Much like the TV show it is based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am is a game that most people are not likely to understand. It is one part racing game, one part golfing game, and one part fighting game. If that makes any sense then you are likely a fan of the show, which in turn means you will appreciate the pure arbitrariness that Midway’s latest delivers. This also means that this is quite possibly the most accurate representation of a licensed game ever created. While certainly not designed for everyone ATHF: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am should satisfy fans of the show but very few others.
The synopsis behind Zombie Ninja Pro-Am is simple. Frylock is accepted to a local golf course and Master Shake is furious. This creates a scenario not unlike the show itself where Shake sets out to prove his superior golf skills all the while hilarity ensues. The humor found in Aqua Teen Hunger Force is purely subjective and while I consider myself a huge fan, not everyone appreciates it. The same will be said about this game; you will either appreciate it for appealing to its fans or despise it because of its stupidity. Unfortunately there really is no middle ground here as the gameplay itself is shallow and monotonous providing more of a catalyst to the whimsical humor.
There are three basic game types found in Zombie Ninja Pro-Am and when I say basic I actually mean subpar. As the name implies the first type is golfing. Each level you are presented with a course littered with Aqua Teen paraphernalia from the show including but not limited to Carl’s crabs, the trees from Shake’s tree court trial, various spaceship debris, and of course the Wisdom Cube. The golf mechanics are actually not that bad, albeit a bit on the one-dimensional side and the courses are creative enough utilizing gags from the show as obstacles.
The second game type involves fighting off herds of various characters from the show in between strokes on the course. Every time you send your golf ball towards the hole you have to chase it down. During this you will encounter hordes of enemies just asking for a can of whoop ass. Giant brownie monsters, Carl’s crabs, walking talking trees, and even the Mooninites will attempt to thwart your plans to reach the green. The combat mechanics are, to put it mildly, broken. Rarely can you tell if you are actually connecting with an enemy and forget about power-ups and specials moves. Combat is an exercise in frustration and honestly should be avoided at all costs. In the end all it really boils down to is wailing away on the attack button and hoping for the best. Granted it is awesome to see cameos from the show’s history, but having to endure this terrible combat siphons any enjoyment out of it quickly.
The final stop on this gameplay train is a series of races against everyone’s favorite aliens The Plutonians. As you would imagine these take place in golf carts; golf carts with missile launchers that is. This section of the game comes across as more of a mini-game than anything else and actually does a nice job of breaking up the action. Just like everything else in the game the racing mechanic is simply mediocre at best. What is frustrating though is that no matter how good you seem to race the Plutonians have an uncanny knack for catching up to you at the last possible second. This can be extremely frustrating at times as having to repeat this segment over and over drains the fun out of an otherwise nice diversion.
If there is one thing that does stand out here it’s the presentation and extra features. While the visuals are not exactly ideal the audio is an entirely different monster. All of the actors from the show are reprising their roles here including the likes of MC Chris and Andy Merrill of Brak fame. This layer of authenticity is what keeps this game from being another lost cause simply because the writing and humor is what drives the show, so why not the game as well. The other thing that makes this worthwhile is the extras. In addition to four complete episodes on the disc (one of which was never aired) you have tons of clips and behind the scenes features that fans of the show will absolutely love. While it may seem pricey for all of this, if you combine all of the elements, good and bad you have a game that is certainly true to the Aqua Teen namesake.
Some will argue that a bad game is simply a bad game, but Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am is exactly what you would expect from the creators of the show. From the outside it seems as if they set out to purposely make a bad game at the expense of a joke, and for the most part they succeeded. The problem is not everyone is going to find it funny, which is what will ultimately make or break the game at retail. If you are a fan of the show, and I mean a very large fan, then you owe it to yourself to check out this amazingly funny diversion. If you have always found the show to be a ridiculous waste of time then the joke is on you already for reading this entire review. It must be obvious day at camp stupid-Aqua Teen Hunger Force, number one in the hood G!