When I initially posted about THE Zombie VS Ambulance, I knew in the back of my mind that it was only a matter of time before I purchased the game. This kind of thing is like crack-cocaine to me: it’s horror-themed and it looks absolutely awful, a deadly combination that feeds my insatiable appetite for horror games gone wrong. So in a particularly masochistic move, I imported THE Zombie VS Ambulance from Japan and started playing it.
THE Zombie VS Ambulance is not a good game. However, it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. There’s actually some risk and reward involved in the game design, and while the graphics are not pretty, the game delivers on it’s basic drive-over-zombies-in-an-ambulance premise. The game actually starts out really boring, because the default ambulance is extremely slow and usually can’t kill zombies in a single hit. This sucks particularly hard because you can only get Hospital Health Points back by killing a number of zombies within a short period of time, so if you have to stop and reverse to actually kill the putrified cop you just sideswiped, your chances of getting a combo are zilch. Fortunately, about 30 minutes into the game you can unlock the second ambulance, which is a lot faster and consequently a lot more fun.
As you drive around running over zombies, you have three basic goals that you need to strategize for:
- Maintaining Hospital Health Points. The hospital health slowly decreases over time, and the only way you can get it to increase is to run over lots of zombies in succession to get combos. My current high combo is 90 zombies.
- Find engineers and the crazy mayor dude. You need to save people, but the more engineers you save the faster you can upgrade your ambulance. Upgrading your ambulance is awesome, because you can install giant blades onto the front of your car and attack rocket boosters to the back. I don’t know who the crazy mayor dude is (I don’t think he’s really a mayor, I just made that up), but when you find three of him a new section opens up. The rest of the people are pretty worthless, though collecting cops and military people makes the hospital health points go down slower.
- Figure out the fastest route back to the hospital. After you get out of the main area and into the surrounding sections (which all have a theme, like city, or forest, or desert), it actually becomes difficult to get people you’ve picked up back to the hospital before they turn into zombies. It becomes imperative to figure out what the fastest route to the hospital is from anywhere in the main city. It’s also important to know when you are on a long road, because you only have a limited number of boosts and it sucks to boost into a wall, and the draw distance only allows you to see about 15 feet ahead of your vehicle.
Basically, THE Zombie VS Ambulance is like an extravagant mini game. The mechanics are too simple to really compare with modern games, but on the other hand they’ve put far too much time into the design (especially the upgrade system) for this to be a regular GTA-style mini game. It’s not a terrible game, but it is extremely simple and repetitive. I am actually fairly surprised that this game isn’t a steaming pile, but I can’t really say it’s extraordinary in any way either. Shallow as it may be, it’s still a bit more fun than many of the other games listed on this site.