» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

January 9, 2006
System: Xbox (tested)
Publisher: Aspyr Media, Inc.
Developer: Wideload
Rating: 7.0/10

Welcome To Punchbowl

Andrew Monday had a vision: to create the perfect city. So he set forth in building Punchbowl, the city of tomorrow - today! With the help of liberated Nazi scientist Dr. Wye, Monday has created a city of flying cars, robots, and technological marvels that make Punchbowl a modern-day utopia.

Monday had a dream, and now, well, it's time to destroy that dream.

Enter The Zombie

In Stubbs the Zombie, you take the role of, well, Stubbs the Zombie. In life, you were a door-to-door salesman. In death, you're a member of the walking dead with an insatiable need for sustenance - in the form of grey matter. And so the story begins, as two high-school lovers picnic in the park, Stubbs rises from the ground and welcomes himself to Punchbowl with all the violence he can muster.

Stubbs is a pretty straightforward video-game romp. You fall in love with Andrew Monday's mother, Maggie, and are set to task in chasing her down, trying to win her heart.

The beauty of Stubbs is more in the design and story than in the game play. To state such is to make a comment on how well the game is written, because, let's face it: eating brains never - ever - gets old.

From the grainy presentation of each mission to the retro feel of the futuristic Punchbowl, Stubbs is filled with an admiration for the golden age of horror films and schmaltz. Take for instance the zombies, including Stubbs, with a vocabulary of only one word: brains. This absurd excuse for dialogue makes for one of the more brilliant sequences in recent video-game history. The citizens of Punchbowl also rattle off humorous lines straight from the 1950s, making it even more satisfying to rip their arms off or knock their heads towards the leftfield bleachers. All in the name of undying love.

The controls are simple and straightforward, with melee, brain eating, and special attacks all executed with the push of a button. Navigation is simple as well, with the left control stick used for movement, and the right for camera routing.

Drive Me, Please

The only time navigation becomes an issue is during vehicle sequences, where rotating the camera and driving become somewhat agitating due to the fact that where the camera is pointing is the direction you'll be heading. It makes steering a little tricky and precise movement not always possible.

Luckily, the driving sequences are dispersed throughout the game to add some variety and are not always necessary to complete missions, and the assortment of vehicles often relegate the headaches of navigation an afterthought. You're able to pilot jeeps, tanks, tractors, and a "hovering sod distributor" that you'll see as the game's first vehicle and easily the most amusing.

And For My Next Trick...

In Stubbs, you'll be able to fulfill all your wildest video-game fantasies. You've always wanted to eat brains, right? Well, rest easy. You'll be able to eat the thinking box of every single human you encounter.

What about possession, you ask? Well, detach your arm and let your fingers do the walking...towards that army troop with the bazooka. In no time, you'll be blowing up your comrades with friendly fire and gusto!

Always wanted an army of undead to do your bidding? Well, this is just a natural progression from the eating aspect. Once your grubby incisors perforate your victims' noggins, they rise again to join you in the festival of destruction.

You like to bowl, you say? Lucky for you, you're able to remove your head and roll it towards enemies, detonating it for maximum carnage.

Bodily functions make you giggle? Happy day to you then, because Stubbs is one flatulent zombie, and there's even a mission that requires you to urinate in the city's drinking water supply.

And The Rest

Stubbs is an amalgamation of simple game play, humor, and even some very entertaining co-operative play thanks to the fact that the game is built on the original Halo engine. The entire experience is enjoyable, alone or with friends, but the biggest drawback might make cost-conscience gamers a little leery: length. Stubbs is short and yes, as I was recently assured, size does in fact matter.

Through my trials and tribulations trying to complete this game - a sinus infection, work, social interatction - I would still say that it took me five hours, tops, to complete it. If you have a comfortable chair and an afternoon to kill, you'll be able to beat the game in one sitting, which is never an admirable quality for a game that costs $50.

To top it off, the linear storyline doesn't offer much in the way of re-playability aside from the brain eating, which, to beat a dead horse, is one of the more pleasurable gaming experiences I've encountered.

In Conclusion...

Pluses: Eating brains could be considered dangerously addictive; some laugh-out-loud moments; true to the absurdity of black-and-white horror flicks.

Minuses: It takes longer to eat a seven course (authentic) Italian meal than to finish Stubbs; vehicle navigation is clunky; uh...BRAINS!

End Result: Stubbs can be a riot to play, especially in co-op mode. You can never eat too many brains or have enough legions of zombies at your disposal, and the art direction and design is a treat. Stubbs really delivers in the entertainment department, and is decidedly worth a play, albeit a painfully short one.

SEE ALSO: www.stubbsthezombie.com

David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other articles by David Spain.



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