Zombie Apocalypse Preview: Top Down Left 4 Dead

Haven't we had enough of zombie games already? No, and really, I can't seem a time when we will.

Konami's top-down zombie killer blends undead flesh with Robotron to produce something uniquely fun, but is it too derivative?

What Is It?
Zombie Apocalypse drops you into a world where infected undead outnumber humans in a top-down, frenetic shooter. Up to four players can play cooperatively through the game's 55 days.

What We Saw
I played through a couple of stages of the game with one other player.

How Far Along Is It?
Set for a release on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live this summer, the build I played was just past Alpha.

What Needs Improvement?
No Drop In: How can you make a cooperative top-down arcade game and not allow people to drop-in and drop-out. You can't even add players between stages without completely exiting from gameplay. It's insane and really needs to be fixed.

Familiar Characters: With so many characters to choose from why would the developers decide to go with four that will look so very familiar to fans of Left 4 Dead? I suppose it could be a deliberate homage to the popular zombie-killer, but it doesn't come off that way. Not really.

What Should Stay The Same?
Zombie Robotron 2084: The game play is essentially Robotron or Smash TV, but with zombies. You control movement with one thumbstick and shooting direction with the other. Power-ups and better weapons drop in as you fight to survive the onslaught of dead flesh. This is proof that adding zombies to anything makes it better.

Coop: The only way to play a game like this is with friends, and you can both online and off, blasting your way through the game with up to four people.

Weapon Selection: There's a great assortment of weapons, a dozen or so in total. Each, from chainsaws to shotguns to flamethrowers, feels different and has varying effects on the ambling enemies.

Voice Work: Maybe over time it will get old, but I loved hearing the bizarre and often humorous catch phrases shouted out by the four players, like hearing one character sing a few lines from a Michael Jackson song and bust out a little dance move.

Environments: Another nice touch is the ability to use the background to take out zombies by blowing stuff up, setting it on fire or crushing waves of the undead.

Final Thoughts
I loved playing Zombie Apocalypse, in fact I didn't want to stop. If the developers get around to adding the much needed drop-in, drop-out ability this will be a sure fire hit. Even if they don't, the game will likely do very well, but just annoy a lot of people.