Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flash Fun: Dude and Zombies (6.8 / 10)

dude and zombies

I love zombies, just as much as I love penguins, so whenever a new zombie-themed flash game is released I give it a try. Though Dude and Zombies is a nice entry into the shooter genre, it fails to set itself apart from the enormous amount of similarly styled games. Even the gameplay is an almost exact replica of Balloon in a Wasteland, which set itself apart with it's amazing graphical style and concept.

You play as an unnamed character whose truck breaks down in the middle of a zombie infested forest, (sounds like a trashy horror movie, right?) but these zombies are not exactly what you would expect. Though there are the usual human-like zombies, there are also other variations like zombie rabbits and birds. It's a fun idea and adds some variety, even though they're hard as hell to hit with a pistol. (I love animals, btw. I'm a vegetarian, but who can pass up shooting some zombie rabbits?)

dude and zombies
Zombie rabbits, a lot deadlier than they sound.

Controlling you character can be done with the arrow keys, or if you're like me you can also use AWD controls. One of biggest complaints is the game is a lot more difficult (which isn't saying much) using a laptop with a touchpad. The game was clearly designed for mouse controls, but I'm used to it anyway so it wasn't such a big deal. Apart from that the controls are simple and easy to pick up.

I'm not a big fan of games that limit you to a certain area, mostly because it doesn't allow for any environmental variety, and that's exactly what Dude and Zombies does. Zombies appear from the left and right and your objective is to kill them all the while protecting and assembling your truck, which must be repaired if damaged. However, I realized part way in that standing on your truck to protect yourself from zombies causes them to attack the truck instead. My suggestion, ignore the truck when zombies around and simply hop over them. The right strategy makes the game extremely easy, especially when you get the right tools. Speaking of tools ...

dude and zombies
If you've played any shooter before, than these are nothing new.

There's no pacifist options in Dude and Zombies, so befriending the rabbits is out of the question. That's where these guns come into play. They're nothing new for genre fanatics, but for casual players like me I welcome all the options even if they're generic. Each of the first five guns behave differently, and the second set are more like "upgraded" versions of the previous. I like guns that shoot fast, because I like holding the mouse key and not having to worry about where the bullets go, so I ended up only using 3 of the 10 weapons for more than a couple seconds. The game provides gun types for all different types of players, such as the "I'll mow them down with a shotgun" type player or the "I'll run around with a flamethrower" type player, so at least there is variety.

Skills, which there are 24 of, are ill-conceived. Though the game present you with plenty of options, certain branches of skills are almost necessary for the start of the game and you'd have no idea until the zombies suddenly start plowing over you. A little more balance would have been nice, though maybe this is just a case of "no mouse", or I'm just terrible at the game.

dude and zombies
Lots of options for your character.

Gameplay - 7/10
    Diverse amount of guns and skills to keep things moving at a nice pace, but nothing you haven't seen before. Picking the right skills to level up is crucial in the beginning of the game which may lead to unnecessary restarts. Achievements provide extra incentive to use the variety of tools at your disposal. The different types of zombies keep the game from becoming boring, but they are mostly ordinary in function. Not a very difficult game, and no difficulty settings.
Controls - 7/10
    Simple enough and easy to pick up, though the "mouse" to shoot is tougher with laptops. Planting mines, reloading and repairing the car are also extremely easy to do, allowing you to focus on the main aspect of the game.
Visual - 7/10
    Blocky character designs are nothing new, but it works, especially for the zombies. The game takes place on a single stage with an eerily dark setting, but because of that there is little variety. The HUD is nicely designed as well.
Sound - 7/10
    Great atmospheric sound effects and realistic gun shots, but the rest of the game is lifeless. The zombie's don't make any sound.
Personal Enjoyment - 6/10
    Fun for the first 20 minutes, but slowly turns monotonous after the right skills and weapons are bought.

dude and zombies
Admittedly, I did not get all the achievements.


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