Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)


Episode 2 of The Walking Dead was released today.  I loved the first episode so was really looking forward to this one.  I must start by saying that man, this is one brutal episode!

'Starved for help' takes place 3 months after the end of episode 1.  The group are still holed up in the Motel they got to in the first chapter but they are dangerously close to running out of food.  Two brothers show up who say that they have plenty of food back at thier farm that they are willing to trade. Their farm seems idyllic, but is it too good to be true in the land of the walking dead?


Chapter 2 starts off violent, even before the title credits have shown you have messily hacked someones leg off, that sets the tone for the whole episode. This really feels like an episode, it has a beginning, middle, and end being a self contained tale while also adding to the characters you have made contact with.  I went in to the game with opinions about people which had vastly changed by the end, ones I had liked I no longer liked, ones I disliked I had come to understand more.

It follows the same style as the first episode. You play as escaped convict Lee Everett and interact with surroundings via context button presses. Usually you are in a small area with a set task to do, for instance early on in the game you have been put in charge of rationing out the food so you must decide which 4 of your 10 strong group get to have food. Action comes in the form of sudden attacks, but following the style of The Walking Dead zombies take a back seat this time with a group of masked bandits causing a lot of the peril. As always humans are far more deadly enemies than zombies.


This is one sick game! On top of all the swearing and zombie violence expected of the licence there is a lot of more cruel, Hostel style shenanigans going on. There is a sense of unease throughout. Where in the first episode meeting up with people was seen as a good thing now your group have become tight knit and wary of outsiders. People get killed, you are always reminded that everyone is expendable. Along with the heart pounding action scenes the game also manages to conjure up wild panic in several stealth sections.

The story is really good, better than last time and is gory and depraved as Hell, this is really a game you play for the plot, and the way you can affect events through choices you make is once again really well done, though some less black and white choices this time around.


For amputations, eye squishing, blood, body parts, murder and zombie mayhem Starved for Help is the essential place to be! Roll on Episode 3.

SCORE:

Monday, 25 June 2012

Zombie 108 - Zombie Horror Film Review


Zombie 108 is the first ever Taiwanese zombie film to be released, it was helped funded by over 900 fans and directed by Joe Chien. I did not know what to expect but was impressed by the trailer which showed that there was actually a budget for the film rather than the sloppy mess I expected with a fan funded film.

In District 108 of Taipai in Taiwan there has been a zombie outbreak after an accident at a research lab caused a virus to be released into the local water supply.  District 108 just so happens to be one of the roughest districts in the City; a place the Police usually avoid due to it being run by a crime lord. They are called in regardless as they have been tasked with evacuating the uninfected from the cordoned off area.  Soon they are set upon by a local gang who assumed the Police where there for them, but in the middle of the firefight the zombies attack both sides.  Teaming up an uneasy alliance is formed while they seek a way to escape the madness of District 108.


Zombie 108 does not really know what it wants to be, whether it wants to be a light hearted, albeit action packed movie, or if it wants to be an uncomfortable Hostel style one.  The main story of the Police and local gang battling zombies is quite entertaining, and genuinely funny in places. There is room for lots of comedy between the serious, pragmatic SWAT team and the more down to earth gang led by a huge boss.  Initially before the outbreak he is shown as a disgusting slob running an 'alternative' night club, surrounded by scantily clad females (of which there are a truck load of in this film) but his character develops as he has the most humanity of the group displaying a wide range of emotions (such as when he has to kill someone he loves). The Police on the other hand are all straight faced and don't really have much character to them. All quite amusing (plus one of the group turns into a Boomer straight out of Left 4 Dead!).

The sub plot of the film is far darker though, and quite uncomfortable viewing. A perverted serial killer who wears a mask made out of human skin (much like Leatherface) has captured a load of females who he keeps chained up in his apartment and brutally rapes at will. These were not fun scenes to watch as there is nothing light about them and seemed at odds with the more offbeat tone of the rest of the film.


For the most part the film is in Taiwanese with English subtitles, but these are sometimes quite badly translated, one line which stuck in my head was when one of the serial killers captives insulted him with the damning line "You are a man who is just as ugly on the inside as on the outside!" (something like that anyway). The plot is quite confusing due to the bad translations and got characters seem to float about random locations quite a bit.

