This week I take a look at a game that has been around for a few years and is gaining in popularity at a rapid rate. Project Zomboid is an open world survival horror game developed byThe Indie Stone. Project Zomboid is the zombie game many fans of the genre have been clamoring for. Unlike other classic zombie games like (Left 4 Dead) Project zomboid isn't a shoot everything in site, blow something up and when in doubt blow some more up type of game.
Project Zomboid asks the question, What would YOU do in a zombie apocalypse? You're not going to be some over powered zombie slayer. When you start your game you are greeted with a character creation screen. You are only allowed so many points to assign to certain skills. i.e. Cat eyes (Allowing you to see better at night).
To assure you don't create an unrealistic character PZ created a clever character creation mechanic. For every positive trait you take you can gain more points to assign to more positive ones if you assign negative traits to your character. This can be a number of things from Asthmatics (Like yours truely) to Agoraphobia, clumsy and any number of negative traits.
This first thing you will notice is the graphical choice they went for when creating PZ, they went for a 16-bit old school feel in lieu of a modern graphic option. This could be for frame rate reasons due to large numbers of zombies on screen at once (especially hordes). I think the fact that it looks different then other zombie games helps it really stand on its own.
While there are campaigns and challenges to complete I personally like to create a sandbox and just play under my own rules. PZ lets you customize just about everything in the game. From the sight and cognitive abilities of zombies to how long after the end of the world the water and electricity gets shut off. This add a ton of depth and replay ability to the game.
Project Zomboid is also fully modable and new mods are being released often, adding new towns, drivable cars, weapons, etc. Just about anything you can imagine. When I first played PZ back in the day it was a single player game but they have since added multiplayer so you and your friends can try and survive together.
Another feature that makes Project Zomboid stand out from the crowd is its crafting system. Like other games in the sandbox genre (Minecraft, Terraria, etc.) you are able to craft items to help you survive. Bandages, weapons, barricades are all needed in this post apocalyptic world. If you get a wound and it's not properly treated or bandaged it may get infected. Be sure to craft not just bandages but from the items needed to disinfect the bandage giving you a greater chance of survival. Depending on the skill set you selected at the start of the game your crafting quality will differ. For example, if you are building a wall around your safe house now that it is fully stocked, boarded up and barricaded the quality of the wall will reflect your experience building in game items.
Everything you do in game from killing zombies to crafting to farming is rewarded with XP *experience points and points in the right categories will result in you being more efficient in that area then just being a jack of all trades.
Project Zomboid Trailer -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTDqNR-sgL0
Graphics : 7 (I found the art style in Project Zomboid to be just right for this kind of game. It doesn't try to be more then it is and the people who designed it knew that graphics take a backseat to the gamers playing this style of game.)
Sound : 5 (While the music isn't terrible it's nothing to write home about. It does however help to add tension when it's needed and there is nothing scarier then being in a buidling and hearing banging, moaning and clawing at the windows and doors while you're in the middle of looting the place, The sound effects were used to perfection.)
Gameplay : 8 (This is the closest you will get to actually living out your zombie apocalypse fantasies in a realistic manor. If you have played other games similar in the style to this game like the above mentioned games you will know what to expect. With a vast difference in plot and content that seperates the games from one another. Project Zomboid is a godsend for zombie fans.)
Controls : 8 (PZ can be played via Keyboard and mouse but also has the abillity to play with a Xbox 360 controller (On PC only) if you wish. In addition to online multiplayer there is also 4 player local co-op. There is a bit of a learning curve due to how many options you are presented with and how many things you can actually do and craft in this huge world. After a few hours and playthroughs you will become familiar with the controls well enough to just dive right in for another go.)
Fun : 9 (Project Zomboid may not be the right game for everyone but for people like me who years ago can remember playing other games in the genre and shooting and blasting everything in site and wishing there was just a game where you could board up a farmhouse and stockpile food, weapons and supplies. PZ is a real joy to play and even when you die you do so with a smile on your face. The fact the game is ever evolving only helps add more fun to the equation as they continue to fix bugs and add things the players really want in the game.)
Difficulty : 7 (Surviving isn't the easiest task, you must manage your hunger, thirst, injuries, sleep and everything else you do daily in real life in the game. All while keeping a location as a safe house, scavaging, farming, and staying alive any way possible. As I mentioned the controls are a bit overwelming at first but give it an hour or so and you'll get it.)
Project Zomboid is available through GOG -https://www.gog.com/game/project_zomboid
& Steam -http://store.steampowered.com/app/108600/
When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth. - Peter (Dawn of the Dead)
Until Next Time Stay ~ Five by Five
Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh or Phantasmagoria II: Fatal Obsessions as it was known in parts of Europe is the indirect sequel to Sierra's 1995 runaway hit Phantasmagoria. While not featuring any of the original cast or a continuation of the plot from the first game it still manages to bring a really creepy atmosphere to the table. While it may not fully measure up to the original it still has some appeal.
You play asCurtis Craig, a twenty-something year old man with a troubled past.
In his youth Curtis was abused by his mother who suffered from mental illness. This torment went on for years until her untimely death via suicide. One year before we take control of Curtis, he was confined to a mental hospital where he was given Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Now discharged and "cured" by his doctors Curtis goes about a normal daily routine, going to work at the same office his father worked at (Wyntech) and spending time with his friend Trevor and his girlfriend Joss (Jocilyn).
Everything is roses and sunshine until one day when events start to transpire that make Curtis question his own sanity. Murders begin to occur at his work and with the killer at large the Police begin to suspect Curtis due to his previous mental health issues. While all this is going on he begins to uncover a possible decades old conspiracy involving his father that stretches to the very top of Wyntech Industries.
