Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign
Indie-Ana Co-Op and the Denizens of the Underworld
Editorial by

Indie-Ana Co-Op and the Denizens of the Underworld

Developer: Digital Candy
Genre: Action & Adventure
Available On: XBLIG
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players)
Price: 80 MS Points ($1)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes

I know, I know; the last thing the world needs is another zombie shooter game.  Between the apocalyptic zombie attacks, however, when we tire of the last one and are waiting for the next one to arrive, there’s a little bit of an itch to get back to zombie killing.  For those looking for such an opportunity, and for those looking to kill non-“zed” related enemies (more on that later), Digital Candy presents ZombieGeddon.

The game starts off with a little intro movie that sounds narrated by one of those female computer voices you have on a Mac that basically sets up enough of a premise to say “it’s time to kill zombies!”  Once that’s over, and you and your buddy start up a session, gameplay follows a pretty standard twin-stick shooter format.  The on-screen characters are rotated to face the oncoming hordes using the right thumb stick, fire hot lead using the right trigger, and moved about using the left thumb stick.  There is no friendly fire so no need to be concerned with confusing your partner with a shambling mass just looking for some tasty brains.  As a nice feature, each player already comes equipped with a small arsenal of weapons, including a machine gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, and timed explosive.  Ammo for each of these weapons is distributed here and there throughout the levels, and seems to be dependent on how much ammo of a particular weapon-type you’ve used.  Additionally, an airstrike may be called in to wipe out any particularly large group of foes that may be proving troublesome.

Where ZombieGeddon really gets some points, though, is in the enemies you face.  Despite the title, the game isn’t focused entirely on zombies and, as a matter of fact, the opening movie doesn’t include a single image of a zombie.  Added to the usual crew of slow shamblers and quick runners are mermen that are evocative of the titular character from the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" as well as skeletons that… wait for it… fire rockets!  No explanation is given as to why skeletons fire rockets while the mermen just walk about and take some extra bullets to bring down, but in the midst of the latest zombie uprising, do you really have time to ask why a skeleton is firing rockets at you?

Featured here: mermen. I don't know how a zombie outbreak leads to these things, but I don't think it matters

Once the craziness of that wears off, though, the game doesn’t really change things up too much as you progress. In fact, the game’s biggest sticking point is that the overall level structure remains the same: start at the “bottom” end of a level and work your way to the top, killing everything along the way.  The latter half of that breakdown is the key point, too, as you must wipe out every single enemy in order to advance to the next level.  This might not seem like much, but when you hop into your first vehicle and make a mad dash to the finish line only to discover that you now have to go all the back and kill those monsters you passed by, it becomes extremely tedious.

While zombie shooters are becoming a dime a dozen nowadays, ZombieGeddon does add a nice little distraction for those co-op enthusiasts biding their time until the next great release.

ZombieGeddon is Geared Towards: Gamers that just haven’t gotten enough zombie slaying yet; also, people who enjoy dodging rockets fired from skeletons
The Co-Op Experience: Each player controls his or her own zombie-slaying protagonist with an arsenal of weapons at his or her disposal; playing with a friend definitely adds to the game’s overall fun