October 30, 2033 AD.
The alien menace that we fought so hard to destroy
Three years of peace
shattered in one cataclysmic stroke.
Ah, don’t you just love poor excuses
for a story in an action game?
But to their credit, it really is hard to make a story
that we haven’t heard a billion times over.
Although this might make a
good Saturday morning cartoon.
Yes, Zombie Wars!
The Zombie Wars.
But, wait a second. That guy…
I’ve seen him from somewhere.
No, no, no, not from The Watchmen! Something else.
Yeah, that’s it! Alien Carnage,
also known as Halloween Harry.
But that was by some Australian SubZero group
and that was distributed by Apogee.
This is by Gee Whiz! Entertainment
and… NOT distributed by Apogee.
Well, it does turn out that this is indeed the sequel
to Halloween Harry or Alien Carnage.
But Apogee had nothing to do with it.
It was made by most of the same guys, though.
They just renamed themselves and
the game and released it on their own.
You start off the game simply enough,
all “choose your destiny” and such.
Then you’ll have the choice to play as the comedian
or as Diane, who was that chick in
the first game that told you what to do.
There is absolutely no difference between them at all.
At least from what I can tell,
so I’m not really sure of the purpose.
I chose Harry at first because I
like shooting pregnant women
who carry my child whislt defending my country
and trying not to stare at Dr. Manhattan’s junk.
After an appropriately cheesy cutscene,
you land on a beach.
This is a stark contrast to Alien Carnage’s
mostly dark and dirty look, but it’s cool,
and it’s a nice way to show off
the upgraded graphics engine,
which looks quite nice in 320×200 fullscreen mode.
The next big change is that there’s now
no flamethrower or Omega weapon.
No Omega’s fine by me.
There’s a mini-nuke and that works fine.
But no flamethrower?
Well, now you have this…
agh, I dunno, fully automatic,
rocket-propelled fireball gun.
And it never runs out of ammo.
It looks like it’s actually called a
Photon… something or other,
which sounds like one of guns from Alien Carnage.
One of the crazier ones at that,
so why they made it the default weapon
that never runs out of ammo, I don’t know.
This isn’t just a simple weapons change,
it’s game changing, really.
In Alien Carnage, the flamethrower
was tied to your jetpack.
And since you can’t jump, you had to make
sure that you not only had enough fuel to fly
but also to use the flamethrower.
This really forced you to use the other weapons a lot
and to think about what you were doing.
But nope. Gone.
On top of that, this gun is crazy powerful,
so I almost never use the other weapons
because you can just hold down fire and plow onward.
Thankfully, it is incredibly fun to shoot things with
and seeing zombies burst into jibs
burning body parts littering the ground.
It’s just arguably overpowered.
Perhaps to make up for this
loss of strategy, there is a shield
which gives you invulnerability when you turn it on
and recharges over time once it runs out.
This gives you really a false sense of security.
Since you have a strong gun and a shield,
you end up getting to some really bad situations
that could have been avoided
had you just taken your time.
The rest of the gameplay is
very similar to Alien Carnage.
Whether or not you like that game will determine
whether or not you think this is a good or a bad thing.
Now three years removed from that game,
the aliens have returned
with their zombie… fire… weapon.
And the goal is usually to just
survive and kill everything in sight
using flame, missiles, grenades and nukes.
Most zombies will drop coins
with which you can buy ammo from vending machines.
Just select the weapon, buy your ammo and move on.
There are also tons of secrets
which can require a lot of backtracking.
And now the worlds seem a little bit more open,
so there’s a lot more potential for these things,
but like in Alien Carnage,
you are punished for this by respawning enemies.
Leave the screen and come back,
and then those enemies that you
just killed are right there again.
I hated this in Alien Carnage
and I hate it in Zombie Wars,
since they only drop coins the first time around,
so they just become a waste of ammo.
Along the way you’ll get hurt of course,
so you’ll want to seek out junk food at once
The alternative is to save trapped
humans to have your health fully restored.
Now hot dogs equalling health, I get,
but untying random people equalling health?
Not so much.
Maybe they have a Twix bar in their
pocket or something, I don’t know.
The game does have a life system,
which is pointless and annoying.
At least I find them so,
and I’ve got nothing against lives
but there are not only checkpoint terminals in each level
to save your progress,
but it also saves your progress at the end of each area.
So if you die, you just start a new
game from any point in the past
and continue like nothing happened.
You just select it from a menu. I mean, it’s so simple.
I suppose the only point in
having lives is getting a high score,
which I really couldn’t care less about in games like this.
There is a good variety of level
types for the first few levels,
from beaches to office buildings to parks.
There’s like nine actual levels with several areas in each,
and all that changes in
between are some color palettes,
backgrounds and some additional
enemies from time to time.
Speaking of enemies, there are quite a few,
but most of them are ripped
straight from Alien Carnage.
And for the first third of the game,
they’re easily dispatched by your main gun.
But like in Blood, you can shoot
and toss around decapitated heads,
which always makes for good times.
Little before halfway through the game,
it gets quite challenging,
with lots of tougher and more annoying enemies,
like this giant zombie lady,
the evil Tooth Fairy thing that makes
your gun shoot harmless bubbles,
and these indestructible groups
of babies that will eat your head.
At this point, your radar becomes really handy,
letting you know where evil lurks.
And I’m describing this, I’m realizing that
it actually sounds pretty freakin’ awesome,
but that’s not entirely true.
There are three big problems that I find,
which is the controls, the
cheap shots and the repetition.
The jetpack controls are my main issue.
It just feels weird when you’re in the air
trying to descend or getting
into a little cavernous pathway.
It’s just sometimes hard to do.
I never could get totally comfortable with it.
Enemy cheap shots – it’s pretty straightforward.
Some of the enemies later on will just
kill you in tons of really annoying ways
and since you only have a few lives at a time,
you have to reload the game a
lot and that gets old really fast.
Adding to this aggravation is the
repetition of the whole game.
It’s the same thing over and over
with very little changing along the way.
It would really help if there were
some different level varieties
or maybe not using so many of
the enemies as often as they do.
But sadly, that’s just not the case.
You occasionally get something new to do,
like a stupid, buggy escort mission
that will piss you off even more.
Don’t get me wrong, Zombie Wars is a good
action-platform game, especially on the PC,
but it’s just a bit flawed.
There’s a lot of game here, and that
might be fine if you’re totally into it,
but me, I got bored and annoyed about four levels in.
So altogther for me, the game is just too much hassle
and there are pretty much the same
complaints here that I had about Alien Carnage.
But neither of the games in the
series are bad by any means.
So if it looks interesting to you,
I’d certainly at least give it a try,
because there is some definite fun to be had.