I was reading the latest issue of Famitsu (which, by the way, has a pretty awesome preview of Siren 2) when I ran across a crazy game called The Zombie VS Ambulance (THEVS). This is SIMPLE2000 game, which means its a budget title by D3 publishing (retail in Japan is about $18, which is ultra cheap considering most new games are in the $70 range). D3 has made horror-themed games in the past, including the awful-looking Onechannbara (a stupid play on “onechan,” meaning “young girl” and “chanbara,” meaning “sword fight”) and The Noroi Game (lit. “The Cursed Game”).
So I did a little research on The Zombie VS Ambulance, because I just couldn’t get over the idea that somebody made a game about zombies fighting ambulances. There’s an official site for the game which has some tiny screen shots, but the most interesting information comes from this guy’s blog about the SIMPLE series (man, and I thought my blog was niche). I translated a couple of snippets from his review:
The basic formula is leave the hospital -> run over some zombies and help some people -> return to the hospital, repeated over and over. But the need to run zombies over to win keeps the tension level high, so I think the system works pretty well.
First of all, there’s a “hospital health gauge.” As you drive around the gauge is slowly depleted, and if it ever goes to zero it means the hospital has succumbed to the zombies and it’s game over. It’s basically a life bar for the hospital. In order to fill the gauge back up, you have two options:
This mechanic keeps you on your toes.
The ambulance upgrades are cool. You can get mechanics that you save to upgrade your ambulance, but they’ll require you to complete their weird requests (like, “run over 40 zombies to finish this upgrade”) first. This is another reason to keep running over zombies, and combined with the hospital’s health gauge, there’s a nice balance that keeps the game from getting dull. It’s a good combination.
If you don’t get survivors that you’ve picked up back to the hospital before the time runs out, they’ll turn into zombies inside the ambulance. This makes the ambulance harder to drive. How are you supposed to solve this problem? By driving full speed into a wall, which causes the zombies to fly out of the vehicle! WTF.
This guy also talks about the things he doesn’t like (no D-Pad support, and you have to drive carefully when you have people in the back). Basically, this game sounds like a combination of Crazy Taxi and Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick: pick up people and take them somewhere, and on the way drive over zombies and send buckets of blood and gore everywhere.
So yeah, they really made an ambulance vs zombie game. Is it Survival Horror? Probably not, but since I’m including Evil Dead, it’s a tough call.