Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green
By: Tristan Jones on January 9, 2006  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Platform: PC
Also available on: XBox
Developer: Brainbox Entertainment
Players: 1
Year: 2005
OFLC Rating: MA15+
Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green is awful. Really. There are no two ways about it. In today's world of ultra-violent video games where plugging zombies is commonplace, who would have thought that the game version of Land of the Dead, part of the epic film saga that pretty much got the ball rolling when it came to gore and violence, could actually turn out to be the most boring, lifeless, linear and worst of all, glitchy game I have ever played. Ever.

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green sees you play as some nameless redneck as he road trips it to Fiddler's Green. That's pretty much all there is to it. Sure you think; "Hey, that leaves room for plenty of possibilities!" but alas my friends, the game is about as terse as the blurb. Here's a gun, point-a to point-b, shoot everything in between. Actually that last part isn't necessarily true. You are given the opportunity to carry hand-to-hand weapons, baseball bats, axes, golf clubs, typical zombie fare. But a lot of the levels you can actually just walk past zombies, and if they get in your way, smack them with your weapon of choice so they fall over, and move on. May sound fun, but read it again as though it were voiced by Bill Murray. See.

It's about as linear as it comes. There is no deviation at all from the "objectives" you are given, and just about every level is "kill zombies, push button to work this thing, get to end of level". One time though, there was this level where I was given a sniper rifle. I was excited! The level was called HEADSHOT! - spelled out in capitals with an exclamation mark. I was like "Sweet!" and had a butt load of ammo and a big pile more sitting next to me, even though the redneck had said in the opening to the level that I didn't have much at all. I had to protect another redneck I released from jail as he ran to his truck, he started to run and I took aim ready to snipe me some HEADSHOT!'s. A stupid zombie wandered into my scopes and I pulled the trigger. BAM! Right in the head! But wait a minute. That zombie didn't fall. I know I got him in the head... BAM! Still standing... BAM! Didn't do it either!... BAM! Okay, missed that time. BAM! No. BAM! No. BAM! Zombie's arm explodes and down he goes. What a joke.

To make things worse, the level described above took well and truly over twenty minutes to finish. Not only because the zombies wouldn't go down unless you shot them unnecessarily more than you should, but because your redneck jail-buddy seems to enjoy waiting around a lot and screaming "Cover me!" even though the next four sections of the level have been completely cleaned out. Who play tested this horrendous travesty?!

I came to the conclusion pretty early on that the A.I. is about as intelligent as a spastic cow (the aforementioned event put the nail in the coffin). Apparently zombies won't register your existence unless you're standing on the ground. I was swarmed by zombies at some points and all I had to do was stand on couch or car and they'd just stop, leaving me free to bash them with whatever I had. Some of the zombies will just explode for no apparent reason. I think this is only supposed to happen with particular types, ones I call 'fartbies', as they leave a trail of green gas for some reason. They tend to explode when you get near them, but for some reason, the other zombies see this and randomly decide to follow suit. Must be something to do with their newfound learning abilities touched upon in the film... Also for some reason the fartbies like to vomit lots. Watch out! It's chunky and will poison you... big time.

There is little variation to the zombies. A little more than Resident Evil, but Resident Evil can be forgiven because nearly all the zombies are in uniform and are so far gone they'd be unrecognisable to anyone really. Not here. You get attacked by the same granny, old man, shirtless punk, gaping-hole-in-the-stomach guy, rot girl, and skeleton (yep!) everywhere you go. There might be a fat dude here and there, but they're all the same essentially. Their placement is baffling as well. Some are placed fairly logically, but often you'll walk into an area and wonder why the fuck the police station is full of old people zombies. Or how the punk, the granny, and the skeleton wound up inside those shipping crates.

There are so many glitches in this games programming and basic logic that I really hope anyone who worked on this game never works in the industry again. Some of the glitches are baffling, such as a message appearing on screen saying "You are full on this ammo", yet looking around, none is to be seen, or clicking the action button to search a drawer and all of a sudden using a medical kit you had no idea existed. Others are hilarious, such as the zombies insistence on destroying doors even though they are open and the path to fresh meat is clear, while others are infuriating, such as the run button working randomly for varied amounts of time.

The music is pretty forgettable, the sound is repetitive and annoying, female zombies make male noises, your redneck character lets out wails of pain every now and then when he shouldn't, and most of the weapons sound the same.

The only pleasure I derived from this game was finishing it. Oh, and one extremely short level where you have to kill your redneck jail-buddy. It's hilarious. You're obviously not supposed to kill him until he finishes speaking, and even then he has the same health problems as the zombies. "Kill me..." he says, so I shoot him in the face, he says something else and stops, so I shoot him again and - oh! Sorry I thought you were done... BANG! Shit, he's still talking!... Then when he finishes there's this awkward pause, like when you expect someone to keep going, but he doesn't so you let fly with the bullets.

In summation, this is the worst gaming experience I have ever sat through, and I played Product No. 3.

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green gets the lowest rating possible from me. It sucks. Bad.
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