Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

Format: Xbox

4 005209 073745
Age Restrictions: 15+
10 February 2006

Meet Edward "Stubbs" Stubblefield. During the Great Depression, he was a down-on-his-luck travelling salesman. Now it's 1959 and he's a zombie with an insatiable hunger for human brains. How could this happen? The answer lies buried somewhere in Punchbowl, Pennsylvania, a high-tech City of the Future built by the world's richest man. Punchbowl is a paradise of hovercars and helper-robots, where crime and pollution simply don't exist. It's the perfect city: safe, clean and convenient. Stubbs can't wait to movie in...

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Cause is guaranteed to turn heads. This third-person action game is a stirring tale of one man's hunger for love, justice... and brains.

You play Stubbs, a wisecracking Zombie who takes on an ultramodern city of the future using nothing but his own carcass and the weapons of his possessed enemies. The game's tongue-in-cheek humour, innovative combat and strong storyline ensure that the gameplay is as bizarre and unpredictable as its namesake. On his quest, Stubbs lurches his way through numerous large indoor/outdoor environments in and around the city of Punchbowl - a city built during the Eisenhower administration to show off the ultra-futuristic technology of the 21st century.

Stubbs's brain-eating adventure brings him through bustling shopping districts and verdant farmlands to battle mad scientists, rural militiamen and the world's deadliest barbershop quartet. His enemies have shotguns, tanks, and all manner of futuristic weaponry. All Stubbs has is his own rotting corpse, a distinct lack of pain or conscience, and the ability to turn foes into zombie allies. What begins as one zombie's search for revenge quickly escalates into an all-out war between the living and the dead - but this time it's the zombie fighting for truth, justice and the redemption of true love. Yes, it's a love story too.

This is one of those games that you are either going to fall in love with, or not get at all.

You have to smile at the developers not even remotely subtle sense humour. The farm you are set loose on is called Knobb Cheese Farm (although you only see this written backwards if you happen to head back to the main gates and look up; Stubbs uses a sheep as a mode of transport; and this has to be the only game where you have to urinate in order to progress to another level. Yes, it's schoolboy humour all the way, but it will also have 30-somethings (like me) rolling around on the floor chuckling like an idiot.

I loved the games innovative weapons system. Here you use your body parts to despatch the enemy. You can break wind (to leave any humans in the vicinity gasping for air (This stops them from putting up a fight while you suck out their brains); throw your guts and then explode them at the touch of a button; remove your arm and guide it around until you see a likely subject and then take control of their body (this means that you can use any weapons they carry - like guns); or you can use your head like a bowling ball and knock your enemies flying. Of course, once you use any of these ways to dispatch your enemies, you'll need to suck some more brains in order to power each body part up before you can use it again.

The graphics and music are great, and the gameplay is insanely addictive - there's something satisfying about sucking people's brains out!

On the down side, it is a little repetitive, and most seasoned gamers will be able to complete the game on the normal mode over a lazy weekend. Having said that, this is just different enough from other games on the market to make it worth a look. Try renting first - it might be too offensive or puerile for you.

Nick Smithson

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