Mutant Chronicles Invades Xbox Live

Click Here For Official Site

Click Here For Official Site

This is only vaguely related to games, but Microsoft recently released a movie by studio Magnolia Pictures onto Xbox 360. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking because I thought it to: Oh goodie, a half-assed piece of tripe. No thanks.

But then I watched the trailer. Check this shit out!

Sure it’s a B-movie style zombie flick. But it has evil corporations, a secretive religious sect AND special effects that tread the line between awesome and suck. It’s like Lucas made this movie! (I kid…not really…) That, and Hellboy. And who doesn’t like Hellboy?

Anyway, it’s available for download on Xbox Live for 800 points for regular old television and 1200 points for spiffy HD.

Plus, it turns out Magnolia Studios is also behind such awarding winning films as the documentary “Man On Wire” and the highly anticipated “Let The Right One In”

Seriously, what else are you doing on a Wednesday night? Or, if you’d rather wait until April 24th (and get raped by movie theater pricing), Mutant Chronicles will be coming to a theater near you.

UPDATE:

Just finished watching it. At an hour and forty five minutes, this movie was extremely awesome. Unlike most composite horror movies, no character is safe regardless of necessity to the plot. Filmed entirely on a digital sound stage, the steam punk effects take on a graphic novel feel that took some getting used to…but I warmed up to it by the time the plot got rolling. Definately worth the $10.

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Zombie Hooker Nightmare: A Review

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Click Here To Play!

Adultswim.com, part of the Cartoon Network family, is well known for their violent tongue-in-cheek games. From playing as an Amateur Surgeon to Five Minutes To Kill Yourself, the developers of these miniature web games have no idea where the line is. Which is awesome.

Their latest addition to the website is Zombie Hooker Nightmare. The premise is simple. You’re a hooker, living in a trailer in a very maze-like cemetery. Zombies have taken over the world but you’ve still got to make a buck. Luckily the undead don’t deter your customers, who stand around like the sheep they are until either they’re killed or you pick them up.

When you first begin the game, you’re standing outside your trailer with legions of the undead headed your way. For some reason, all the zombies in this cemetery are remnants of hot chicks. Most of them are green and can be taken out with one well placed punch or kick. The gold ones are a little hardier, using their own limbs to give them reach and taking two hits to kill. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to make as much money as possible before being inevitably killed.

Each level charges you with picking up tricks, with the difficulty going up one trick per level. The controls are simple enough. The directional buttons move you and the space bar is attack. But, when getting a trick’s attention, you use the “X” button to slap your ass. This causes them to turn from puke yellow to black which makes them unkillable by the zombies. That’s right, YOUR ASS is the most potent defense against the undead. Unfortunately your powers only work on the customers and you must defend yourself as you wander, lest your health bar reach zero and end the game.

The game is pretty generous with weapons however. Everything from a machine gun to a severed leg to a heeled shoe can be used to kill the enemy. Watch out though; all weapons have a limited number of hits or uses. If you manage to herd all the men to your trailer before you use up the weapon though, it will have full ammo/hits when the next level begins.

As a hooker, your job is to rake in the cash. Tricks give you most of your points, but for every zombie you kill you get a small monetary reward. There also can be cash or weapons hidden in the tombstones, so be sure to deface as much property as you can. But be warned! Greedy bastards that just run around the level are in for a surprise. The game starts sending more diverse enemies, including zombies in red dresses that blow kisses of doom. If you get caught in their haze it slows you down. And trust me, a slow hooker is a dead hooker. And if even then you aren’t deterred, the game sends out decapitated obese women in lingerie to throw their flaming heads at you. o_O

That’s not to say the game is without its faults. Being a web based game on Adultswim, the goal is to get the high score for the week and be immortalized for ten seconds on television. So the game is remorseless about death. If you run out of health, there is no save. You are just dead. Much like real life. I also found out the hard way that gunning down a clump of zombies surrounding the trick will also gun down the guy. Friendly fire is always on here. And nothing is more frustrating than having a weapon with a long reach, like the golf club, and not be able to use it. If you get too close to the zombies, they’ll hit you so fast you don’t even have a chance to use your weapon, no matter what you have.

