Road of the Dead (IT’S A FLASH GAME)

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Road of the Dead is a kind of driving game– I mean, you don’t actually turn, you just shift along the road– where the city is being overrun by zombies — how original– and you have to escape them –actually, a little more original than killing them all. It’s a game that I love but I’m not sure if it’s actually good.

History

Road of the Dead was made by Jim Kidwell under the name SickDeathFiend –is this guy sixteen? He’s been steadily making games and animations since 2003 — where he may well have been sixteen (well played internet, well played). These animations include Zombie Panic, Don’t Feed the Zombie, and Lab of the Dead so I think it’s safe to say that Kidwell enjoys zombies — there’s also a game called Segway of the Dead so Kidwell’s definitely got a sense of humor.

Road of the Dead was released on October 13th, 2010. It’s competition was The Room: The game also on Newgrounds, Loved, and Robot Unicorn Attack.

Experiences

This game spread like wildfire when my friends and I played it. It started with one of us  at our college campus’ computer club and it spread like a zombie virus itself. We were all shouting about how cool we thought it was and laughing about the crazy things that were happening to us. But it was a short game so it was only king for a day and then we moved back to playing TF2.

Gameplay

You play as an automotive mechanic using your suped up sports car to try to escape a city that’s experiencing a zombie outbreak. You never figure out why it’s happening but it’s largely irrelevant to your desire to get the fuck out. The road is littered with abandoned cars, good old fashioned oil slicks, zombies, people, and the goddam military. You don’t have to drive the whole highway in one go though, the game’s got checkpoints to make things a little easier.

You can upgrade your vehicle by spending Road Points — which I think is a hilarious name. You get road points by reaching distance milestones, hitting military people who are trying to stop you, and hitting zombies. You lose points by the bucket-full for hitting civilians. You can get civilians out of the way by honking the horn but that will attract zombies and soldiers to you. You can spend road points on body armor, a minimap that shows you where the hazards are, better tires, a fire-arm to get those pesky zombies off your dashboard — which is the most stressful thing ever, by the way.

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Boom! You got it, you can upgrade it.

Gush

The game has more robust design than I was expecting it to have. My windshield got all smashed up because it had been shot and I had rammed into some things. I could barely see through it and I figured I’d have to ram into more things in order to break it which would deal damage to the vehicle as well. I took a quick look at the controls and hit F at which point the driver smashed the windshield. It also has functioning windshield wipers for getting the blood off.

The voice acting is better than I expected it to be. It’s not great but for some people with theoretically zero dollars worth of budget I found myself reasonably immersed. I also love how incredibly cheesy some of the lines are. There’s nothing like The Driver facing down a military chopper while he shouts, “I’m not stopping. I’M NOT STOPPING!” Like the thing can actually hear him!

I love how things escalate in this game. You’re one car on the road and eventually the military throws choppers, land mines, explosive charges, spike strips, and over a hundred infantrymen to deal with you. It’s just one guy! Let him go! It’s so ridiculous and I love it.

The Kvetch

Hitting a zombie dead-on can cause it to explode in gory chunks and I’m cool with that, it’s a zombie, it’s fragile. The same thing can happen when the car hits a soldier hits dead-on and there are alternate animations it could have used, people slide over the hood or under the car all the time. I know it’s a silly game and it’s not realistic but that stretched my disbelief a little too thin.

Sometimes there are stretches of road that are so covered in vehicles that I have no idea how to pass through them without taking damage. It was like the game was saying, “You got this far without getting hit so now we’re gonna lower your health anyway.”

Why are female zombies usually dressed in their underwear or other skimpy clothing while dudes are dressed in business suits and such. I mean, it’s not just this game, it’s in nearly all zombie media. In short I think they could have done with a few more zombie models for variety’s sake.

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And every female zombie has a tube top and a torn skirt.

The Verdict

I went back to it and I didn’t play it all the way through but I had a fun hour of it. It’s not a long game but it packs a fun experience into a small package. In short, if you’re in the mood for some zombie based shenanigans then you could do worse than check this game out.

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