The zombies look ace in the film though, and there are hundreds upon hundreds of them. What is also cool is that Zombie 108 is not afraid to kill off its main characters, comedy characters, headstrong young women, the brave leaders of the SWAT team; all are killed quickly after being set up as if they are going to be key characters. One awesome scene that is shown through quick cuts is the last stand between a section of the SWAT team, and a gang as they are swarmed by hundreds of zombies, the Police standing on top of their van firing wildly, a large gang member standing outside a large KFC firing a giant mini gun and laughing insanely. You have to respect the lack of care for product placement in Asian films (nothing as funny here as in Hong Kong's Bio-Zombie where the outbreak started with an infected bottle of Lucozade!


At nearly two hours this is quite a long film that could have done with some editing, the main zombie part of the story is silly and fun enough but the weird disconnect between serious horror, and action horror that occurs in the film means that while a good zombie flick it is not a classic, but then so few zombie films are to be honest (well it's true!). On a side note the child actors in the film are really good, though I am not sure if that is due to them not realising they where in a film.

Zombie 108 is due to be released on DVD on the 30th July in the UK courtesy of Showbox Home Entertainment.

SCORE:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Prince of Persia - Fantasy Videogame Review (X-Box 360)


I have wasted half my day playing Prince of Persia. The original was good, and the trilogy that come afterwards was ok but this game is utterly terrible.

The Prince (your character) is walking through the desert when he comes across a girl in peril.  Saving her she leads you to a temple where her dad appears and releases a Demon.  Now the world has turned evil and you must traverse the open world to restore balance.


The world is split into 4 areas, each one patrolled by a different beast. They are pretty much the only enemies in the game, most of what you do is platforming.  You would expect a platform game to get its controls right, but they are slidey, unresponsive and twitchy.  To make matters worse your character the prince will randomly do his own thing, usually deciding to leap off a platform you just spent ages getting to. It might sound like I am exaggerating but the character kept legitimately leaping off walls with no input from me. The designers obviously realised how broken their game was as it is impossible to die, you are rescued in a cut scene each time you fall off a platform (in the 4 hours my patience lasted I must have fallen to my near doom at least 100 times).

The game looks and sounds really good, it is so frustrating how broken it is in every other area.  To pad out the length of the game you can only do small sections at a time before you have to collect a ridiculous number of orbs in order to open the next area.  All well and good but then it gets better.  There is no auto save for a start, you may think that is no big thing as it is literally impossible to die but being just the one big level and being so used to auto saves I constantly forgot to save my game. This wouldn't be a problem usually but the game frequently crashes.  The first time I had just started and was around 20 minutes in when the game froze. I restarted but found out the lengthy intro was unskippable.  Next I was doing ok, I had to collect 200 orbs before I could progress. So after 2 hours of back tracking I managed to collect enough...five minutes later the game crashed again, I had not saved so all my progress was lost. In frustration I turned off the game and chucked the disc into the bin.


Avoid this game like the plague, it is frustrating, unfinished and broken, don't be misled by the pretty pictures and sounds.

SCORE:

The Killing Games - Horror Film Banned!


Nowadays it is taken for granted that horror films wont get banned, it is not like the 1980's where classics such as The Evil Dead were being banned left right and centre. However in the Canadian Town of Edmonton horror has been banned, a director denied the right to get his film seen.

Canadian horror film; The Killing Games (directed by Barry J.Gillis) was banned from the Edmonton International Film Festival earlier this year on grounds that it was too violent to be shown. This has been seen as controversial as not only is Edmonton Gillis's home town but the way he was told this news breached the festivals rules as it is supposedly against the rules to let filmmakers know any information before the official announcement date of August 7th.  The festivals Chairman Michael Hamm said via a telephone call with Gillis that "The Killing Games was too violent for the Edmonton Film Festival".

