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Zombie Revenge
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Sega
Publisher:  Sega
Features:  VGA Compatible
Ratings:  Rating Pending
Memory Req.:  
There are games that I find enjoyable, and yet cannot for the life of me imagine owning. I've only recently begun to make this distinction (I'm sure many of you are way ahead of me in this department), but when faced with all the novelty and depth which the last year of console gaming has brought us, most coin-op to console conversions seem like decidedly minor thrills (Soul Calibur excluded, of course). Where is the breadth of vision of, say, a Zelda 64? The scope of a Final Fantasy? The ingenuity and adrenaline of Driver? And don't even get me started on the new Dreamcast sports titles...

Let me say this. About twenty minutes into Zombie Revenge, my friend was literally bored to tears, while I, in a haze of rhythmic button tapping, had somehow forgotten I was even playing, my mind wandering off to other greener pastures. That was one evening before we resolved to play through the entire game, a night which my friend now ranks as one of the three worst nights of his life. I know this guy, and he's had some pretty bad nights from which to choose. Now, don't get the wrong idea, there is some fun to be had here. The moment you run a zombie through with an enormous drill probably makes the game worth a rental, and there are some fun touches, such as the ability to keep shooting as you sail to the ground from a zombie punch. But in the final reel, it's a mindlessly repetitive game that doesn't stray much from, say, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the gameplay department.

It also happens to be one of the most shamelessly derivative titles I've ever seen (not always a bad thing, but it's to no one's credit in this instance), playing like an uneasy mix of Dynamite Cop (though about ten times longer), Resident Evil, and House of the Dead (from which it manages to lift an entire stage). The designers also seem to have watched the Alien movies a few too many times, as they somehow manage to include face-huggers, the hybrid from the end of Resurrection, and the alien hive sequence from Aliens into their semblance of a storyline. Play it, you can't miss 'em. And as for that story, get ready for some of the worst cut-scenes you'll ever have the displeasure of witnessing. But story doesn't matter here (convince yourself of that before you play)... what they've constructed allows for one non-stop endless zombie massacre. Like someone played Resident Evil and said to themselves, "You know what? This game would be great if you cut out all the suspense, all the atmosphere, and just brought on the zombies!" And bring on the zombies they did. There are tons of zombies, fat ones, thin ones, hick zombies, goofy little monkey zombies (which I was particularly fond of), flying zombies, electro-zombies, impaled zombies... and so forth. If Resident Evil were a porno, this would be a porno with all the money shots edited together. But there's something to be said for the pool boy, no?

The graphics are crisp, and the game runs at a silky-smooth 60fps, though I can't say it's a graphical marvel. The action usually takes place from a distance, and just when you get to a setting you can really sink your teeth into, the camera pulls away to a wide shot. It makes it much less engrossing than, say, House of the Dead 2, if I can indulge in some cross-genre comparisons for a moment. Control is what you've come to expect, though running is a bit of a drag (you have to move the control stick before pressing the X button to run, and the timing is a bit awkward), and I quickly became weary of the incessant tap-tap-tap that some of the enemies require. Some of the enemies' AI is so bad, you can literally tap away in 4/4 time and kill them before they even get a chance to display their power! There are some fun boards, however, in particular a fight atop a moving train (watch out for the tunnel markers, they'll take your head off), and... hm... well, the train is fun.

If you're a fan of this genre, it IS a perfect arcade port, though the embellishments are few for the console. In other words, you may just like it. And almost all the dialogue is in English, so importability is high. So if you're part of the public that supports the current zombie craze in video games, then by all means rent it when it hits our shores. It by far surpasses its closest cousin, Dynamite Cop, in the category of Dreamcast beat-em-ups. But I just don't see why I should recommend owning this game. There are richer zombie experiences awaiting you. Code: Veronica, anyone?

Seth Berkowitz

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