Zombie Driver

Despite its brevity, Zombie Driver is a worthwhile experience that will surely entertain those who miss the days of Carmageddon.

By Degtyarev, Posted 12 Feb 2011

Shakespeare might have wondered what's in a name, but as far as gaming goes, the answer is obvious: a lot. Whether it's a familiar franchise name or the interesting title of a new IP, a good name can make a game seem more interesting. Polish indie developer Exor Studios probably did not realise this when they came up with the name for their 2009 combat racer Zombie Driver. Whether or not they intentionally came up with this incredibly cheesy name, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have gotten this game if it wasn't included in the Indie Fright Pack I bought during the Steam holiday sales. But in the end, I'm glad that I did.

The concept of Zombie Driver is as straightforward as its name suggests: The city has been infected by a virus that causes the inhabitants to turn into zombies, and the military relies on you and your driving skills to execute several missions for them. The vast majority of these missions consists of picking up non-infected survivors from various locations in town and driving them back to the safety of the military base. While that idea may not sound terribly entertaining in itself, its solid execution makes for a campaign that is a real blast to play through from start to finish.

Part of what makes this game so addicting is its rewarding arcade-style gameplay. Zombie Driver utilises a top-down view that offers a good perspective of the action around you. As you make your way towards each objective, you'll encounter near limitless hordes of zombies trying to stop you in your tracks. Naturally, these can be ran over, although hitting a zombie will slow your car down a bit. This means that if you take on too big a group of zombies, odds are your car will get stuck in the bloodthirsty crowd, putting you at the risk of being eaten alive.

Zombie Driver Review

Fortunately, completing a mission or side objective will earn you cash, which you can use to buy upgrades and even unlock new cars with. There's about 10 vehicles to choose from, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. The bus, for example, is excellent for smashing through overly crowded streets and transporting large groups of survivors, while the race car is more suited for timed objectives. While the stats of each ride can be boosted inbetween missions, you'll still need to make good decisions in which vehicle you select if you are to complete each objective successfully.

In addition to stat upgrades, it's also possible to buy and upgrade weapons you can install on your vehicle. These range from flamethrowers and mounted machine guns to rail guns and nitro boosts. A proper use of the available arsenal is essential if you want to build up good, zombie-killing combos, which in turn generate money.

Meanwhile, Zombie Driver isn't too shabby in terms of production. As the indie origins of this game suggest, its graphics aren't top notch, but they get their job done. And that job is offering a clear view of the action that is never hindered by unclear objectives stemming from graphical imperfections. The sound is equally competent: The voice acting and sound effects are mostly over the top, but never feel out of place in the zany arcade design of the game.

Zombie Driver Review

All the abovementioned features make for a hectic and overly enjoyable single player campaign that has very little weak moments. The repetitiveness of some missions may generate some annoyance after a while, but the game never really gets to a point where it becomes boring to play. Add to that the fluid, responsive controls (gamepad recommended), and you have a true winner.

The campaign's only real fault is that it is criminally short: It took me no more than 3 hours to play through Zombie Driver's entire story mode, even with completing all of the secondary missions. Due to the arcadey nature of the gameplay, I can imagine feeling the urge to play through the story mode again to get better scores, but the flaw here is that there's no mission select, so there's no option but to start all over again.Luckily, there are still 2 other game modes you can resort to: Slaughter mode and Blood Race. Slaughter mode puts you on a small map with infinite waves of zombies for you to kill, while Blood Race consists of several cup tournaments, which, in their turn, consist of various types of races.

The most appealing of these is undoubtedly the normal race, in which you take on 5 other (computer-controlled) racers in a bloody speed rush towards the finish. During the race, you can find the weapons from the story mode scattered around the track, which you can use to destroy your opponents and kill off any zombies that may be blocking your path. Combined with the destructible enviroments and numerous shortcuts, this makes for action-packed races that evoke comparisons to Carmageddon, Ignition and FlatOut.

Zombie Driver Review

Unfortunately, the online functionality of this game is limited to the leaderboards: Competing against human opponents in the races themselves is not yet possible. As a result, the game feels a bit on the short side, even with the variety in modes. All the content this game has to offer can easily be experienced within 5 hours, and even with the added replay value, it's unlikely you'll get more than 10 hours of gameplay out of Zombie Driver.

However, considering the modest price tag (€9), as well as the fact that all of those hours will be a blast, it's not a bad deal at all. It's also worth noting that the people of Exor Studios are constantly updating the game, even going as far as adding new game modes. All of this makes Zombie Driver a worthwhile, lighthearted experience that will surely entertain those who miss the days of Carmageddon. Even if it does have a silly name.

Jesse Dolman, NoobFeed.

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General Information

Zombie Driver


Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Exor Studios
Developer(s): Exor Studios
Genres: Vehicular Combat
Themes: Driving
Release Date: 2009-12-04

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