The Killing Games is about a father who decides to take the law into his own hands after his daughter witnesses a double murder, narrowly avoiding the clutches of two serial killers.  Having seen some of the film I can say that the acting is truly terrible, very bad indeed, for all I know it could be a awful film but that doesn't mean it shouldn't get the chance to be seen. Director Gillis said of the ban "It was alright for them to see the entire movie, but they don't want you to watch the movie, I feel like David Cronenburg when he first started out in Toronto, it was the same kind of thing, a never ending struggle because of a little violence in a Canadian movie".

For more information on The Killing Games check out the website here.

Zombie Dream of 23rd June 2012


Well it has been a while since I have had a zombie dream, they have been missed.  I am reading Drew Brown's zombie book 'Last Hope' at the moment, I am sure that is what influenced my dream!

I was in some back streets in a strange town during the daytime, I was searching around in garages for something or other.  There were plenty of zombies dotted around but they were of the slow, dumb kind so I was able to easily run past them.  One zombie (who to me seemed to be the head zombie) was using a zimmer frame on wheels to get around and was a lot quicker than the others, still I was able to run past him.  There were plenty of zombies, including little toddler ones.  I was running the whole time but I never got tired, rounding a corner a zombie grabbed my sleeve but I managed to push him off.

I got to a strange market place where humans were selling goods.  All the humans were wearing long yellow robes which I assumed was so that they could be recognised as humans. A woman gave me some giant smarties but then she got dragged away by guards and accused of stealing...then I woke up.

Quite a cool dream, and despite all the zombies was violence free.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Red Faction Armageddon: Path to War - Horror Videogame DLC Review (X-Box 360)


So I raved about Red Faction Armageddon yesterday, but how is the downloadable content? I myself picked it up when it was very cheap in a sale.  The content gives you access to 4 new single player levels and  two new weapons.

The new levels you get access to are kinda random.  The first levels are set before the terra forming facility is destroyed. Level one has you playing as bad guy Hales lieutenant; Malleus as you pilot a ship through the Marauders base to destroy their early warning system.  The next level sees you playing as a Red Faction soldier in a tank assaulting a facility which has come under Cultist control.  Next you are Darius assaulting the facility on foot, taking out guard towers.  Lastly you are again Darius but the level takes place 5 days after the insectoid aliens have been freed.  You are fighting though a Cultist base on the way back to your home town of Bastion, Malleus lets in loads of aliens as he believes the Cultists wont be attacked by them, he is wrong and it turns into a 3 way battle.


The new weapons are a rifle that shoots out a bolt that can pin enemies to walls, as well as a gun which gathers up any scrap into a giant ball that you can fling at enemies.  The DLC was fun enough but very short, lasting around 30 minutes.  With the context removed it is not so good as the main game, seems a bit directionless, and the vehicle levels are very easy.

If you loved the main game then I would say pick this up, but just don't expect anything that will stick in your memory, and definitely only get it if it is on sale.

SCORE:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Red Faction: Armageddon - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)


I have just played through the entire game Red Faction: Armageddon in one 6 hour sitting. I am either amazing, or need to get a life, either way it is done. Red Faction was known for it's geo modding tool that let you destroy the scenery, the first two games were first person shooters, while Red Faction: Guerrilla was an open world game set on the Martian surface.  For some bizarre reason the game has now gone third person abandoning it's praised open world style.

Set a generation after the events of Guerrilla you play as the star of that games son: Darius Mason.  An early mission sees you as a soldier assaulting a terraforming facility to stop a cult led by crazed preacher Adam Hale from destroying it.  Things don't exactly go to plan and you accidentally allow the facility to be destroyed.  With it gone the Martian world becomes inhospitable with wild sand storms and hurricanes wracking the surface (turns out it was the only thing on the whole planet keeping things livable).


A few years later and everyone is living in caves and old mining facilities under the ground.  Despite kinda causing the destruction of Mars no one blames your character too much.  Hired by some people to explore some ancient ruins leads you to again accidentally doom the populace when you break an ancient seal which releases literally billions of insectoid aliens from deep within the planet. Being the kinda guy you are you decide not to own up, yeah your character is kinda an idiot. Anyway soon you have the whole (surviving) population baying for your blood and chasing you down Benny Hill style. Heading to the surface you pledge to stop the alien threat.

