O-NEG 13: Road of the Dead
Perhaps I haven’t written enough of these.
As some of you know, I am a pretty big gamer over at Kongregate.
A recent (by recent, I mean April 7th recent, not April 26th recent) challenge over there was for Road of the Dead.
Previously, I had played the game – without sound.
That was a big mistake.
So was walking in front of my car
The story is not a story of you, the protagonist, escaping from a hassle of zombies.
It is a story of the military that tries to stop you from leaving.
You see, (without sound, you wouldn’t even realize this), the main character has apparently tuned his radio to the military channel, and through every level, you hear the commands of the military heads and soldiers as they attempt to repel the threat – of you, and the zombies.
The gameplay itself is quite interesting too – instead of being a top-down driving game, it’s a front-seat driving game – you see everything from the driver’s eyes – a sight that is not too appealing at times.
Your goal is to drive as far as possible without your car breaking down; every five kilometres, you reach a checkpoint where you can continue if you die.
You can upgrade your car so that it survives more spike strips, bullets, crashes, and of course – zombie attacks. A variety of special encounters, from hidden soldiers, super zombies, road bombs, air strikes, helicopters, and of course, a nuclear bomb, threatens to displace your vehicle before it reaches the checkpoint.
Of course, in realism (checkpoints?! Helicopters that die after crashing into signs? Carpet bombings on one vehicle?), it is lacking – but that does not matter.
There are a few things that would irk a perfectionist – for one, the signs are unchanging. That means I’m driving around in circles around the Evans City Cemetery, the Monroeville Mall, and the Fiddler’s Grove. Or, I’m not – because, after all, if Fiddler’s Grove is in the next five exits, and there aren’t any exits…
The helicopter doesn’t actually die – it’s the same helicopter that keeps on getting repaired. The same helicopter! You’d expect the pilot to learn not to swerve into signs, you know?
The lack of friendly fire, e.g. soldier -> civilian, zombie -> civilian, bombs -> zombie, is a bit stupid too; it’s basically one man against the world.
Yet, not really – the soldiers are all extremely loyal and patriotic, sacrificing their own lives to stymie the zombie invasion. And (because there’s no friendly fire) they never shoot civilians, either! Unlike you.
Nevertheless, they sometimes don’t follow orders – when the General told them to let the protagonist through, they shot the protagonist anyways. Even so, the voice acting and music of this game was brilliant; you could tell that some of the troops were on the verge of tears – I’m sure having zombies eat your mother would be a very traumatic experience.
It’s a great plot-based game, because you don’t know who’s morally right – you, or the soldiers. It also makes sense for them to kill you; after all, you can just put up some big trucks and stop zombies from going out, but a speeding vehicle? You could spread the infection to other cities. Meaning, of course, all of the soldiers will have to die too – that’s how self-sacrificing they are.
In conclusion: this was an excellent game. The learning curve is just right – the later levels really are treacherous, yet possible.
A final note: those moving spikes? That’s a feature (the soldiers pull the spikes to the center as soon as you arrive), not a bug. I always thought it was a bug! And then I heard the sound.
Play this with music on.