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Konami Is Engineering The Zombie Apocalypse

Have you gotten your fill of dual-joystick shooters? How about zombie games? If you said "no" to both questions, read on!

Zombies are less menacing from the air.
Zombies are less menacing from the air.
If the recent PlayStation Network release of Burn Zombie Burn didn't sate your appetite for murdering the undead from a top-down perspective--or if you only have an Xbox 360 and didn't even get to play that game at all--Konami has your back with its own downloadable zombie shooter for both platforms, appropriately titled Zombie Apocalypse.

Burn Zombie Burn got pretty complex with its unconventional controls and intricate combo mechanisms, but those of you looking for a more accessible shooter are in luck here. Zombie Apocalypse keeps the action simple with traditional dual-joystick controls and traditional zombie-killing apparatuses like chainsaws and chainguns. It's just four survivors against the endless horde. Think of it as Left 4 Dead meets Geometry Wars.

Actually, it's not endless; you're trying to survive for 55 days of game time, though who knows what happens after that?

I was glad to see that Zombie Apocalypse offers a robust multiplayer setup; four players can battle the hordes locally or online. With four players in the mix, the game gave off a classic arcade sort of vibe, since combo-based high scores--and not dying--are the primary goals. You can run around waving your chainsaw like a madman if you want, but slicing and dicing with specific execution moves will boost your combo multiplier much faster. Of course, you have to get close enough to pull off the move, so there's some risk/reward there. From time to time you'll have to protect survivors from the horde until they can be airlifted out via helicopter. You can also throw bait to lure zombies away, and use level features like exploding barrels to wreak bigger destruction. There aren't really any unique mechanics here, but the action had a good hectic feel to it, and it's so pick-up-and-play accessible that the game made a good first impression.

I wonder how many developers are annoyed that Konami snagged the rights to "Zombie Apocalypse" before they did. Zombie games and dual-joystick shooters may be legion these days, but I had fun with this one and I'm looking forward to playing more of it. The game will be out later in the second quarter, which basically means in the next two months.

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Brad Shoemaker on Google+