Zombies are everywhere. No, I am being super cereal right now. Think about it, you have great zombie video games in Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, Dead Island and Dead Rising. You have excellent comics involving zombies like The Walking Dead, which is also a killer TV show, in case you didn’t know. Even in real life we’re dealing with the undead. I am sure we have all heard about the “Bath-salt Zombies”. Who knows what it is that has drawn our society to this latest craze.
First it was vampires, and now it is the joy we get from peppering a zombie torso with a shotgun and watching its innards hit the earth, or perhaps the giddiness of bashing in a zombie skull with a table leg. Whatever it is, zombies are here to stay, and the only thing that was missing from all this zombie love was a way to kill them with a vehicle. Not just any vehicle, though. One with guns, flamethrowers, and other nasty weapons… yea just a man, his ride, and his napalm. This is Zombie Driver HD.
Zombie Driver HD is a port of the original Zombie Driver game that debuted on the PC back in 2009. This version adds improved visuals, as well as various game modes to quench your vehicular bloodlust. First and foremost, if you are looking for an epic story about an outbreak, look somewhere else. This is meant to be a fun, arcade kill-fest. The premise is that you are a man with a taxi, whom the mayor to help tasks get rid of the zombies.
I had great fun careening down city streets at breakneck speeds slamming into waves of the undead. Nothing beats power sliding into a whole herd of zombies and watching the red tire marks. The game is played in a top down perspective much like Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2. In fact, it controls a lot like those games. The only thing missing is the ability to get out of your car. The camera angle makes it pretty easy to see what type of situation you are about to drive head on into. Because you are driving around a city, there are times where the larger buildings might hide an exploding zombie, or some other nasty surprise that may catch you off guard.
Missions in the game are all pretty standard and nothing really outstanding. You will be tasked with protecting groups of people while they escape, rescuing survivors or even getting behind the wheel of a tank. The missions are varied and pretty fun to play. The completion of secondary tasks, like clearing out nests of dead guys, provide rewards like unlockable vehicles and weapon upgrades, so there’s always motivation for reaching greater levels of mastery. The game offers varied city environments, but does not have a full free roam mode. I would encourage you to explore each level, as you will find money, weapons and other things to bolster your reserves.
Weapons include the usual suspects of machine guns, rockets, flamethrowers and a rail gun, which is pretty cool. You can only have one weapon at a time, so you will more than likely find your favorite pretty quickly and stick to it. Zombie Driver offers various types of zombies for you to mow down during your time in its outbreak-laden city. Alas, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before: exploding fat guys, zombie dogs and the always-reliable walkers. While none of these can really stand up to your suped up vehicle of choice, you will find that later in the game it is easy to get overwhelmed by zombies if you stop moving long enough.
Another part of the game is its combo system, which adds multipliers as you rack up the zombie kills. This gets you extra cash to upgrade your car and weapons and as long as you kill a zombie every few seconds or so to prolong the streak, you will end up with a pretty impressive amount of cash. This really comes into play during the Slaughter mode, which is the mandatory survival mode found in zombie games. You’ll have to survive increasingly difficult waves to propel yourself to the top of the leaderboards. The other game type is the Tournament mode, which adds racing game types that include racing, elimination and endurance. The endurance mode pits you against the clock with a bomb strapped to your car. It’s a nice distraction, but unless you really enjoy this type of experience, you probably won’t mess with it but a few times.
I only have a few issues with Zombie Driver HD, and the menu system is one of them. It can be slightly confusing at times, but I think this is because it was pulled from the PC version and just made to fit the consoles. The other thing is that the game suffers from some pretty bad screen tearing, but it’s just one of those things that the more you play the less you will notice it. Also, when there was a big group of zombies on screen, I noticed a bit of slowdown. It won’t kill the game, but it’s there. I can’t help but think that if the game had been put through its paces for a while longer, these issues might not have been present. There is a great deal of fun to be had in Zombie Driver HD, despite these issues.
All in all, Zombie Driver HD is not a bad game. There is sadly no multiplayer to speak of, which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Being able to tear up the streets with a friend would have added to the enjoyment. The game does offer enough content for a good time, and the improved HD visuals make the on-screen carnage really pop. If you are a fan of car combat games and killing mindless zombies, I suggest checking this one out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.