Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Zombie Panic: A Heartwarming Retrospect

The Half Life and Half Life 2 mod Zombie Panic is the precursor to Left 4 Dead. That's right my friend, Valve has been engineering zombie games for longer than you think.

Left 4 Dead follows the same basic format found in Zombie Panic which involves players controlling zombies or survivors. Zombie intentions: suck out the brains of survivors through their eye sockets. Survivors: be dudes with huge guns, stick together, fuck up zombies. Basic stuff, except that Zombie Panic has the arousing satisfaction of turning players into zombies after feasting on their entrails. Awesome. We all know that survivors don't deserve Christian deaths anyway.

Zombie Panic is exactly what you would expect from a zombie survival cluster fuck. Bewildered survivors must pull together to achieve common goals. I've actually found that the largest challenge is finding a competent team, but I digress. Each survivor spawns with a random model of pistol containing 10 rounds (9 for zombies 1 for the face should shit get out of hand). Survivors also carry a randomly selected melee weapon, each with a different set of attributes. Humans can also pick up weapons throughout the level, but the slightly faster humans become bogged down after carrying a certain amount of weaponry. This feature makes it easy to pinpoint the teammate who is an aspiring arms dealer when you see them running like a fat kid with asthma.

Zombie advantages are what you would expect from the living dead and ex-girlfriends: persistence, zombie vision, ability to infect the living, and steadily increasing numbers. Survivors have firearms, an obvious advantage, but they have the disadvantage of requiring teamwork (eww) in order to stay alive. Many teams in Zombie Panic end up squabbling over ammo and tactics just before becoming piles of zombie food.

Just remember: in Zombie Panic you don't die, you join the ranks of vile, decaying zombie population. That's something you will have to live with should you choose to abandon the needs of your team. Your mother would be ashamed.

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