There’s really not a lot to say about Zombie Driver. It’s a short little downloadable game that puts you, the player, as a survivor in a city infested by zombies. The military has come to reinforce the place, but for whatever reason they really can’t be bothered to get off their ass and actually help out, so they send you to do their dirty deeds for them in your car. Oh, but don’t worry, they’ll at least upgrade your car so that it’s a military-grade vehicle! …as long as you pay for the upgrades yourself.
What transpires is a hybrid between Carmageddon, Spy Hunter, and Dead Rising. You get different cars that have different strengths – the Bus is slow but well armored and can hold an incredible amount of passengers at once, while the Sports Car is lightning fast but only seats 3 – and you can spend money you earn running over the undead on upgrading them and tricking them out with weaponry.
While the weapons that you do get are all decently varied (if not particularly inspired) – Nitro boosts, machine guns, flamethrowers, rocket launchers, and railguns – and fun to use, it’s curious that you can only carry one at a time, and that your ammunition is surprisingly limited. You learn to ration your Zombie Driving ammo well, but the game often boils down to a search through the city for more powerups – and in the meantime, squashing zombies underfoot.
The game is somewhat fun, and there’s a strange sort of primal satisfaction that comes from rushing into a group of zombies and turning them into giblets by a well-placed missile strike, but it never really changes from beginning to end. You are sent to rescue X number of survivors scattered throughout the city, and must save them before the zombies break in and eat their brains. You kill all the zombies outside of their location, pick them up, drive them back to the base where the military is sitting around playing cards or something. Rinse and repeat.
Sometimes the game varies it up with a time limit, or by asking you to do another task, but these other side missions are always asking you to do the same thing you’re already doing – the wanton slaughter of the undead. These can be frustrating, since when you’re given a mission like “kill 200 zombie dogs,” there’s no way to track your progress, so all you do is drive around killing zombie dogs until you’re given the notification that you’ve completed the mission.
Zombie Driver lacks even basic options to change the resolution (or run in a windowed mode), which can be frustrating, and the camera can cause a headache if you play too long, but these complaints are somewhat countered by the reminder that it’s just $10 on Direct2Drive and Steam. And while you’ll probably only get two or three hours of mild entertainment out of the game’s story mode, it might well be worth it at that price. At least, I’ve spent more on worse.
Merry Christmas, you zombie bastards.
Bottom Line: You drive around the city killing zombies with cars, bullets, explosives, and fire. There’s nothing wrong with that, it has its intense moments and plowing through a crowd of the undead and watching them explode in blood is always a good time. It won’t shake up your world but at $10, you’re kind of getting what you pay for. It was entertaining now and then, but nothing special – like, at all.
Recommendations: If you like zombies, or if you like the original Grand Theft Auto or Spy Hunter, you could spend your $10 on worse. Then again, you could probably spend it on a whole lot better, too. Another $10 gets you Torchlight, which is an infinitely superior game.
John Funk wishes his car had rocket launchers.