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Burn Zombie Burn!
Score: 78%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: DoubleSix Games
Developer: DoubleSix Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:
Burn Zombie Burn! is an interesting example of a simple gameplay concept that leads to a fairly complex game, and when compared to a lot of PSN games, Burn Zombie Burn! has a lot of potential to stand out amongst the noise.

Part of the game's distinctness is it's feel. Instead of going for ultra-realistic, the graphics take on a characticture feel as everything looks exaggerated and stereotypical. You play as Bruce, a 50's greaser who finds himself in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse. From Bruce's slicked-back black hair, to his leather jacket and pistol, you can easily picture our hero being a member of the T-Birds and dating a Pink Lady, especially since his girlfriend, Daisy, sits in a car that would fit nicely in the musical Grease.

The zombies are also interesting to look at, and were made to be a bit of comedic relief as well. The standard guys aren't all that interesting to look at, but as the screen fills up, you will encounter baddies that will charge at you (they have football helmets on), dance towards you (in pink tutus and leotards) or approach you and blow themselves up (they have helmets with flashing lights on their heads). There's quite a variety of zombie classes, and while the creatures within the class all look the same, they are all still enjoyable to see... when you aren't running away from them, of course.

Sound in Burn Zombie Burn! is amusing and gets the job done, but isn't really necessary. Bruce doesn't really talk all that much, and the zombies pretty much just groan in unison. Outside of that, there are the sound effects of the different weapons and the background music. While the various guns tend to sound the same, the music seems to really work well with the game since it tends to get the heart racing and maintains the high tension necessary with any game that has you facing off against unknown numbers of reanimated corpses.

Burn Zombie Burn! has a fairly simple core game mechanic; run around, survive and kill as many zombies as possible to increase your score. But given this basic premise, the game does quite a lot. For instance, as the title suggests, you can light zombies on fire. Killing a flaming-zombie will add to your score multiplier so your score will increase faster. The problem is, once they are lit up, they are faster and more determined to get to you, so you will want to kill them quickly. To make matters more interesting, if a burning zombie touches another zombie, it goes up in flames. So the game quickly becomes a balancing act of keeping a good number of creeps on fire so you can increase your score, but not getting so overwhelmed by them that you die too quickly.

As each level progresses and wave after wave of various zombies come from the ground, weapons will appear on the arena. These are everything from your standard zombie-whacking baseball bat or chainsaw, to chain-guns, shotguns or guns that cause the monsters to start dancing. So the game ends up providing quite a variety of ways to clear the hordes of enemies in the area. But the biggest and most impressive weapon in your arsenal is TNT. These will occasionally be dropped and throwing a stick of dynamite into a dense area will net you quite a lot of points. Occasionally, you will even get to pick up upgrades to the TNT that will add proximity or remote-detonating options to these sticks to make your blast even more effective.

That's pretty much all this top-down shooter is, and from this basic setup, the game has three or four different types of play. In the game's six levels, there are three different modes. One is simple Free Play. Here, you last as long as possible getting as high a score as possible. Timed Mode sees how long you can last in a level with a clock that keeps ticking down (though you can pick up clocks to add some time), and Defend Daisy has your girl sitting in your hot rod while zombies attack it. Your goal here is to kill them and keep her health up as long as possible. As you can see, these modes don't really stray that far from the core theme. The final mode of note is Challenges. These aren't really all that different from the above, but they offer slightly different situations to try and survive.

Burn Zombie Burn! is a tough little game. It's just you against an endless swarm of zombies. Most move slow, but some will charge you, some are huge, some will blow up in your face, and when you are stuck in a corner looking at a screen of every kind of zombie the game can throw at you, then you really feel the pressure. That isn't to say the game is too tough to enjoy. On the contrary, during those times I found the thrill of trying to stay alive just just a little longer to be quite fun. While the game doesn't have that many levels, it will take you quite a while to exhaust all of the gameplay modes because of its difficulty.

Game Mechanics:
Burn Zombie Burn! is a tough game to get your fingers used to, and without going through the game's tutorial, you will have a hard time figuring out the most basic moves. Moving around is simple enough with the Left Analog Stick and using your weapon (be it bat, or gun, or lawnmower) involves tapping the (X) or (R1) buttons. In order to pull out your torch and set some zombies aflame, you hold down (R2) and walk near one of the reanimated, though some weapons actually temporarily replace your torch (like the Dance Gun). When holding down the (R2) in these cases, the alternate weapon will appear and, in the case of the Dance Gun, cause the swarm in its area of effect to start line-dancing (not a pretty sight). But at least that gives you time to mow them down (sometimes literally). The next button you will probably find yourself holding down a lot is the Strafe, (L2). I found a good way to stay alive when faced with an unmanageable horde of brain-eaters was to grab the chain-gun or machine-gun, put my back to the wall and strafe up and down it, holding down the fire button. While this won't net you a lot of points (unless they are already on fire), it will help to thin the herd a bit and keep you alive just a little longer.

Burn Zombie Burn! is fun and while smaller than most games, it is a PSN title and fits nicely into the system's casual market. It might have been nice to have a little more variety between the different levels, but there is enough in the Single player option to keep you entertained for a while. While definitely not for everyone (and definitely not for those who lack patience), it is worth checking out.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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