I hate zombies, but only in the sense that I love killing them. There’s nothing I enjoy more than putting the dead back where they belong. So you can imagine a title like ‘All Zombies Must Die!’ doesn’t take much to persuade me to buy it.
I am however, picky about what constitutes a good zombie game. I believe there must always be an element of cheese and humour, some gripping no-hope suspense, a massive array of creative weaponry and mutant zombies of all shapes and sizes.. The plot doesn’t necessarily have to be original, it’s just has to not suck..
All Zombies Must Die! attempts to encompass all the major features of popular zombie games, with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor thrown in. It focuses on aspects such as the levelling and crafting system from Dead Rising, the way zombies like to swarm at you from Left4Dead and mutations from Resident Evil. And it has an Alien! So, from the outset it’s already got my attention.
The title comes from a mission that’s unfortunately not very common in the game. All Zombies Must Die! is the mission you get when you have to move your base to a different section of the map. It just involves killing everything in sight, any way you like. It’s definitely a simple pleasure.
And now that you’ve cleared that section, you’re free to use it as your base. This is where you craft new items, spend levelling up point, choose your primary weapon, get more missions and swap characters.
Enemy types are pretty basic, there’s standard Fodder Zombies, SWAT, Enraged, Joggers, Mad, Exploder, Electrified, etc. They’re all self explanatory. The biggest change is when they come into contact with radiation, then the mutations kick in and they become giants. And depending on status conditions, say if they were maliciously set on fire or electrocuted, they will also have different status effects.
Standing between you and every section of the map, are Gates. Each gate has a little robot that’ll ask things of you every time you want to cross into the next area. They’re like mini-missions on the way towards your more plot driven goal. These get very tedious but by mid game they do start to let you bypass them. Although this feature is frustrating, they’re there to encourage you to experiment with and make use of the environment or elemental conditions. Because without these, you’re not forced to try out the many variants of Zed killing you have at your disposal. In between missions it’s easy to stick with your weapon of choice, but killing is nothing without variety!
Missions aren’t the most demanding. Generally if you can stun your opponents en masse, like with the standard shotgun, you can dance around your foes fairly easily. I’m biased, shotguns are my staple weapon in every game they’re available. Fact is, whether you like it or not you’ll be confronted with enemies close up and you’ll need stopping power. Rapid fire doesn’t stop your foes. It’s weaker, you’re only damaging one Zed at a time and you have to be more accurate. In other games where accuracy is key to cause extra damage to the cranium, fair play. But without the option of a head shot rapid fire hasn’t yet proven to be a viable option in this game, unless your trying to achieve status effects without destroying the weaker Zed.
Crafting is a great way to up the stats and add status effects to your favoured weapons. It’s not a very imaginatively executed system, but then again, you do get the impression that the game is largely a piss take of the genre. An SMG and Fire Sticks are crafted together into an ‘Inferno Rager SMG’. Other materials you can craft with your weapons include; Spark Plugs, Megaphones, Paynekillers and My First Science Kit.
Finding materials for crafting involves being in specific sections of the map and killing pre-set numbers of Zed, usually with specific status conditions. This is fairly annoying if you haven’t been paying attention to where you find the items, or what status effects they need. Even worse when you don’t bring along the right character or gear, forcing you to back track. But it is something you’ll quickly become accustomed too, I certainly didn’t make this mistake more than three or so times..
Despite this game trying to break the fourth wall with humour, it doesn’t have me in stitches the way Dead Rising 2’s Chuck Greene in a ‘Mankini’ does. I don’t get the same satisfaction of mowing down masses of Zed running at me like in Left4Dead. And no zombie game can ever come anywhere close to Resident Evil’s creative variety of mutants.
But it is certainly an entertaining go-between while you’re waiting for your next major zombie title.