In conclusion, as far as free web based games go, Zombie Hooker Nightmare is a lot of fun. Addictive and needing an alarmingly high degree of strategy in later levels, it has the added incentive of being able to be minimized. You know, in case your boss walks in. Save a hooker, kill a zombie.

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House of the Dead: Overkill

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For me, the House of the Dead series has always been judged by its own set of standards. Being a rail shooter of dubious plot and even worse character development, it would be unfair in my mind to compare it to juggernauts Resident Evil or Silent Hill. But coupling zombies that fall from the sky in droves with arcade guns and a few friends always made up for the lack of depth.

So when we put Overkill into the Wii last night, my expectations were exceedingly low. After all, it was a rail shooter on the Wii. Now I love my Wii, but M-rated games just aren’t its scene. Choosing the two player campaign, I played Agent G (the staple character in this series) and my husband picked up Detective Washington, a new character to the lexicon. The following is the intro that greeted us. WARNING: Extremely adult language.

Holy shit! This game’s opening line is “Wassup motherfucker.” And it just gets better from there. House of the Dead: Overkill embraces its “M” rating better than any game I can remember playing on a Nintendo system. Or any other system really. Fuck is said in one form or another so many times that House of the Dead: Overkill was recently given the Guinness Book of World Records award for most profanities used in a video game. To be specific, 189 or almost one F-bomb per minute.

Split into mini-movies instead of chapters (like Left 4 Dead) Overkill takes you through classic horror movie areas such as the plantation house, the carnival and the hospital. Along the way, it subverts or lampoons pretty much everything in the genre from creepy Asian ghost girls to the thing from Total Recall to Left 4 Dead’s helicopter rescue. Complementing this the whole time is the kitschy 70’s soundtrack and poor audio, the intentionally profane and poorly written dialogue and of course, tons and tons of zombies. Excuse me, mutants. (There is an ongoing debate between the two characters as to which these are.) Overkill’s style was very reminiscent of the recent “Grindhouse” movie by Quentin Tarantino.

All the bells and whistles are there, but of course the gameplay is essential. Overkill is your standard rail shooter here. Unload your clip into the bad guys, shoot off screen to reload, repeat. There is also the staple House of the Dead “Save the civilian by killing the things attacking her”. On top of these, the developers threw in a few extras to beef things up. Throughout each chapter there are golden brains to collect, and little green swirlies to shoot. If you manage to hit them, the game goes into “bullet time” making it easier to shoot the zombies…er, mutants. And even as a rail shooter, you are constantly looking behind you for enemies and ducking to avoid explosions and boss mutants.

That’s not to say the game doesn’t have its drawbacks. The pistol is still the preferred weapon of choice in the game since the shotgun is both slow and occassionally erratic. And don’t get me started on the sub-machine gun. If I unload an entire clip into a mutants head, it should bloody well die! Because it is a rail shooter, seeing the health pack/golden brain/green swirly in time can be difficult. I suggest utilizing a third “player”, usually a non-gaming friend that likes to watch, to keep an eye out for these things for you. We also encountered one glitch, where upon killing the boss of the level his minions continued to beat on us (albeit without doing damage) for about fifteen seconds. Standard for the House of the Dead series, the game is very short but beating it unlocks Director’s Cut mode which is bascally the Hard mode and several different minigames. There is also incentive to go back and earn more money to get new weapons and upgrade current ones.

Any of these negatives are glossed over and forgotten though by the campy and extremely amusing cut scenes, dialogue and even the hilarious lyrics to the soundtrack. This official prequel to the original House of the Dead not only exceeded my expectations with flying colors, but I feel reinvigorated the rail shooter genre. If you’ve been waiting for the Wii to grow up and speak your language, they couldn’t have given you a  more perfect game.

House of the Dead: Overkill is rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language and Sexual Themes

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Undead Invade Industry Undetected

7748_dead-rising01The zombies are coming! The zombies are coming! Err wait, they’re already here…and no one seems to mind. Awesome.

At least this is the only logical conclusion I can come to. In the last year the game industry has been literally overrun with zombie games, ranging from gory to silly to thought provoking. Don’t believe me? Well then Mr. Skeptic, here is a partial list I came up with off the top of my head after staring at my computer screen for ten minutes.

