the enemies have been dispatched on screen.

Objects in the game world both help and hinder you. There are exploding barrels, as well as ones that can be tipped over and rolled. UV lights drain your health so must be avoided or destroyed. Along for the ride are human allies who provide conversation speech bubbles as you pass them.

The demo ends with the start of a boss fight against a  giant robotic animal. The game looks beautiful and if it offers enough variety I can see it being a very good game. Definitely worth a download.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Fright Night 3D - Horror Film Review

I caught the very last showing of Fright Night 3D today at the Cinema, I was not that bothered about seeing it due to three things.  Firstly the trailer for the film was awful, I don't know why but trailers for horrors all seem terrible lately and do more to put me off seeing the films than anything else.  Secondly the film is a remake of the eighties cult classic of the same name, many remakes are unfortunately not very good.  Thirdly the film has a 3D slapped on the end of the title, while I think horror makes the best use of 3D it still does tend to be used for cheap thrills.

Fright Night takes place in and around Las Vegas, mostly centered on a small suburb out in the desert.  High School student Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is told by his ex best friend geeky Ed (Kick Ass's Christopher Mintz-Plasse) that his new next door neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire who has been responsible for a number of disappearances in the area.  Charley dismisses this news as rubbish convinced his ex friend is just trying to get attention after he was ditched when Charley reinvented himself to get in with the cool crowd.  This changes when Ed goes missing and an encounter with Jerry convinces him that his old friend was right.  With no one to help Charley must find a way to defeat the centuries old vampire while protecting his mother Jane, and girlfriend Amy (28 Week's Laters Imogen Poots) from harm.

I have seen the original Fright Night, though a long time ago so my memory of it is quite hazy.  I recall a scene in a nightclub but that's about it, should re watch it some day.  Fright Night 3D is actually quite a cool film.  Films like this can be swamped with obnoxious 'cool' kids but thankfully the ones in this film are soon killed off.    I was worried that the film would be quite tame on the old ultra violence but luckily there is lots of blood and some fun action.  For the most part the blood flies into the audience (via the dubious magic of 3D) but it looks quite ace.

The film centres on the battle of wits between Charley and Jerry, their feud take place in a variety of locations including a fast paced highway chase that starts with a motorbike being hurled through the back window of the car Charley, his girlfriend and Mum are escaping in and from that point events ramp up.  Farrell is great as the vampire, coming across as more serial killer than monster with his wardrobe of disguises, and secret Hostel style torture rooms hidden in his house.  His transformation makes him look really odd and disquieting as the fangs that grow in his mouth give his whole head a strange creepy shape.  The usual tropes work on him such as holy water, sunlight, fire, stakes and by the end of the film all these methods have been used with good special effects on display.  A memorable scene midway through the film has Jerry jerking stop motion style around the ground with a signpost jammed through him, while a later amputation is painful to see but kinda funny.

Yelchin as Charley is ok but it is the supporting cast that really help out.  Slightly comedic vampire hunter/Las Vegas performer Peter Vincent (Dr Who's David Tennant) definitely upstages him though his mannerisms and look reminded me heavily of Russell Brand.  The film at just over an hour and a half never gets stale and is pretty much one big action fest from the moment Jerry and Charley twig onto each other.  Thankfully no sex scenes or nudity and is all the better for it. Fright Night 3D is infused with humour which is actually not that bad, a few cultural references to Twilight but otherwise the jokes are universal.  Due to the humour the film is not actually scary, apart from a few jump scares, I believe this could have worked as a serious piece of horror, Farrell is certainly unsettling enough in his calm confidence but as a comedy horror it brings excitement, set pieces, good effects and a good use of 3D to really immerse you in the experience.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

GET TO THA CHOPPA!!1 - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

As the sequel to this game has recently come out (GET TO THA CHOPPA TWOOO!!2) I thought it was about time I played the original.  The title is of course taken from Predator from the infamous line Schwarzenegger shouts.  The game is in a similar style to Canabalt in that you control a perpetually running guy and must use basic commands to make him avoid the various obstacles in his path.

