You, Ricky, have just shown up to town to meet up with the love interest, Ashley in Zombie Soup. Before you can start talking about Pogs or getting to first base, she’s whisked off by some dodgy types. Granted, any kidnapping should be frowned up, so they’re all dodgy types.
Ricky arrives at a big top with the twisted circus being run by Ringmaster, MC Skull. Now’s your time to shine in this little tutorial of melee and ranged combat, with a cheeky little roll thrown in for good measure.
Melee combat should always be a last resort in a twin-stick shooter – more so in Zombie Soup as Ricky has stubby little arms and no reach. You soon get armed with a Glock, then a grenade and controls are generally tight.
If you need a little assistance, the enemies you fight in the game are zombies, hence the title, and once you defeat MC Skull, you don his head like a kawaii God of War.
Chewing The Scenery
In-between the actions are dialogue scenes similar to a visual novel. The character models are 3D rendered and absolutely gorgeous. The gameplay is a top-down perspective, and the graphics are just as nice. Shame I can’t say the same thing about the acting.
The voice talent feels a bit too Pokémon for this ol’ chap – unnatural reading, overly dramatic. The characters on the screen, that is the playable ones, don’t replicate the emotion – often reduced to spinning on the spot of striking a Power Rangers pose.
I’m not sure what happened to the sound, the actors sounded like they were talking into a bucket after the prologue. Still, it’s a demo and all, stop being such a bastard. But, to get it out of my system, the character designs in story pieces really are fantastic, but I’d rather have read the dialogue than heard the acting.
Zombie Soup gameplay is good once you get to play, but there are many story interruptions at first. In the demo, you’re completing a rescue mission of survivors, picking up an assortment of weapons along the way. There are the standard crates to destroy, but just as I was puckering up a punch to destroy them, realised that this boy of yay high could walk through them.
For Each Door That Opens…
Doors in the game are interesting. As a top-down shooter, you navigate an inner network of rooms, each with a door to access, as per real life. What’s quite unusual is the on-screen prompt says to open the door, but you unlock it, then have to walk through. I’ve already cocked up this explanation.
Any enemies inside don’t follow you, even if the door remains unlocked, but they will be standing in your way once you go through. Another thing is you can’t see inside the room unless you’re in it – a bit like One Shell Straight To Hell, and this works in its favour and adds to the challenge.
Anyway, before long, you can unlock a class and create loadouts. There are two weapons you can carry at a time, as well as a grenade. Classes are unlocked with the credit dropped by zombies; then you can select an appropriate perk per weapon. Again, another weird set up as I was carrying a loaded Gatling gun that disappeared in this menu.
The next room offered up a boss where the difficulty ramped up ten-fold and armed with a pistol made it nigh on possible. This boss looked the part and had a ruthless set of attacks that could be learned, but this early on was a turn-off, like wearing socks to bed, when all that was available was a pea shooter.
I’m a bit on the fence with this one. Ignoring my tastes (the voice acting), Zombie Soup, from AeonSparx Interactive, is a lovely looking game, and the type I’d be more than willing to invest my time in, what with the proposed skill trees and all. With the full game, perhaps there’s a bit more scope for preparing for a boss battle, but for a demo? Pretty harsh!