1. Teenage Zombies: A tongue in cheek DS title that slipped under the radar last April.

2. Left 4 Dead: One of the top Games of the Year. Easily spotted.

3. Resident Evil 5: Zombies go on safari.

4. House of the Dead: Overkill: Wii exclusive prequel to the original title.

5. Zombie Infection: Even your cell phone isn’t safe. Contest for tickets to Comic Con make this flash game even more dangerous.

6. Call of Duty: World At War: Nazis? Zombies? NAZI ZOMBIES?! We can’t kill these things fast enough.

7. Dead Rising: Chop til You Drop: Wii exclusive. Self-explanatory title.

8. Fallout 3: I’m counting the Ghouls here. They’re zombies by another name.

9. Dead Space: Creepy mutated space zombies still count.

10. Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers: Yes, this is real. No, I’m not kidding. Also available on 360!

11. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ: Contra style Gameplay + fairy tales + zombies = bizarrely entertaining DS title.

The two iffiest in that list, as my husband so kindly pointed out, are Dead Space and Fallout 3 since technically neither are classic zombies. But neither species in either game is living or not actively decaying, so I’m counting them. Take that as you will.

The question then becomes why the sudden glut of zombie killing goodness? After all, the oldest title on my list isn’t even a year old. Sure, there were zombies around before that, but mostly in rail shooters in the arcade or in the staple Resident Evil series. So what happened? Oh, lots of things. Some have suggested our renewed love of zombies stems from the repetitive mindlessness of modern living, such as Shagtee’s opinion . Interesting read there, by the way.

I think the release of Shaun of the Dead in theaters and Dead Rising on the 360 brought a sharper spotlight to the shambling undead. After all, people may feel some remorse killing another human…be it mobster, Nazi or random ninja #78, but killing the undead not only feels good, it feels damn good! But what kind of undead can mere humans kill like so many lemmings? Certainly not vampires, as proven by the ill-fated Vampire Rain for the Xbox 360. Even Alucard and the other, ever-expanding cast of Castlevania can’t keep a good vampire down.

Enter the zombie. The red shirt army of the fantasy world. He doesn’t ask for much. Just a road to shamble down, a brain to eat and maybe a shadow to lurk in. With most games needing a fall guy for the hero to mow down, the undead are a masterpiece of ‘false difficulty’. They might all have one hit point, but there’s two hundred of them. Now what, Mr. Only-has-three-rounds-left? Mwa-ha-ha-ha.

Ahem. Sorry about that. So whether it’s our own masochistic need to destroy a strawman of modern living, our need to satiate our bloodlust without remorse or the visceral thrill of fear at the thought of being eaten alive, the game industry has found that nerve and is going to poke it for all it’s worth. I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Braaaaiiiinnnssss.

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Resident Evil 5 Demo Explodes on Live

Microsoft announced on February 2nd that the highly anticipated Resident Evil 5 demo had shot of over 1.8 million downloads on Xbox Live. The demo, released exclusively over Live on Monday January 26 for Gold members, garnered 1.3 million downloads in just three days. Once the zombie shooter was available for all members of Xbox live, that number jumped to almost 2 million. All this in just the first seven days. But don’t despair if you don’t have a 360. Playstation 3 owners can also get in on the action as the demo goes live on Playstation Home starting on February 2.
Capcom offers up the first two levels of the game in the demo, letting you fight your way through hordes of the undead and solve a few puzzles. Once downloaded, you can either play single player with a computer controlled team-mate, hop online to play multi-player over Live or the holy grail of co-op games, play split screen with a friend.
After the runaway success of last year’s zombie games and with the blockbuster name Resident Evil attached to this title, forecasters are predicting over 3 million copies to be sold when the game reaches store shelves on March 13th.

Left 4 Dead: A (belated) review

I see what you did there...four fingers...left 4 dead. Ha. Ha.Welcome to the zombie apocalypse. Hope you brought friends. That’s the basic premise behind Valve’s latest game and they run with it. This game is not for the kiddies, or even some easily frightened adults. It’s dark, it’s spooky and there are ominous messages written on walls and odd bloodstains on the floor. Not to mention the imminent death lurking down every shadowed hallway. For the shambling dead, zombies can be awful stealthy.

