'Zombi'? 'Zombi'? Shouldn't that be 'Zombie'!? Ah! It's a French game, zat explains eet. Hmm, and by my reckoning these living dead must be masculine - la zombie, le zombi, ho hum. Anyway, have you ever fancied taking part in one of those spooky zombie flicks like Georgo Romero's Dawn Of The Dead or Michael Jackson's Thriller video (hem hem)? Well, Ubisoft is offering you the chance to do just that! So, if you'd just like to hold onto my hand (Very tightly. Ed) let's see what gory goins-on they've got in store for us.
Zombi is an icon-driven sort of adventure game with you moving a pointer and clicking on things like objects and directions. The graphics are largely monochrome, and there's very little animation. Oh, and there's no sound either, (Blimey! Reader's voice) But don't let this put you off, 'cos Zombi isn't a bad little game at all.
The instructions you get are minimal, and there's also a ropey 19-page cartoon strip that sets the scene. The story is set in 'Berkleys, United States' in 1986 (!) and basically loads of dead bodies have been coming back to life and eating the living. Eeek! In a bid to escape this rather unpleasant fate, four chums have stolen a helicopter from the local hospital only to find that hey don't have sufficient fuel to safety! In search of more, they land at a large shopping mall (just like in the aforementioned Dawn Of The Dead) and this is where you join them!
You control all four characters as you wander about exploring. You find various objects with various uses (some of which I haven't even figured out yet!) - you can walk in and out of stores, use the lift, and of course fight zombies. You start doing this with your bare fists, but finding weapons is a tad more effective! There are four main levels to the mall, with a roof, where your helicopter is parked, and a basement - this bit's largely in the dark so it's better not to go down without a gun! You can also venture out of sthe mall, but don't go too far or you'll be confronted by a squillion zombos intent on enrolling you into their rank! If your health and strength levels are falling then find the chemists or pop into MacDonalds! Yep, clicking on food items replenishes your energy as does clicking on a bed for a bit of shut-eye! In all there's a lot of exploring to be done, and perhaps some mapping would be advisable.
You'll have to use your noodle to figure out just which item is used for which purpose (I'll be looking forward to seeing some tips come in for this one!), and ultimately you'll have to find some petrol. Oh, and there's also a gang of Hells Angels out there looking for food (although I actually haven't seen them yet). Watch out for them, 'cos in this situation it's every man for himself!
Um, without giving too much away, that's it really. When I first looked at Zombi I thought "Lummocks! This one looks a tad on the unimpressive side!" but then I started to play, and play.. and, er... play. The simplicity of the graphics is actually very deceptive, because despite the small-view screen and the few icons bordering it there is actually a great deal you can achieve. Not only can you click on the direction arrows to move but also on doors, cupboards and other features to open and go into. There's an arcade fight sequence - you dispatch zombies by clicking on the Use icon with a weapon (if you've got one) and clicking on the zombie, who either attacks you from the front or appears alongside you as a dead body.
Like most adventure games, Zombi gives you minimal instructions and just lets you get on with it. Unfortunately, thanks to Speccy graphics, you will also frequently come across objects that you won't be able to recognise, let alone figure out what they do (the thing that looks like a tadpole, for example). But despite this it's a good game and you can really immerse yourself in it's spooky atmosphere! If you don't have the patience to keep trying when you seem to be stuck, then perhaps this isn't for you - don't buy Zombi expecting loads of arcade action. But do buy it if you'd fancy an atmospheric horror adventure in which you really need to keep your wits about you!
Don't be deceived by the lack of arcade action and colourful graphics - Zombi is an addictive and enjoyable romp.