Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hungry Are The Dead

Considering the pain in the ass it has been trying to upload the screenshots somewhere - anywhere - for this review, expect much vitriol and rage. I was trying to think of what game I could review for this Halloween edition of Big Mean Flash Gamer, but when I saw Hungry Are The Dead, I knew there was no other choice. There are worse games out there, but this one caught my eye.

It's kind of sad, really, because I'm a huge zombie fan. In my view, the zombie is the greatest movie monster ever. They may not look much, but that's the beauty of zombies - you can outrun them, you can kill them by bashing their heads in, but once they have you cornered and surrounded, there's no escape. The zombies are the ultimate monsters because they never lose.

It also doesn't matter how ridiculous the premise of a zombie movie is, or how poor the acting. People really only want to see one thing, and that's hordes of the undead skulking across the landscape devouring helpless people who could defeat the zombies if they worked together, but instead fall apart. Anyway, you would think that, in the same way there's no chance you can screw up a zombie movie, nor is there any way to screw up a zombie game. But you'd be wrong.

Hungry Are The Dead seems promising enough (but then, don't they all?) You're stuck in the typical zombie survival situation, holed up in a house with a seemingly endless supply of ammo and even friggin' grenades. A nice addition to this game that I haven't seen elsewhere is the option to equip a laser sight to your rifle.

Well, gee, do I want to have pin-point accuracy when I blowing zombie heads clean off their necks? Sure, why not? Other games would have you work for this luxury, but as you'll soon discover, Hungry Are The Dead is not about providing a challenge. But before we go further, can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?

OK, so you managed to track down the only gun store in town that still stocked grenades, but you somehow forgot to put a door on your house? I know you can buy stuff later to improve your defences, but seriously, you're trying to tell me locking the front door just slipped your mind?

Anyway, you don't much time to think about it, because here come the zombies. Ah yes, time to get down to business!

What the fuck is that? OK, I get it, it's the first level, but you're really telling me this is all I have to deal with? Damn, no wonder I felt confident enough to keep the front door open. Indeed, for the first couple of levels you won't have to worry about more than two zombies on screen at a time. And with the laser sight to help you, it starts to become pretty ridiculous. There were times when I would kill ghouls that hadn't even appeared yet.

Eventually bigger, faster zombies, will appear. Some of my personal favourites were this guy:

And the dude in the orange shirt, who managed to hold onto his unconvincing wig despite having his face eaten off:

You'll notice some pretty bitchin' defences in those last few screenshots. At the end of every level you go to an upgrade screen, which allows you to increase the size of the clip in your rifle, the strength of your ammo, and purchase defences like barbed wire and mines. Yeah, that's right - frickin' mines.

You get money for every zombie you kill, and you can then use that cash to upgrade. I've always thought that was a little weird in zombie survival games. I mean, the entire world has been overrun with the living dead, yet some enterprising guy has managed to get all this crazy shit together and every day he runs around selling it to people. If/when the zombie apocalypse comes, I want to be that guy - ain't nobody fuckin' with him.

Anyway, the first thing you'll want to look into is increasing the clip size of your gun. The reason for this is because when you want to reload, you have to click on the big pile of bullets next to your character. Apparently it was beyond the ability of the developers to include a reload button on the keyboard - what the hell else is the R button for? If you have any money left over you can start buying all the iron fences and anti-personnel mines you like, but at the end of the day, quick reflexes and an amped-up rifle will be your best friends in this game.

So you go along, shooting zombies, upgrading weapons, shooting more zombies, playing with the grenades... and then it happens. You're four or five levels in, and all of a sudden here it comes, shuffling towards you:

A headless zombie.

A headless. Fucking. Zombie.

It doesn't matter how much or how little interest you have in the zombie subgenre. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as a headless zombie. It's impossible for a zombie to exist without a head. And yet there it is.

What the fuck am I supposed to shoot!?

Oh yeah, I shoot its body three times, and then it dies. I experimented a little later on, and I discovered that shooting any zombie three times in its torso will kill it. God damn it. George Romero would spin in his grave, if he was dead. Headless fucking zombies... I'm sorry, but how do you make a zombie game and mess up something that simple that badly?

Anyway, if you manage to keep playing despite that fuck-up, you'll quickly find that the game has no objective other than "shoot the zombies." Once you've upgraded both your weapons, once you've installed every defensive item you can, what do you do then? You shoot more zombies. There's no military unit coming to rescue you in a month, there's no super zombie that you have to defeat before you can make your escape to civilisation. You just sit there and shoot zombies - forever.

In the end I got bored of killing zombies before they even made it half way across the screen and started tossing grenades at them. The grenades are great because once you max them out, they explode like little H-bombs.

Ka-boom! And yeah, there's not much else to say. Oh, you do get zombie dogs after ten levels:

I don't know where you sit on the whole "zombie animals" debate. I guess I'm more on the Living Dead side of the argument, which says only humans can become zombies. But there's also the Resident Evil train of thought, which says it is capable for animals to become infected. Of course, Resident Evil fans also believe Milla Jovovich can act, so take any opinion they may have with a grain of salt.

Well, there'll come a a point, after you've killed your 529th ghoul or so, that you will realise this game is nothing more than a repetitive waste of your time. So what does one do when this happens? Simple: stop shooting and watch as the undead set off your explosives.

Sweet! I think I did pretty well - I played this piece of crap for a good thirty minutes before finally deciding to see what happens when the zombies get in. Well obviously, this:

That screen is actually more frightening than anything in the game, which is really depressing. But once you're dead, you get a final score that shows you how well you did.

Undead Champion! Yeah!


Oh man, this took me a good hour longer than I ever thought it would. I need to get away from my computer. OK, so in summation - this game sucks, don't play it, and have a happy Halloween.


  1. If ever there is a zombie apocalypse, I will know exactly who to turn to.

    Game on, brave Boy. Game on.