Night of the Living Dead: Defense (2011)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 21, 2012  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Platform: iPad
Developer: SGN
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I actually feel sorry for George Romero. Imagine a world where every man and his dog couldn't profit from Night of the Living Dead and he could actually make some decent money from it. I reckon he'd look at George Lucas and think 'If only…' If only he had sorted out all the copyright stuff properly, maybe he wouldn't need those bulletproof limousine windscreens as glasses and could instead get some laser eye surgery, or at the very least some contact lenses!

On the other hand, if Romero had been a bit more protective of his property, fun iPad games like this might not exist!

Night of the Living Dead: Defense is not a first person shooter as one might expect, but instead a puzzle/action game played across two levels (so far… updates are forthcoming apparently) and broken down into a series of maps, the first being various places around and inside a farmhouse. The second, called the 'Texas Campaign', is played across Texas environments with the player in charge of protecting survivors from the onslaught of the undead who come in all shapes and sizes, from a slow moving legless crawler to an unusually tough Dolly Parton styled zombie, along with their associates which include rats, vultures, pterodactyl things and big hairy monsters.

Each map has a series of points where you can place soldiers armed with a variety of weapons, from a pair of six shooters up to flamethrowers and tesla coils. Sounds easy? Well you start with a small amount of money, and as you kill the undead you earn more, which allows you to purchase more soldiers armed with better weapons or upgrades for the weapons you have already installed. The undead at times come hard and fast, so if you don't have protection in the right place at the right time, you are screwed. The dead are quite helpful though, as a quick 'preview' walkway is revealed so you can place your soldiers in the right place at the right time.

As usual with these sorts of games, each weapon has positives and negatives, for example the shotgun can't kill airborne creatures, like the vultures and pterodactyls, but it will hit multiple ground based baddies.

The game features between level images from Romero's film for no real purpose other than to link it into the franchise, but the inclusion of sound bytes from the film for the same reason does add a bit of atmosphere to the game, especially the 'They're coming for you' that is announced at regular intervals.

In this top-down view game, you have twenty lives that you have to protect from the enemies, and each level has waves of enemies intent on attacking them. Basically you have to strategically place your soldiers to protect your 'lives' from each wave. Occasionally, destroyed enemies can drop things like extra money, or 'freeze bombs' which slow any beast who wanders into its range, giving you a better chance to destroy it as you pump it full of extra bullets.

The graphics are quite simple but are colorful and some of the mildly animated backgrounds, such as dead bodies trying to get up, make for interesting distractions. The sounds are pretty good too, but the NotLD soundtrack starts to grate a bit, like most video game musical numbers, and the repetitive sounds of bullets, rat's squeaking, vulture's cawing and zombies 'URGH!'ing as they are destroyed may start to get on your nerves as well. I admit to playing this with the sound off regularly.

All in all, Night of the Living Dead: Defense is a fun game, and has replay value with four different stages of difficulty. You will probably get through the first 'easy' stage quite quickly, but the higher difficulties provide a much greater challenge. The interesting quirk is though, would I have bought this game if it didn't have such a well known film name in the title? The answer is probably not, but I think I would have been missing out on a fun distraction.
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