You play as a man in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.  You are running down a road chased by hundreds of thousands of running zombies.  Dotted on the road are land mines which you must jump over, stray zombies who must be shot and, flying in front of you is a helicopter which periodically fires missiles at the throng behind you (you have to slide under these).

As far as I can tell it is actually impossible to complete this game, as time goes on everything gets faster and faster.  Around the 100,000 points mark the music fades away to be replaced with a heart beat but I never survived much past this.  The music is some sort of high paced trance that does its job but is quite forgettable.  There are 3 buttons you need to use, but you can hold down the fire button meaning all you really need to do is press A and down on the analogue stick.  Quite an addictive game and for 80 Microsoft points as cheap as can be.  The hand drawn art style won't appeal to some and the game could have done with more variety.


Monday, 12 September 2011

1408 - Horror Film Review

I recently read the short story 1408 by Stephen King.  By lucky coincidence I had a copy of 1408 on DVD on my to watch pile of films, it felt like the time to watch it. Starting off quite similar to the written tale the film then went off to follow its own path.

John Cusack stars as Mike Enslin a cynical writer of books about real haunted places.  In his mail he finds a mysterious postcard from The Dolphin Hotel of New York warning him from staying in room 1408.  Accepting the challenge he researches the room and discovers that since the Hotel opened in the 1920's over 30 people have committed suicide in room 1408.  Thinking it would make a good chapter for the end of his latest book he travels to the Dolphin where he encounters the Hotel owner Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) who is determined to deter Enslin from entering the room.  He informs the cynical writer that including natural deaths over 50 people have died in that room and that even one of his maids went insane and clawed her eyes out after briefly being trapped in the room while cleaning.  Enslin ignores the warnings, thinking that Olin is merely trying to build up the legend of the room.  Soon after entering he realises his mistake; something evil is in room 1408, something that is not going to let him leave.

The film adds a lot of back story to the character of Enslin.  In the book he was a writer who had fallen on hard times and so was writing these low brow haunted house books as a means of making money.  In the film Enslin is revealed to be visiting these haunted places in the search for evidence of life after death but has become extremely disillusioned in his search.  Both the film and the book start off quite similar, up until the writer gets into the room the film is quite chilling.  The problem I had with the film is maybe due to me having read the story such a short time ago.  In the book Enslin lasts about 70 minutes in the room where he is reduced to nearly a gibbering wreck, the film Enslin does get terrified at first but this soon turns into frustration and anger and an acceptance that he may never escape.  The book has events ramping up into crazed terror but here there is lots of downtime where it is just Enslin and his thoughts.

The room goes through quite a few changes, it goes from hot to sub Artic temperatures, the room floods (via a painting of the sea) and even seems to leave reality for a bit. No matter what the writer does he cannot escape.  A desperate crawl along the outside window ledge leads to the realisation that no other windows now exist on the Hotel, while a crawl through the rooms ventilation shafts sees him looping back on himself as well as chased by a zombie of a previous guest of the room.  The chills sometimes work and sometimes don't.  One clever scene has him trying to contact a man in the building opposite his room before he realises he is that man moments before the figure is attacked from behind by a maniac with a hammer.

The room seems to be a conduit for Enslins memories with him seeing visions from his past such as a scene with him, his wife and his daughter played out on a TV screen, and glimpsing him arguing with his father through a vent.  Things get kinda ridiculous when he sees Olin; the Hotel manager lecturing him from inside the rooms fridge.  Cusack holds the film together well for its near 2 hour run time (I saw the Directors Cut) but at times it does seem the length is slightly overlong.  There is a quite clever false ending that caught me off guard, the actual ending is ok, but is actually different to the more upbeat ending shown for the Cinematic version.

Not a bad film but not that scary, still it is well made, well acted and just about stays its welcome.