Zombie games have flooded the market (so to speak), and now, instead of Alone in the Dark being the only zombie game to choose from at your local Gamestop, we have Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, House of the Dead, Hunter, Oneechanbara, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, all their applicable sequels, and more. It’s very tough to find an original zombie game these days. To find out if Burn Zombie Burn delivers, read on.
To put it bluntly, there is no story in Burn Zombie Burn. I was expecting a Zombies Ate My Neighbors-esque cheesy plotline, but instead, I booted up the game, and found myself in an Arcade killfest. This isn’t a bad thing, it just may turn off some prospective gamers, who are expecting some sort of epic storyline. You play as Bruce (an obvious throwback to Evil Dead), and your mission is to kill as many zombies as possible. The game is played in “waves”, much like Gears of War’s Horde Mode, with the zombies getting harder and harder as time passes. While the first zombies you encounter aren’t particularly engaging, you’ll quickly find yourself face-to-face with Dancing Zombies, Football Zombies, and Super-Charged Steroid Zombies.
Even without dual stick support, the controls are pretty intuitive, and easy to master. At any time, you can press L3 to see a weapon radar in order to plan out your next move. L1 locks on to the nearest target, and L2 strafes in the direction you are currently moving. Dual Sticks would have done wonders here, but like Resident Evil, the different control scheme adds a bit of tension to the gameplay; and it works.
While it may seem difficult to shoot exactly were you want, it’s not an issue if you want to frantically aim at your nearest target, just hold the lock on button. Burn Zombie Burn delivers weapon variety in spades: there are a ton of weapons at your disposal, from the stereotypical boomstick, chainsaw, and machine gun, to off-the-wall weapons like a baseball bat, lawnmower, and a chaingun. Additionally, your standard pistol can either be shot by holding down the button, or mashing it, making it usable by gamers of all experience levels.
The “burn” aspect of Burn Zombie Burn is actually a huge part of the game, surprisingly. Burning zombies with your torch makes them faster and more dangerous, but you can earn stronger pickups from them, and a higher score multiplier. Burning also does no damage to your enemies, making it a particularly daring feat. Although you can sleaze past the early levels without using this mechanic much, it is required to get a higher score, earn the higher medals, and strong powers are required to clear later, harder levels.
This is where Zombie shines. You have to decide which to simply kill first, which zombies to burn, and on top of all that; survive. Zombie also encourages you to use every weapon in the game, beause every time you use one to kill succesive zombies, a seperate bonus meter goes up for it, giving you more points. If all this seems too daunting, fear not! There’s a very helpful and in-depth tutorial mode that I urge you to complete before even playing the game.
The explosion system is also very deep. In fact, it’s so fleshed-out that I have dubbed it the “risk/reward burn system”. Only by killing non-burning zombies can you earn explosives, and only by killing burning zombies can you earn upgrades for them. Eventually, you’ll move from a small stick of TNT, to an advanced remote mine with a gigantic blast radius. Amidst this Catch-22, it’s up to you to decide which strategy is best; you don’t want to burn too many advanced zombies and make it impossible to survive, do you?
In addition to the main game, there’s a challenge mode, which is essentially the same as the arcade mode, but each stage has a twist to it. For instance, one stage has an explosive zombie head that you can kick around and detonate; another only gives you a torch and a baseball bat. I found these to be a minor distraction, as some of them just made me just want to play the main game with every weapon at my disposal. However you look at it though, the challenge levels are there to extend the life of the game.
There’s also an offline multiplayer mode for two players. Consisting of the same levels from the main game, there’s also a timed mode, “save Daisy mode” (Where you protect a girl in a stationary car), and a versus mode. They all basically play the same, but they’re still a blast if you have an Arcade loving friend.
All in all, Burn Zombie Burn was not what I expected, but that’s ok. Even without a storyline or dual stick support, Zombie plays just fine as an “all you can kill” zombie explosion-fest. The burn mechanic is incredibly fun and frantic, and there’s a large amount of strategy involved, which is rare for a title like this. If you’re old-school, and looking for a Robotron-esque shooter with more strategy, by all means pick up Burn Zombie Burn.
The cartoony presentation works for the most part, but your character model (Chibi-Ash) isn’t all that interesting, nor are a good deal of the zombies.
It’s an all-around action fest. There are plenty of weapons and game modes to keep your attention, but be warned: there is no story.
The soundtrack isn’t particularly engaging, and hearing the same few quotes over and over can get annoying. Every powerup sounds perfect, however.
There are 6 levels, plus challenges and medals to unlock. At it’s heart, it’s an arcade game, not story based, so you’ll play it as long as you enjoy the game. Offline multiplayer is a nice plus, but an online capability would have been ideal.
If you enjoy classic arcade action, Burn Zombie Burn delivers. The intricate combo system and burn mechanic make the game much more than meets the eye.