While the original game was shot with live actors and made use of fully computer generated backgrounds The sequel was filmed entirely on location in and around Seattle, with the exception of the final scene of the game in which a blue screen was used. If you have played other FMV (Full-Motion-Video) Games of the era like The X-files game then you will be right at home.
The gameplay is more simplistic then the original; that's not to say you wont get stumped from time to time, but it's more of an interactive movie this time around instead of a traditional Adventure game with FMV elements. Still the creepiness and gore is a lot of fun for what it is.
Sierra was planning a third installment and had even asked Roberta Williams to return as its lead designer, however after the second game bombed financially and with the decline of both the point and click and FMV style games, it was cancelled.
Graphics : N/A (The game is entirely full motion video and has those annoying scan lines but there is a fan made patch that will remove them so you can watch with some clarity.)
Sound : 7 (The soundtrack and use of effects in Puzzle of Flesh were done fairly decently. It's not a soundtrack that will get stuck in your head but it did its job, The soundtrack was composed by Gary Spinrad whose work you may have heard if you have played some of the Call of Duty games.)
Gameplay : 6 (Puzzle of Flesh plays like most FMV games of its time. Being a point and click Adventure game you will come into possession of many items that you will need to use along your way to solve various puzzles and advance the storyline.)
Controls : 7 1/2 (The game is played completely with a mouse with the exception of typing in the name of your saved game. The only other complaint I have with the controls is with the very last puzzle in the game. When you begin a puzzle you get a zoomed in view of the item and if you click even a little outside the box you're returned to a zoomed out view. In the final puzzle they did place the exit spot a little too close to one of the devices you need to click on to complete the puzzle. This is only a minor irritant as it isn't game breaking or anything just a real annoyance.)
Fun : 8 (I had a blast playing Phantasmagoria 2, I knew going into it that it wasn't going to be like the original and I was ok with that. I'm not saying it's a perfect game I'm just saying it can be fun if you don't expect the amount of depth the first game had. It caused a lot of controversy in its day for being "gory" as did the first game for its demonic rape scene. For young gamers today who have read my review of the original game last week I recommend you check out the second one only if you're really into adventure games. Casual gamers might be turned off by full motion video concept and the way the game has aged. I do find it culturally relevant and important to check out.)
Difficulty : 7 (The puzzles for the most part are pretty easy, there are a few exceptions though. Most of the time however you will get stuck, not due to a puzzle but because you forgot to do something like check your email or visit a room you couldn't find. The game isn't really direct most of the time with what you have to do, so be sure to click on everything you can and you should find your way sooner or later.)
Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh
can be purchased through Steam here -http://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/501970/
If you'd like to own a hardcopy you can purchased from Amazon. Click on the cover art.
Until Next Time Stay ~ Five by Five
Manos The Hands Of Fate -Directors Cut- was developed and published by British game studio FreakZone Games the same studio that also delivered on the massively popular Angry Video Game Nerd game series.
Originally released on IOS and then later ported to Android and PC. The
Director's Cut features some minor tweaks and additions to the original game.
The player takes control of Michael through 10 levels of retro inspired 8-bit goodness. You start out with a pistol as your default weapon but are able to find a more powerful arsenal as you playthrough the game. In true old school style however, the weapons you gain will only be with you until you get hit once then back to your trusty pistol.
Manos can be a challenging game but it's never unfair if you have the skill. They have placed 1ups at key locations. All the classic 8-bit gaming tropes have been brought out in this game including the scrolling screen of death, always keep moving because if it catches you it will cost a life.
You have infinite continues but only a handful of lives to start out with, luckily there are checkpoints making the game a tad easier. Once you finish the game you unlock "Torgo Mode" and can now playthrough the game as the classic B-movie character himself.
The game also features beautifully rendered 8-bit cut-scenes that help move the plot along.
I know most of you have most likely seen Manos The Hands Of Fate movie but if you haven't don't fret, no knowledge of the film is needed to enjoy the game!
Graphics : 7 (The graphics in the game look very authentic to the era in which it's trying to pay homage, very nice work!)
Sound : 8 (The soundtrack perfectly captures that bad movie meets old school Nintendo feel.)
Gameplay : 9 (Manos The Hands of Fate is a platformer so it can be challenging but very rewarding when you finish it. If you grew up in the 80's or just enjoy retro gaming you should check this one out and with it's price being as low as it is you have no excuse.)
Controls : 8 (Depending on which version you get you will have several options. If you get the original Manos on IOS it's self explanatory but if you go for the Director's Cut you have the option of playing with either a keyboard or an Xbox 360 controller. I played with a controller and while the movement can be a little too smooth it sometimes causes you to over guess your movements but overall it worked very nicely.)
Fun : 9 (The biggest thing this game has going for it is just how much fun it was. It can be finshed in little under an hour but it will be an hour well spent. I seriously had a smile on my face the entire time.)
Difficulty : 7 (As I mentioned earlier the game can be challenging due to misjudging your jumps, cheap monsters killing you by not sticking to a pattern or any number of ways you can die in this game. They do however place checkpoints and 1ups in key locations so you at least have a fighting chance and that's more then you would have had in the 1980's.)
Manos The Hands Of Fate Directors Cut can be purchased through Steam at -http://store.steampowered.com/app/350780/
Until Next Time Stay ~ Five by Five
Creature Feature © D. Dyszel 201
Creature Feature is sponsored
Dick Dyszel - Voice Actor