Burn Zombie Burn

Burn Zombie Burn is a simple arcade game that is reminiscent of classic titles like Zombies Ate My Neighbors

There's a school of thought in gaming whose proponents claim that a little thing like bad controls shouldn't ruin a game's reputation.

I am not one of those people.

The PS3 game "Lair" may have been an amazing game, but the godawful control scheme made it a crappy game, and though it saddens me to do so, I considered it bad enough that pregnant women should be advised to avoid it. "Burn Zombie Burn" is almost one of those games. However instead of being painful, its flaws are merely annoying.

"BZB" is a downloadable game that launched on both Steam and PSN on Aug. 12, and I bought it on both platforms in the hope that it would be better on the PS3. It wasn't, but I'll go into that more later on in this review. "BZB" is a simple arcade game reminiscent of classic titles like "Zombies Ate My Neighbors." Rather than follow a set plot or classic narrative level design, "BZB" is an arena shooter in which players control a character within an enclosed level where they fight respawning hordes of enemies.

Players control Bruce, an odd-looking 1950s chibi cartoon character. Bruce's two main weapons are a pistol and a flaming torch. While the pistol's use is obvious, it's using the torch that gives "BZB" its most interesting gameplay mechanic. Zombies fear fire and by deploying the touch, it creates a small safe zone around Bruce. If the torch comes into contact with a zombie it sets the poor ghoul aflame. Fire can spread from zombie to zombie, and the flaming undead will pursue Bruce with increased speed and vigor. They will also do extra damage if they manage to hit Bruce.

As Bruce navigates the game's six levels, running and dodging past the growing hordes of undead, his primary weapons (shotguns, machine guns, lawnmowers and miniguns) and secondary weapons (flame throwers and go-go rays) appear randomly throughout the map. While there are only about six maps available in the game (there is an "in space" add-on available), it doesn't seem all that limited since players can choose from one of four game modes:

-- Freeplay mode requires that players merely survive and try to earn as high a score as possible.

-- Defense mode puts Bruce in charge of protecting his girlfriend Daisy, who spends the game lounging in the back seat of Bruce's convertible chewing bubble gum. Daisy has her own health bar and while normal zombies drop Bruce's health items, only burning zombies will drop Daisy's.

-- Timed mode starts players with five minutes on the clock, and offers extra time power-ups when you burn zombies.

-- Challenge mode gives players 10 scenarios. The scenario initially available (the rest have to be unlocked) is "My exploding zombie head" and provides players an infinitely reusable, dynamite filled zombie head that Bruce can kick around the map like a soccer ball. Shooting the head sets it off like a bomb, killing everything around it.

As I mentioned above, my main problem with "BZB" is the control scheme. I originally purchased "BZB" on Steam and it wasn't too bad. I loved the concept, and it provided a decent amount of content for $9.99. On the PC, Bruce is controlled with the classic WASD keys and the mouse. The keys move Bruce about the map while the mouse is used to control his aim and to attack. I tried a couple of different mice, but none really felt all that responsive, and often I'd find Bruce firing in a direction slightly off from where I was aiming.

Hoping that the PS3 version of the game had better controls (two thumbsticks on the controller) I bought "BZB" a second time. Much to my dismay, the controls on the PS3 version actually are worse. Rather than have the right thumbstick control the direction Bruce is facing, it's used to lock on to nearby zombies if the L2 bumper is being held down. While this has basically the same effect, it means that to actually aim while moving, you have to keep one of the left bumpers pressed down at all times. That being said, it's still more responsive than the PC version of the game.

The control issue annoyed the heck out of me while playing both versions of "BZB," but I am forced to admit it's the only problem I had with the game. It's a fun little zombie slaying arcade game and, much like "Castle Crashers," I can see myself spending hours on this one. My advice: Buy it. But if you have the choice, go with the version available on PSN. If you want to go with the version from Steam, you may enjoy the game more if you have a gamepad for your computer.

Available at Amazon.com:

The Saboteur

Article: Copyright © iHaveNet

Video Games: Burn Zombie Burn

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services