When you boot this game up, the first thing it’ll ask you is who you want to play as. There are four choices, all of them standard horror genre staples. You’ve got Bill the gruff ex-army guy, Louis the office worker with a penchant for hitting the firing range, Francis the tattooed biker, and Zoey the horror movie enthusiast. Picking a character is merely for personal preference and catchphrases as any of them can use any of the available weapons. Got your favorite stereotype? Alright then, let’s kill some zombies. Lots and lots of zombies.

When you enter campaign mode, or the main storyline of the game, all four characters on the screen are in a “safe room” where you can stock up on health packs and ammo. Each person can have two weapons; everyone gets a pistol with unlimited ammo and one other weapon. Your choices are the shotgun, the sniper rifle or the assault rifle. If you’re alone or your friends have the patience, I recommend taking a moment to read the scrawled handwriting on the walls of each safe room. Not only is it eerie and well placed plot points (and some of the very few you get) sometimes there is valuable information about where to go. Right then. Let’s bust down this red metal door and wreak havoc. But wait! This is not your average “I’m super awesome and can take on the entire world population in zombie form” video game. This will require strategy. This will require teamwork. And above all, it will require staying with the group! If possible, bring along some friends to play with you or just hop online and the game will put you in with like minded people. Though Left 4 Dead can be played alone, it is ultimately a multi-player experience.

However, if your friends are too busy to save the world, the NPC’s will be happy to help. Valve did a pretty good job on the A.I. for the campaign. They are less likely than your real friends to ‘accidentally’ shoot you in the back of the head in the heat of battle, but also more likely to die as they seem bent on using their health packs to heal you instead of themselves. This seems cool until you’re alone in the subway because the horde of zombies just ate your friends. However, they won’t ever be clipping into a wall or shooting at nothing either. So it’s a trade off.

Gameplay consists of the standard get from point A to point B without being killed or eaten. Each chapter is split up into it’s own miniature movie with its own scenes, giving the budding zombie killer twenty levels to practice their firearms and Molotov tossing skills in. Valve threw in a few new things to mix it up and keep it interesting though. There are new Boss Zombies, or zombies that can apparently think instead of just run barreling into your shotgun blow. The five types are the Smoker, Boomer, Hunter, Tank, and Witch. Each has it’s own unique way of making your life miserable and a variety of strategies for killing or avoiding. Added to this is the fact that every time you load up the game, whether in campaign or multiplayer, the level is different. Oh sure, the main pieces of the set are still in place but don’t count on that ammo, health pack, or Molotov to be where it was last time. Ditto on the zombies. Where once a room was a safe place to reload and heal up, it may now be a swarming mass of animated flesh. Also as an interesting side note, zombies hate loud noises with a passion not seen since they first craved human flesh. So don’t set off the car alarm with your sub-par assault rifle skills unless you want seventy zombies freaking out on you. Or, turn it to your advantage by making a pipe bomb and watch the horde kick it until they explode into a fine pink mist.

All this though is merely training for the big leagues. The meat of the game, pun half intended. Competitive multiplayer. Because as much fun as it is to work with your friends against A.I. zombies, it is a hundred times more satisfying to eat your friend’s brain because he stupidly wandered off into the woods alone. Tough love buddy.

Again, when you fire the game up it’ll ask you to pick a character. You can choose to side with the survivors and work together to live or you can choose to be the walking dead and work together to kill. Playing a human, the mechanics are the same as the campaign mode only slightly ramped up since you have to account for your buddies’ intelligence instead of the computers. Or maybe ramped down, if your friends seriously fail at sneak attack. As a zombie, you are randomly assigned to one of three of the Boss Zombie types each time you spawn: Hunter, Smoker or Boomer. Each plays uniquely and requires teamwork and tactics to make them the best human killers they can be. Hunters spring like rabid spider monkeys onto their victims and tear away, smokers hide in the distance and use their excessively long tongue to drag stragglers into the dark and the Boomer vomits or explodes green goo all over the survivors which acts like catnip to the regular NPC zombies, causing them to swarm. Once or twice in a round, one of the people playing a zombie will be turned into the Tank, for maximum chaos and destruction. Sadly, the Witch is never playable but she is there and able to be used tactically. And let’s not forget the hordes of NPC regular old zombies.