I had a lot of fun with game, much more than I expected to. It looks ok, not amazing but it is just a lot of fun to play.  Weapons seem to have some weight to them, hitting enemies is satisfying with all the right noises made.  The weapons you get are quite varied though I just stuck with the 4 I liked most; rifle, machine gun, powerful duel pistols, and a plasma beam.  Other more varied weapons include a black hole generator, a magnetic gun that can pull rubble down on enemies, and a mine launcher that only effects organics.  A lot of the weapons are able to destroy scenery such as the many walkways that you go along.


Locations are varied, as is what you do in the game.  Initially (after the prequel mission) there are a host of levels set underground in the caves below Mars, all kinda samey but made more believable with the inclusion of lots of signs and dwellings.  Later missions on the surface of Mars make a welcome break as do the vehicles missions.  A couple see you piloting a crab like tank, while others see you flying a plane, sailing down a sea of magma on a boat, and smashing your way through a small town in a mech suit.

Enemies for the most part are the insectoid aliens (are they really aliens if they come from Mars? surely the humans are the aliens? The game doesn't seem to think so).  There are a variety of them, the smaller ones jump from wall to wall, sticking to them while firing 'biological weapons' at you while the larger ones are built like brick house and are quite powerful. Pods appear every now and again which unlimited aliens spawn from and so must be destroyed, as must giant maws which pop out the ground and make all enemies in the vicinity twice as tough.  Cultists also turn up as bad guys and are easy enough to fight but include a very fun running boss battle against a giant enemy crab (you don't hit its weak point for massive damage).


Collecting salvage lets you unlock new abilities such as less recoil, and extra health, all needed though the game is not too tough.  The later levels drown you in hundreds of bad guys, for the last few I literally charged head long, rolling out the way of shots, constantly pressing select to bring up the compass showing me where to go.  I am not sure if that is how it was meant to be played but to take out all the enemies would have taken me days and it was getting late!

The plot is stupid, but the dialogue between characters is very funny, and well written.  In particular the relationship between Darius and his A.I; S.A.M is hilarious with S.A.M constantly correcting Darius and moaning about the things he is doing.  It was cool to see that the level set in a sewer had Darius vocally complaining in a high pitched voice for the entire time he was there, too often in sewer levels in videogames characters don't seem to mind being there, so it is nice to see that addressed here. Also later in the game (spoiler!) it takes you minutes to restore the terra forming facility, why on earth had no one thought to do that when it was destroyed all those years back, rather than hiding underground; even with a billion aliens clawing at you it is a cake walk, and there were not even any aliens back when it was first put off line!


All in all I had lots of entertainment with this game, no where near as bad as people have made out and has good looking CGI cutscenes and a witty script, recommended for some stupid but enjoyable shooting.

SCORE:

Deadworld: War of the Dead Issue 1 (2012) - Zombie Horror Comic Review


Deadworld is set to return this August in a new miniseries titled Deadworld: War of the Dead.  The comic (created by Gary Reed) is set in a world destroyed by a supernatural holocaust. For a while I read it in the past, I remember it was quite a twisted bleak comic that involved a bunch of teens trying to avoid the zombie masses. What made this different was that the zombies were led by intelligent ones, in particular King Zombie - the Harley riding sadistic leader. Intelligence gave the zombies a much more dangerous slant.

What is exciting about this new miniseries is that for the first time Deadworld is going to be in colour, since it's inception in the late 1980's it has always been black and white which does fit the grim vibe the comic goes for. I have gotten a preview copy of Issue 1 of this 5 part miniseries (one issue per week for August), so on with the review.


Deadworld: War of the Dead is a continuation of the main Deadworld story but thankfully does enough to introduce new readers without losing them in assumed knowledge. There is a lot to catch up on but the story does that well.  There are 'lepers' who are basically humans trapped in decaying zombified bodies, and other human survivors, then there are the main characters who are given flash backs to bring you up to speed on them.

Issue 1 takes place in and around a community college called Safe Haven, in the past it had been created as a way for a insane doctor to trap humans to experiment on, but due to it's defences it has been made into an actual safe haven. Despite this it still comes under constant attack by the hordes of undead.

