Video Game Rentals Delivered

Burn, Zombie, Burn! (PSN)

David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-04-17 11:16:59

Burn, Zombie, Burn! (PSN) - Rank C

Developer: Doublesix Games
Publisher: Pinnacle Software
Date: 3/26/09

Burn, Zombie, Burn! is a light-hearted top-down shooter that pits you against (surprise) hordes of relentless undead. It features a thoroughly satisfying zombie battling arsenal, from chainsaws to shotguns to explosives to a boogie-inducing weapon that makes them dance to "Thriller". This comical tone is nicely married with charmingly animated ghouls that shamble and stumble about in an unorganized but determined hatred of you, the living.

It sounds like a recipe for fun, but Burn, Zombie has a couple of critical design issues that I find less than appealing. The first is the control scheme. It looks superficially similar to games like Smash TV, except that it's not a twin-stick shooter. Instead, you move with the left stick, and press either X or the right shoulder button to fire weapons. In order to help you aim at the proper zombie amongst the swarming throng, pressing the left shoulder button auto-locks onto the zombie closest to you. The left trigger allows you to strafe, while steadily pointed in the same direction, but this requires you to first orient yourself to the desired facing. So basically, you use varying combinations of three buttons to do what the right stick could intuitively handle by itself. It's already a difficult game, and adding this stammering control scheme was an unnecessary complication.

Secondly, I'm torn about the strategic mechanic at the heart of the game. The ultimate goal isn't simply killing zombies, it's to rack up ridiculously high scores. In addition to whatever primary weapon you might be rocking, you also have a torch. The zombies fear flames, and will flee from you if you bust it out. Actually setting them on fire, however, enrages them, and they come at you faster and more furiously. Moreover, the total number of zombies on fire is your score multiplier. So you want to keep a high number of burning zombies at all times, in order to boost your score. But killing zombies that are aflame gives you better power ups. It's all one big mess of conflicting goals that seems intriguing initially, but ends up feeling like a job herding and culling the undead masses, as opposed to the thrill of battling them merely for survival.

There's enough action and charm in Burn, Zombie, Burn! that I didn't hate it, but I was disheartened by the core gameplay to the point that I regretted the purchase. Your money has better options.

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