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Stubbs the Zombie review

Discover what the after-life is really like

The shoes of a zombie aren't the most advisable for a game to occupy, just as shambolic, aimless and repetitive aren't words you'd expect to find wedged between inverted commas and written large on the back of a box.

Indeed, even Aspyr itself has gone with the more market-friendly "Built with the Halo engine" instead.

Ultimately, however, Stubbs the Zombie is a strategically fulfilling day in the after-life of a fundamentally mindless man. In sticking resolutely to that theme, it readily shoots itself in the foot with cyclical action and missions with meagre flesh on their bones.

But it shuffles on regardless, serving up some gut-busting comic moments en route and revelling in a now-famous pattern of 30-second thrills.

Reward in Stubbs is watching your demented toxic arsenal confound and overcome adversaries who have no excuse for losing.

Introduced as little more than a clumsy swipe and vampiric chomp, your attacks possess a viral after-effect that embellishes the game's theme while turning the run-and-gun tactics of Halo upside down.

This is a game in which you destroy in order to create, create in order to escalate, and repeat until the balance of power tips in your favour.

With such a template, Wideload has placed a welcome knee in the groin of the status quo, but by taking its subject too lightly it's also failed to turn an adventurous prototype into a durable production.

Entire set-pieces can be easily circumnavigated, one boss battle broke during our first play through, and the game's desire for more structured closure leads to a succession of drab corridors and encounters that somewhat dampens its appeal.

The story is kept brief, out of necessity, we dare suggest, and it's a further shame to find that the game's higher difficulty settings offer little beyond the norm. While the provision of two-player co-op is a considerate extra, this too is patently superficial.

The comic hit rate, however, is remarkable. Little emerges from its characters' mouths that doesn't at least raise a smirk, and the sheer number of aural and visual gags is enough to postpone the inevitable rot and keep it smelling fresh.

More Info

GenreAdventure
DescriptionAn amusing but repetitive adventure starring a Zombie and Halo's gameplay.
PlatformPC, Xbox
US censor ratingMature
UK censor ratingMature
Release date17 October 2005 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)