Sometimes with colour comes a lack of horror, but with Deadworld,s look this is not the case, the colour adds to the atmosphere in a way far better than black and white. The colours are all washed out, saturated browns, reds and greys that create a sense of suffocation onto the world of Deadworld. The artwork is fantastic, the sharp strokes of the pen giving detail to the bleak place. It reminded me a lot of the Silent Hill comics in the way it looked, though thankfully the artwork is more constant than it was there.


A great comic with literally hundreds of zombies, and an interesting premise (more so than the snooze fest The Walking Dead turned into) this is one to I'm looking forward to.

SCORE:

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Football Crazy - Surreal Murder Mystery Graphic Novel by Craig Daley


I was pointed to a site recently which deals in as they term it 'Surreal Murder Mystery Graphic Novels'. These are online comics that have a thriller edge to them. So far there have been 3 different tales. The first one is called 'Meadowhell: The True Horror of Shopping about security guards being murdered at a shopping centre. The 2nd one is based on Jack the Ripper titled 'Spring-heeled Jack: From the Tunnels of Hell', while the third one 'Football Crazy: The Theatre of Nightmares on the Road to Insanity' is about a serial killer picking off players from a winning team.

I was lucky enough to read part one of Football Crazy. It is not so much horror as crime based with it's content. It follows some detectives as they investigate the murders and try to piece together who could have done it and why.  It has the feel of a Detective program such as Inspector Morse, or A Touch of Frost. There is not any horror in them. I dislike football and have long said football fans are crazy, so is a fitting subject. The art style is quite strange but works, kind of basic but at the same time it catches the eye and is very striking. The story is well paced.


All 3 of the comics have clues throughout to lead you to who the murderer is, the issue I read certainly made me want to read more (just to find out what the murder weapon was). If your interested in these then pop on over to Drive-Thru Comics where they can be picked up for under £1 each. Also for news on these and upcoming comics in the series check out the writer and artists website here. Not bad, just not horror either.

AN UPDATE: I have just read part 2 of Football Crazy, and it was really quite funny, much more humour than part 1 had. There were twists that were surprising, and the vein of funny running through the whole thing really hit the spot! Full of hidden Easter Eggs as well it really hits the description of a 'surreal murder mystery'.

SCORE:

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Horror Videogames of E3 2012


So E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) has been and gone for another year, I noticed there were quite a lot of horror games announced and shown so I have compiled a little list of them all.

Aliens: Colonial Marines - This has to be better than the Aliens Vs Predator game early on in the current gen cycle. The gameplay trailers make it look better at least.  Lots of new Alien types are being created for the game, kinda looking forward to this.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 - I loved the first Lords of Shadow game despite it not feeling like a traditional Castlevania. The CGI trailer was darn exciting seeing a Vamped up Belmont laying waste to an entire army.  In this sequel Belmont is now a Vampire it seems.  Also there is a 3DS Castlevania game in the works; (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate), looks like it takes place in Castlevania but I don't know any other details.


Crysis 3 - Once again set in New York, but this time the City has been covered by a giant dome and has jungle melding with the buildings. Not too excited as it just seems more of the same Crysis 2.

Darksiders 2 - The first game saw you play as War, for this one you play as Death, another cool CGI trailer was shown. If it carries on the Darksiders homage to Zelda then it should be another solid game.

Deadlight - A downloadable zombie puzzle game with a unique look. Could be interesting.


Deadspace 3 - I am hearing some bad things about this game. Early reports say it has gone too far into action, that coupled with the awful news that it is going to be co-op only (going the way of the Resident Evils) means I do not have high hopes for this being remotely survival horror like at all.

DMC - I have never been keen on the Devil May Cry series of games, they have all been too tough for me to get any enjoyment out of. Hopefully this reboot will make things easier for us normals.

Doom 3 - I love, and I mean love Doom 3, so this HD version had already gotten my interest but with the addition of a new 7 level story has made this one I must get!


God of War: Ascension - A prequel to the God of War games, it just seems to be more of the same. I liked God of War but have yet to play the others in the series yet so now seems like the perfect time.

Halo 4 - Not fussed about this, no doubt when it goes cheap enough I will get it. More Covenant as well as a new cyborg looking enemy, woo.

