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Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse review

AT A GLANCE
  • A lot of good, simple laughs
  • It's great fun to build a zombie army
  • Stubbs looks, feels and plays like Halo
  • Objectives are often poorly indicated
  • Gameplay is largely repetitive
  • Difficulty of boss fights all over the place

Undead hero Stubbs pees in the man's water supply. From his fetid bowels emerge meaty, disgusting blasts to choke his foes. There is no man, or any former man, like him for eating brains. He is the antihero's antihero, a stinky decomposing wreck who will not tug at anyone's heartstrings, but will oftentimes stop to rip someone's arm off and then beat them to death with it.

As Stubbs, players must tear down a video utopia brick by stinking brick. The game plays out in the third-person perspective, and all the missions are more or less a variation on the same-junk-different-day theme: Stubbs invades, eats brains to create more zombies, wrecks stuff and moves on. He has some weird, creepy powers, including a detachable hand to possess unwitting humans, an explosive and removable head, guts that can be hurled as grenades for destructive effect and an ass like eight miles of toxic waste-laden New Jersey highway. Yet all Stubbs' varied abilities add up to much ado about nothing; the game hammers on one note for about eight hours or so until the end credits roll.

Still, there's a lot to like about Stubbs. At one point, after tearing through a police station, the zombie encounters a diminutive police chief, and the two, for no discernable reason, enter into a dance-off. It's here developer Wideload cleverly tips its hat to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," with Stubbs trying to match the chief step-for-step in a minigame ripped directly from the children's handeld memory game Simon

It's a complete and utter non-sequitur, but it serves to break up the action and spotlight the game's ultimately awesome soundtrack, filled with hot indie bands like The Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie covering '50s hits (which is sadly underrepresented elsewhere). It also serves as foreshadowing for the game's other Bizarro World moments: the peeing in the pool challenge, the run through Redneckville in the Tractor of Death and a direct swipe of the inspirational speech from Patton.

It's got some brains, Stubbs does. Delicious ones, even. It's just that there's a lot of muck to wade through before the tastiest morsels appear.

More Info

Release date: Oct 17 2005 - PC, Xbox (US)
Available Platforms: PC, Xbox
Genre: Adventure
Published by: THQ, Aspyr
Developed by: Wideload Games
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore
PEGI Rating:
Mature: Violence

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