Zombie Revenge (Dreamcast) review
"And so march the dead, yearning to be truly asleep, to escape their involuntary, macabre commitment to lifeless motion. They drone around, unsure of their actions or even of their existence. Their mouths hang from a lack of tissue vitality and their persistent lumbering speaks of their uncertainty of their own being. They've not even been granted the decency of death; their ''lives'' are aimless and torturous. They don't even desire life anymore- they just yearn to no longer spend foreseeable et..."
And so march the dead, yearning to be truly asleep, to escape their involuntary, macabre commitment to lifeless motion. They drone around, unsure of their actions or even of their existence. Their mouths hang from a lack of tissue vitality and their persistent lumbering speaks of their uncertainty of their own being. They've not even been granted the decency of death; their ''lives'' are aimless and torturous. They don't even desire life anymore- they just yearn to no longer spend foreseeable eternity feeding off of nothingness and existing in emptiness.
And there you are, flesh and blood. Coursing, pulsing, rushing blood and living, thriving flesh, trying to get from point A to point B. Your path crosses with these desperate souls. They attack, and you reply. They don't even mean you harm; their goal is suicide. They attack so you will kill them, end their suffering.
Your defense is their salvation.
As involuntarily humane as your deeds are, your typically covert agency did not enlist you to aid the zombies. Their body count is practically irrelevant; the ultimate goal, as told through the game's horrific voice acting, is to track down the man with glowing eyes, the one responsible for enslaving the entombed. This mysterious man's necrobiological experiments have made armies of reanimated corpses. Streets now burn and run rampant with the insanity of these existence-less zombies. Your special agent must drive for the heart of the matter, wading through countless painful, almost innocent, rotting faces as you push forward toward the ultimate evil.
A selection of 3 characters deploys in this Streets-of-Rage-styled brawler. Stick Breitling seems to assume command, a lean and stout-chested figure looking eager to gain rank and attention from his superiors. Linda is here to remind us that women are just as good as men, but the best design belongs to Rikiya. Supposedly Japanese, he actually appears very much African, donning emotion-hiding sunglasses and a righteous Jerry curl. Rikiya seems indifferent and cool; while the others obsess over the situation in the game's cutscenes, Rikiya is content to load his gun impatiently, thirsting for action.
And the gun is one of the most important aspects of the game.
Zombie Revenge employs not only a barrage of punches, kicks, and combos (all lethal in their own right), but the ability to use a gun. Each hero comes equipped with a pistol, and various machine guns and shotguns can be picked up for temporary fun along the way. Always having this pistol, though, with the constantly copious amount of ammo scattered about, defines the game. It makes it succeed, and succeed beyond expectation.
The gun and the game thrive off each other. It's integral nature is balanced perfectly with its simple lock on interface and intuitive one-button control. When struck down, you can fire off a few rounds on your way to the floor. Combos can be performed not only with punches and kicks, but with the gun as well. Lay in some jabs, tap the appropriate trigger combo, some more jabs, and soon you'll be mercy killing the eager undead with intricate, elegant brutality. Limbs fly and heads sever as the dead scream in agonizing relief at your merciful hand.
As the agent (agents in the two-player mode) forces his or her way through the slaughterous massacre, the options unfold. Pummel the two life-starved zombies at close range, then shoot the two encroaching from the outskirts of the screen? Or run around to one side, laying into all as they become corralled by swift movement. Or the constant, the reverence of any brawler- the ability to ignore the game's deep combo system for the favor of mindless, joyous button mashing. Such are your options, and each are excellent. The variety of the methodology is as important as the execution; since both are so good, the result is greatness.
The meandering, vacantly persistent corpses and monsters lumber along impressively, but not spectacularly. Zombie Revenge is a decent, fairly typical looking game, capable in its visuals but never striving for more. It's about as rote as 128-bit can get; medium-poly player models with some good faces, high resolution, detailed environments, competent in design and delivery but never extending beyond that distinction.
What resonates forever from the presentation is the game's assortment of heinous voice talents. Lines are choked and gagged across the speakers as even simplistic thoughts sound murdered and forced. The classic opening words from Stick, ''Heee's the wuhn makeeng the Zahmbeehs'' is a laughable attempt at the most simple of expressions. Such hilarious, campy acting prevails and charms and grows on you, giving it a corny lovability it'd be sad to see missing.
Zombie Revenge never pushes its hidden values on you. It simply tells you its brief story, sets you on your way, and throws its tortured souls at you relentlessly. It's up to the player to rationalize such brutal homicide of the victimized innocents standing and roving in your path. To kill them is to set them free, but to persecute them is to condemn your own soul. Zombie Revenge is a hell of a brawler, with fine-tuned controls (perfection with the Arcade Stick) complimenting the unique and brilliant gameplay concept. Zombie Revenge is an excellent beat 'em up, pure and simple- it even lacks every bit of insight I've forced into this review.
Community review by sinner (March 14, 2004)
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