Metro: Last Light - Metro 2033 was fantastic so hopefully this one will be too, more Russian post apocalypse goings on. I saw a short live action film detailing a nuke strike on Moscow made for this game, was not half bad.


Resident Evil 6 - Yet again co-op but promising to go back to its horror roots.  It certainly looks good but the plot seems as jumbled a mess as always. Not going to lie though, I do want it.

Silent Hill: Books of Memories - For the Playstation Vita this Silent Hill game seems to be a Gauntlet style overhead game. It is playable for up to 4 people and seems to be very action orientated. Don't know what to think about this one.

And there you have it, I am sure I have missed some but it is still quite a list of upcoming horror games. So many games, so little time...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Vanquish - Sci-fi Videogame Review (X-Box 360)


Vanquish is a third person action shooter from the makers of Bayonetta. The game combines the action of Gears of War with added mobility.

Vanquish is set in the future where over population on Earth has become a huge issue. It starts with an attack on San Francisco from a space station death ray that results in the City being destroyed. The Space Station has been seized by a rogue group of Russians who have declared war on America, if there demands are not met they are going to destroy a key American City every 24 hours. A fleet is dispatched to take back control of the Station and stop the Russian threat. You play as Sam Gideon; a member of Darpa that is accompanying the American Space Army. Armed with an experimental suit you have amazing defencive abilities such as the ability to boost out of danger, and also a special tool that can morph itself into any weapon type.


The enemies you fight in the game are for the most part not human, instead you battle an Army of robots, this is never really explained. If the Russians have an Army of robots then why does America send in humans who spend the majority of the game being blown to smithereens? There are a wide variety of enemies to face. The grunts are very weak but plentiful, elsewhere you get spider bots, giant humanoid robots and the gigantic bosses. The bosses are not that varied but show up enough times to be fun to fight. They range from tank like vehicles to absolutely gigantic robots who launch thousands of missiles at you.

To fight these you have access to a variety of weapons; the usual stuff for the most part. Each weapon can be levelled up over the course of the game in a clever way. If you have full ammo for a weapon but still pick up ammo for it you instead get the weapon levelled up. So it gives you the option to save ammo in case it is needed, or sacrifice the ammo to make the weapon slightly better. My favourite weapon was the rocket launcher as it had an ace lock on ability, the heavy machine gun was also a mainstay. You have access to a boost that lets you zoom around the levels for a limited time, also you are able to slow down time for a limited time.


The games plot is basic but still handled confusingly, not surprising for a Japanese made game, there are lots of cut scenes, multiple ones per level. The game is split into 5 acts, each made up of 5 or 6 different levels. At the end of each level you are given score based on a variety of factors. Levels are quite varied but still end up feeling quite similar though they do look awesome. As well as generic sci-fi locations you fight though a shopping centre, a park, lots of monorail scenes, and factories. The best levels are one which sees you assault a large steep concrete hill for the duration with robots chucking huge chunks of masonry and vehicles at you. Another cool level saw you fight your way to a giant war ship, ending with you battling though it, slowly ascending the outside of it and picking off its guns.

 Vanquish is a nice looking game, with a load of set pieces and cool cinematics though has some generic characters. The Commander of the Army (name) is generic as they come, all gruff and manly as he shouts and shoots with his arm mounted gun. The game is short enough that it never outstays its welcome, it is a perfect length as the stirrings of fatigue were just starting to set in when it ended. When ever it seemed there would be a on rails section it was snatched away to propel you back into the action which is not that bad a thing. Some QTE’s appear but are not numerous so don’t ruin the game.


I enjoyed Vanquish, it is simple, arcady shooty fun, and has some good looking set pieces to it.

SCORE:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ozombie - Zombie Horror Film Review


When I first heard there was a Bin Laden zombie film I was gob smacked, really did not expect that! Of course I had to buy it, and having watched it I can say that it actually isn’t that bad despite what you would expect.

