The Walking Dead is one of the best-selling comic books around, Max Brooks’ best-selling book, “World War Z” is getting a movie treatment and “Year Zero” got rave reviews at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival; it’s as if anything zombie-related can do no wrong.
Well, not exactly. Ever since zombies became entrenched in American pop culture, there have been amazing work based on them, but a plethora of crap as well.
For every “Dawn of the Dead,” there have been a dozen B-movies that use zombie-inspired work to make a cheap buck.
Luckily, in the world of video games, zombies usually come out on top. From “Zombies Ate my Neighbors” to “Resident Evil,” the undead will always have a home on video game consoles.
Jordan Trudgett’s independent game on the 360 Live Arcade, “Endless Midnight: Zombie Swarm,” continues that legacy. Inspired by classic games such as “Loaded,” Robotron” and “Smash TV,” this simple, yet difficult and bloody shooter is more than worth the measly 80 Microsoft points.
Gameplay is straight-forward and eerily similar to the aforementioned classics in the fact that you simply run and shoot, while avoiding enemies. However, what sounds easy enough is terribly difficult as you move forward. As the game continues, the waves of the undead get larger in size. Eventually, tougher, faster zombies join the fold to spice up the action. After each level, you can trade in the cash you get for killing zombies [yeah, it’s weird, but who cares] for better weapons, health packs and firepower upgrades.
While this system isn’t the most depth-filled, this game isn’t about that. It’s about fun, old-school gameplay mechanics that challenge your hand-eye coordination in ways that many new games can’t.
Once you get to about the 25th wave of enemies, if you can keep up, you’ll reach a zen-like state. Your eyes will blur and you’ll simply react on instinct, mowing down hordes of flesh-eating ghouls with everything from a magnum to a rocket launcher.
This is where the game shines and tests the strength of every gamer that plays it.
Considering the simplistic nature of the title, the game should run without a hitch, right? Not really. At times, the basic sprites that plague the screen get sick with a case occasional slowdown. However, it never gets to the point where it’s inhibiting your ability to play the game. Instead, it’s more like a slight annoyance than a full-blown problem.
Regardless of these small hitches, “Endless Midnight: Zombie Swarm” is an enjoyable title that is perfect with friends and in between long runs of more complicated and modern titles. In the end, its simplistic gameplay is made up for with solid difficulty and trendy subject matter
It’s also less than two bucks. In today’s video game world, you can’t ask for more than what you’re getting here.