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The Walking Dead: Zombie Hunter TV Game review

Say "Hello" to my Boom stick!
Few shows can resurrect a long dead genre like "The Walking Dead" has done with Zombies.  The show based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel of the same name is easily one of the most popular shows on cable TV.  As we all know, with popularity comes all types of merchandising.  This review is based on the game sold under the "TV Games" brand.

Your weapon and console all-in-one.

The first thing that you will notice when you open the box is the rather large plastic shotgun.  This twelve gauge pump shotgun is both your controller and console.  That's right, the game itself is built into the controller and plugs into your TV directly through the old fashioned composite yellow and white cables.  Sadly, there is no red audio cable so this game is most likely playing in Mono sound.  Forget about enjoying an HD resolution since this type of connection will get 480i resolution at best.  To it's credit, the game is a 16 x 9 wide screen resolution but it does not quite fill the screen.

In addition to the shotgun, the game also needs a sensor bar (included in the box) to operate.  Similar to the Wii console, this bar must be placed either over or under the center of your TV to get the most accurate reading for the console.  The sensor bar is wireless but does require three "AAA" batteries which must be inserted or removed with a screwdriver due to the battery door requiring it.  This applies to the Shotgun console as well, which also needs four "AA" batteries to operate.

The game doesn't quite fit an HDTV screen.

Your main menu screen.

When you power on the system, you will be greeted with some calibration screens to set up your shotgun.  This happens EVERY time that you turn the game on and does not auto save.  Once you are done with the game calibration then you are presented with the home screen and five options.

  1. Story Mode
  2. Horde Mode
  3. Free Play Mode
  4. Options
  5. Scores
Story mode lets you progress through the game story, Horde is a free for all, and Free play lets you choose from any level that you've completed with Options and scores being self explanatory.  The game itself is reminiscent of late nineties flash games with mostly static backgrounds and pixelated zombies that zoom in closer to you with two or three frame animations at best.  If you have played Doom on the N64 then you will get the idea although that game probably looked as good if not better.  There are 4 types of Zombies that I have encountered which are a suited zombie, a white shirt zombie, a fat guy zombie, and a lady zombie.  These enemies will be sprinkled throughout the game and after defeating a few of them, you will be greeted by a black loading screen or a story screen depending on what part of a level you are on.

Zombie blasting and loading between levels.
The shotgun itself is remarkably accurate for what it is.  I would say on par with most Wii shooting games.  It's very light and easy to aim and getting head shots on the walkers is not difficult for those with good aim.  It's made from hollow plastic halves that are screwed together similar to many "Nerf" toys and could probably survive a good drop or two. The cable that attached to your TV is about 10ft which is perfect since the bigger your TV is, the further away you must get for the sensors to work correctly.  In my case, I needed to stand about 8 feet away for my target box to display on screen. 

Story mode has Bruce Campbell, err, you running through the game starting at a dark camp site in a random forest at night, to the city of Atlanta from the show and comics, and on.  You do meet "Glenn" who helps you along the way and that's about it for official characters.  Occasionally, your character utters phrases like "come and get me" while you kill walkers and lurkers and the music that plays is a loop of the theme song from the opening credits of the TV show. The challenge comes from multiple zombies (no more than 3 at a time) coming at you at varying speeds and angles.  Some take more than one head shot to kill.  There are also random civilians that pop up that you must spare or get penalized for.  The game provides a few power ups to your rifle in the form of different types of guns, ammo refills, and medical kits to restore your life.  You have three red crosses as life bars meaning that if you get hit three times or shoot enough civilians then it's game over.  Continues are unlimited and the game does save progress for one person at a time.  Even if your game is saved, the next time that you boot up, the game screen will still need to be calibrated as mentioned before.  When you start over from a save file, you will begin the game from the start of the last level that you died in.

Fat zombie is hungry, very hungry...

Overall, for a $39 game console, it's not bad. If you are the type that enjoys arcade style shooters like House of the Dead, Virtua Cop, Time Crisis, or even Duck Hunt, then this game might be be enjoyable to you.  While the graphics, sound, and game play complexity are nowhere near top notch, there is something to say about spending a couple of minutes mindlessly blasting things.  Like Guitar Hero or Rock Band this game is best played in a casual setting with a few people around taking turns.  Especially for the price. 


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