The film starts during the raid on Bin Laden's complex in Pakistan, the Special forces team discover a zombie farm there, and after a brief chase they kill Osama, but not before he has injected himself with a zombie virus. As the helicopter heads out to sea he reanimates and causes the vehicle to crash with Laden washing up on the beach. Some months later and Afghanistan is in the midst of a secret zombie outbreak, a small American Army team are in the area to find a way to stop the outbreak, the main force having withdrawn for fear of infection. Also there is a young woman; Dusty who has travelled there to look for her conspiracy nut brother Derek. Derek is convinced Bin Laden is alive and so has gone to the country to kill him once and for all. Teaming up with the soldiers they look for the secret Taliban compound where it seems the zombie plague is coming from.


What surprised me about this film is how seriously it treats the subject matter. I fully expected this to be a schlocky, low budget comedy fest but it is the opposite, that doesn’t mean the plot is sensible, just that it is treated like a drama. The film has a feel of quality about it, and really tries to flesh out its characters to seem like real people. Derek for instance is definitely the films comedy character, but he has reason for wanting Laden dead after his team of Firemen where killed at ground zero. Yeah it is ridiculous, such as a nightmare he has in which a zombified Bin Laden chases down him and his sister (in the dream as children) at a playground. The film goes to lengths to portray the civilians of Afghanistan as normal people, not monsters. One scene centres around a lost boy finding his family, while the characters remark about how it is only insurgent zombies they are killing.

The effects are mostly computer generated and so don’t look amazing, lots of blood that vanishes mid spurt for instance. The zombie make up is good enough, and there are plenty of explosions, and fire fights. Acting is patchy, one soldier (who thankfully is killed early on) could not act to save his life. The soldiers are all stereotypes but still manage to come across as likable, and not the total usual meat heads. Is funny that the muscly actor who plays one of the soldiers manages to find a way to have his top off in nearly every scene. As the characters are killed off one by one each death is in its own way affecting, surprised me to care about them.



Ozombie seems strange in that they are trying to approach the subject of Osama Bin Laden and his atrocities with tact rather than milk the shock factor of making a film about a zombie real life bad guy. His character really doesn’t feature into the film much, he is more like the Bogey man providing motivation for Derek. The backdrops reminded me of The Dead, but this is far more of an action film than that with characters frequently making jokes and acting like they are in an action film rather than reality. Still, not bad, an interesting concept.

SCORE:

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Indie videogames Roundup (Bloody Mary, Castle Miner Z, City Zombified, Claustrophobia, Distortion King) - Horror Videogame Reviews (X-Box Indie)

There are a lot of horror based videogames on the X-Box Indie channel, too many by far to review, especially the more bad ones that I don't even last the demo before quitting.  Here are some of the Horror games on offer that will not be getting their own reviews...

Bloody Mary


A Silver Dollar game (notoriously bad game makers) in which you must discover the Bloody Mary evidence on a mirror in which a bad actress faces.  You do this by randomly clicking in the hope a hidden blood stain will appear. Terrible.


Castle Miner Z


A Minecraft clone that has now been made redundant due to the appearance of Minecraft on the X-Box 360.  The Z in the title refers to zombies who appear frequently, as well as skeletons.  More action than Minecraft (you even start with a pistol) but frequent freezing render this game a chore to play even if it doesn't look too bad.


City Zombified


You control your avatar in this third person arena shooter. The (bland featureless) City of Serene has come under attack by zombies. Each level sees you shooting at odd acting zombies who home in on you and the survivor in each level. If you or the civilian die it's game over. Many of the zombies hide inside snowmen. Looks terrible, sounds terrible, been done to un-death a million times before.


Claustrophobia


Another over head twin stick shooter.  It looks good, and has an arcady vibe to it, but an awful slow rock soundtrack. You shoot bloody skeletons and zombies with a variety of weapons such as plasma rifles, missile launchers and rifles.  The game has some comedy in it's perk descriptions but even that can't save it from the fact that there are just too many games of this type cluttering up the Indie channel.


Distortion King


A music game, I was kinda pleased to discover that.  It has a handful of original rock tunes and plays ok. It is annoying that if you miss a note the whole song goes silent for a second or two, kinda off putting.  The background has a picture of zombies rocking out. Dusted off my guitar for this one!


So there you have it, a bunch more horror Indie games discussed, the games really are as bad as I make them sound.