Burn Zombie Burn! Hands-On Preview
Burn Zombie Burn! is a new arcade-style arena shooter by doublesix, the company behind the wonderful Geometry Wars: Galaxies. We recently had the chance to sit down with Burn Zombie Burn! lead designer Jim Mummery, freshly exhumed by Brendan Fraser just in time to demo the game. And we were offered a hands-on play through to boot.
Short on plot but big on action, Burn Zombie Burn! follows Bruce and his girlfriend out on a typical date when they are mysteriously attacked by a raving army of maniacal zombies (note: the Dance Gun not only gets the zombies raving, but throwing down Michael Jackson Thriller moves, as well). Bruce's objective is simple: kick pale zombie ass. The game features cartoony graphics but make no mistake, the copious amounts of blood and gore definitely earns its Mature rating.
Burning is a big part of the game mechanic. Torching the undead baddies with the flamethrower racks up a score multiplier. There are 120 onscreen zombies to torch, some bigger than most. Burn enough before blowing them up earns beaucoup points. So don't blow your load too soon. Great advice for inside and outside the game room.
Moments into playing, we knew the designers did their homework. Genre fans are sure to catch sly references to zombie movies of the past. The dimpled chin male lead is aptly named after "Army of Darkness" star Bruce Campbell.
The designers also pay homage to classics like George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Living Dead" and "Shaun of the Dead," to name a few. Cricket bats, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and the already mentioned Dance Gun are among the ten selectable weapons. Part of the fun seems to be catching the in-jokes as you plow through the zombie horde.
There are 6 arenas to choose from, including graveyard, movie drive-in, army base, and mad scientist lab. Each arena has a Big Red Button that can be activated after filling up a weapon's usage meter. Fill up three and press the Big Red Button to trigger a special zombie annihilating event.
Also, there are Trophies and Medals to unlock throughout the game. Trophies are awarded for accomplishing goal-specific challenges. As for Medals, filling up the first level meter for each weapon unlocks the Bronze Medal, filling up the second level meter unlocks the Silver Medal, and the third unlocks Gold. Unlocking all the Medals usually takes 20 plus hours of dedicated zombie burning. A special Developer Medal is rewarded to players who can beat the Developer's high scores. Expect plenty of practice before mastering this beast.
Achieving all the Bronze Medals, which can be done in two hours, unlocks all the gameplay modes, vision modes, and the music player jukebox. Vision modes are fun graphics filters that give the game a new look. When applied in certain arenas, they give the player an advantage in winning Trophy challenges. A few vision modes are Comic Book, Sketch, Sepia, and Zombie Vision. Our favorite challenge was Lawn of the Dead which had us mowing down zombies with our trusty, rusty lawnmower.
There are three gameplay modes that can be played either single player, local two-player co-op or local versus.
Survive the Zombies! is about racking up huge points while avoiding death. A good tip is to grab explosive upgrades while setting fire to large zombie groups. Blow them up and knock down high scores for sure.
Beat the Clock! mode puts the pressure on by having the player accumulate time extension bonuses before the clock ticks down.
The final mode is Protect Daisy! in which Bruce must fight off zombies for as long as possible before they turn his girlfriend into brain food for the undead, as she sits helpless in their car.
It's a little sad that the game is only local multiplayer, but then again having a live buddy next to us is definitely more fun and makes knocking beer bottles together much easier as we score that awesome multiplier bonus. Burn Zombie Burn! will be available through the PlayStation Network for $9.99 beginning March 26.
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