There are very few drawbacks to this game and all of them are nitpicky. The storyline is extremely light, leaving the player to deduce exactly how and why the zombies are invading. Cut scenes, while understandably few and far between to keep the pace breakneck, offer little in the way of explanation. A handful more weapon choices would have been nice (I wanted my homemade flamethrower or even some standard grenades). And even though the characters have a far deeper grab bag of catchphrases to pull from, eventually it will get tiresome. If the game is going well though, you’ll barely notice these little flaws over the gunfire and screams for help.

All things said and done, Left 4 Dead is one of, if not THE most addictive multiplayer games on the market today. The combination of level variation and the absolute must of strategy and teamwork make this a game you’ll play over and over again. After all, wading into a sea of undead to save the world never gets old, does it?

Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Language. Available on Xbox 360 and PC.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.l4d.com

Is this thing on?

Well hello there…giant empty vacuum of Internet space. That’s right. I know no one is out there. Technically there are millions of you out there. Your just not in here out there. Or something to that effect. So what do I want to say to myself? Or as I will pretend, my dozens of adoring invisible friends.

I wanted to call this thing Gamer Mom or Nerd Mom or Non-Zombie Mom but then decided to be more vague. I am a mom, but I am not a “mom” mom. I don’t bake. I don’t sew. I certainly don’t make sock puppets with my children on a rainy day. That’s for women who had children because they decided life among adults was passe. I had children because I like sex, but I’m not too bright and lo and behold the Gods of Unwanted Pregnancy found me. Twice even! Don’t get me wrong I love my children and there will be many a witty anecdote about whatever insanity they’ve dreamed up but they aren’t my whole world. Shocking and bad parenting, yes I know.

Let me introduce you to them. First we have my son. He is an almost eight year old Star Wars encyclopedia..I’m sorry. I meant boy. He likes Star Wars, Star Wars figurines, Lego Star Wars, Star Wars posters, and Star Wars. He will talk to you about it and if you tell him you don’t care, he will talk to himself about it. It’s best to make noises that sound like you’re listening and just move on with what you were doing. Trust me, he will follow you. Oh, and Halo. Yes, my almost eight year old plays Halo. With the sound off. If you can’t hear the cussing it’s not any worse than any other game you play offline. The aliens bleed purple for God’s sake. Besides, we cuss around the kids all the time. They aren’t “bad words” they are grown-up words…that they can use as soon as they hit puberty. Shock and dismay, I know.

Then there is my daughter, the four year old princess. This was not my intent, nor my husband;s. But do you have any idea how hard it is to stockpile for a baby girl without buying her pink clothes? Impossible unless you want people to think she’s boy until she’s three. And by then, the damage was done. She loves Disney princess, Tinkerbell and My Little Pony. We had a brief run in with Bratz, but I think they dress like whores so I put a stop to it with Barbie. Because at least she has a job. What world do we live in when I think Barbie is a good role model for my child? But never fear, she also likes Star Wars, because there is a princess in it! And this princess has a gun and suffocates giant slugs and doesn’t always need to be rescued. So when I see her playing with her baby dolls, or cooking in her Disney kitchen with one of her brother’s Nerf guns within arm’s reach, I heartily approve. Save your damn self, the prince isn’t coming.

Or is he? Mine did. At least, my version of a prince. One that plays Diablo II with me until four in the morning, signs up for the same MMO’s I’m in and watches awesome action movies with the volume turned up loud. He’s also not so shabby in the sack and is quite comfortable to accompany me to the adult store. Although I suppose it’s more odd for -me- to be comfortable but I’ve never been normal. My husband’s name is Jereme and he is the shit. Though I will most likely not mention him as much since ‘blogging’ and ‘facebook’ are not things he thinks are worth time that is better spent killing zombies. Can’t say I blame him. When the zombie hordes invade, I doubt my fast typing skills will run them off.

And that leaves me. My name is Donna. Hi there invisible fans! You’ll learn plenty about me over the course of sporadically remembering this blog exists. I like video games, of the computer and console variety. I like to read particularly fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction. However, I’m not opposed to a good non-fiction read. You just have to sneak it under my nose. I like to write, duh. I also enjoy children’s cartoons though I’m not sure at this point if it’s real like or just an automatic defense so my brain doesn’t melt out of my ears. I’m sure there is more but bloody hell this post is long already. Perhaps another time.