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Burn Zombie Burn! – The PS3 Attitude Review

Submitted by on Friday, 24 April 20093 Comments

Them Zombies are a-burnin' Unleashing righteous retribution on the undead is quite in vogue at the moment, so if you’ve a penchant for sending zombies back to their rightful resting place – you’re probably like a kid in a candy store these days.

From Resident Evil 5 to those pesky Nazi brain-suckers popping up in Call of Duty: World at war, the art of zombie suppression has really come into its own, resulting in a tricky conundrum for those of us who will not stand for this shocking practice of brain-thievery. With such a selection on offer, where should we apply our skills when confronted with so many tides of the walking dead?

Of course, not all zombie games are created equal but if you’re also a fan of classic horror movies like the Evil Dead series, Brain Dead (Dead Alive in the US), and the more humourous take on undead extermination – Shaun of the Dead – we think this hard decision has just been made a lot easier. Burn Zombie Burn! is a game that you should run – don’t walk – and pick up.

As Bruce, the mammoth-chinned zombie-hatin’ Daisy-lovin’ protagonist, you’re objective is to kill as many of the undead as possible before the filthy corpses ultimately overpower you and cause your inevitable death. Armed with a veritable arsenal of weaponry from baseball bats and guns all the way to the more elaborate of fire-power such as chainsaws (Evil Dead), cricket bats (Shaun of the Dead) and lawnmowers (Brain Dead), Bruce will also rely heavily of what all zombies fear most – fire.

The “Burn!” part of the game’s title introduces an interesting sense of duality to Burn Zombie Burn! as adding  flaming zombies to the equation leads to a tricky question of balance. Bruce can ignite the various types of brain-suckers who will in turn move faster (and inflict more damage if they touch Bruce) but also drop better power-ups like speed boosts and TNT upgrades. As Bruce can’t be harmed (by non-fiery zombies at least) while dispensing this raging vengeance, a common tactic is to run through droves of the dead while keeping an eye out for a powerful pick-up. An inspired strategy for sure – until you realise that you’ve now conflagrated a hundred of the shuffling pests while making your escape – the same mass of ardent zoms who are now scurrying significantly faster to your current location. And to make it more interesting, “farming” normal zombies results in them dropping vital health pick-ups, so don’t expect to simply set first to the place willy-nilly and not suffer the consequences. A level without health drops is a level you will not get very far in.

The Zombie Academy where you will hone your skills. Remember: there is no spoon.

The Zombie Academy is where you will hone your skills. Remember: there is no spoon.

As mentioned in our interview with Jim Mummery, creative director at Doublesix – and probably quite obvious from the list of weapons already mentioned – Burn Zombie Burn! really feels like a wonderful homage to the gore-fest horror genre. Though the graphical style of the game is cartoonish, this actually compliments the comical violence along with the zombies’ almost playful appearance and amusing animations. Zap the zombies with the Dance Gun for example and watch them break into a Thriller-esque dance routine. Trust us when we say that this never gets old.

We also just want to take a moment to highlight the game’s sound design. From the bone-crunching whir of a lawnmower going through putrefying flesh, to the moody and catchy score; the sound guys over at Doublesix have really complimented a great idea and beautiful presentation with fitting and infectious (no pun intended) music and effects.

Zombies + Fire=Carnage!

Zombies + Fire = Carnage!

Ostensibly, the game’s premise may appear to lack some depth (guy runs around shooting power-up-dropping-zombies to obtain a high score) but it should be noted that Doublesix have really packed the title to the brim with a multitude of modes, challenges, rewards, different zombie types and other features that transforms a novel idea into a lasting, fun and even strategic challenge. Apart from the vanilla Arcade mode that offers six different maps, each one unlocked by obtaining a Bronze medal high-score in the previous level, Doublesix have spoiled us with ten unique Challenges* and three  different game modes: “Freeplay”, “Time Trial” and “Protect Daisy”. The latter is especially tricky when you consider you’re no longer simply watching your own back for the grimy grasp of a zombie hand but also protecting a fair lady that zombies are hell bent on taking a bite out of.

These additional modes and unlockable features (Zombie Vision is particularly enjoyable) elevates Burn Zombie Burn! above the usual infinite-level shooter and makes for a truly engrossing, not to mention challenging, game.  It’s these add-ons and the pleasantly endless aspect of Burn Zombie Burn! that leads us to issue the following advance health warning: Doublesix Games may have just produced the gaming equivalent to crack cocaine. Hence, if you in anyway suffer from OCD or other forms of compulsive behaviour, this game might just send you over the edge. Prepare to rack up a healthy score before being inevitably overcome by the incessant horde of death, only to rue some bad choices made (while likely cursing the “cheating” zombie dive-bombers that appeared out of nowhere to sap your precious life-blood) and, before you know it, you’ve already re-started the level on a quest for an even higher score and revenge against your many opponents. And, ultimately, that’s the sign of a great game.

Suck that brain from their undead head and watch their comrades go cortex crazy

Suck that brain from an undead head and watch their comrades go cortex crazy

We don’t do “scored reviews” here at PS3 Attitude for the simple reason that a single digit cannot, in our modest opinion, adequately reflect the sum of a game’s virtues or its shortcomings. We see a review as having one basic purpose: to serve as a (possible) recommendation to other gamers of whether or not the game in question is worth picking up. The highest accolade we can give Burn Zombie Burn! is, rather than tell you who we believe should invest in the downloadable title, we’re going to tell you who we think should not: and that’s basically people who don’t like fun. Or zombies. Yeah, if you have an unnatural fear of the undead (even in cartoonish form) you probably should steer clear of this. There’s hundreds of them!

For everyone else, support this game and give it a chainsaw spin. We’re confident that you won’t be disappointed.

* Our favourite is Lawn of the Dead. Inspired!