The 56k Connection : Body Ladder Review
Editors Note: Marz Nolte joins the 8bitrocket editorial team with the first of her sure to be insightful look at the world of casual games. Marz has bee an avid gamer ever since she helped Steve and Jeff’s parents buy them an Atari 2600 in the early 80’s. She brings a much needed female voice to the pages of this site and we look forward to many more reviews and editorials from her in the future. And yes, she does really only have a 56K modem.
This morning we toddle along at a rousing 42.6k, which is irritating when you’re trying to view the last Opus strip.
No amount of begging, pleading or bribes can persuade my service provider to actually provide DSL service to my area. Oh sure, if I want to cough up bricks of gold bullion every month they’d be happy to sell me a gigantic cable package with bells and whistles and all the internet speed, phone options, tv and (oh boy) billable porno I can stomach ‘ but no. I figure there must be others like myself that by necessity or choice must flounder around with a dial up.
So, ‘ Welcome to The 56k Connection. The one stop shop for all your slow connection game playing reviews.
I like a simple game statement. ‘Stack Zombie Bodies!’ Plain and right to the point, tells me everything I need to know. Plus MoFunZone games have a cute load-up screen, a little line drawing of a guy chucking garbage out of what looks like a city street manhole. It’s nice when the company making the game thinks about things like that. I like to see something interesting when I’m waiting for the game to load.
It starts off with a cheery little tune, explaining minimally, that your character is to kill the zombies with Psy power until you get a weapon and then stack the bodies and climb. I realize suddenly that that is all the instruction that you’re going to get, either figure it out or the stick zombies march out from both sides of the screen, start grabbing at you and flinging chunks of your flesh off till you die with a ‘splat’. The only thing that differentiates you, the zombie killer from the actual zombies is that you get a jaunty little Abraham Lincoln top hat. So Abe and me set out to rid the town of the menacing zombie hoard.
The music is unobtrusive, which is nice, and can be turned off, which is nicer. You don’t want to miss the sound quality is of the splats, power-ups, bombs and thuds, which are simple and well done. The graphics are a brilliant mixture of stick-cartoon color with black & white in the playing area.
Your mouse control is a black cross hair and the object is to place the cross hairs over each of the zombie’s heads and click to use whatever weapon you have to ‘splat-kill’ the evil buggers. The splat-kill will create a pile of dead, bloody stick zombies that Abe climbs in his attempts to escape the onslaught. Arrow keys move Abe left and right. The up arrow key causes Abe to jump up in the air and the down arrow key will drop a bomb and blow up any enemies within it’s range. It fairly simplistic, but those zombies are quicker than you might think and they can climb up the bodies of their fallen comrades to avenge and rip you to shreds.
The game begins with Abe only having Psy Power.
Psy power is like a psychic mind bomb and Abe can target zombies from anywhere and blast them to smithereens. Unfortunately you only get 10 shots and then Abe runs out of psychic juice and has to rely on his first (of several) weapons- a stick.
The stick is like, well, a stick. It’s just not the most efficient tool to use to kill zombies. I’ve seen a lot of zombie movies and I’ve hardly ever seen a stick used, but a stick is what you get. Using the stick Abe must forgo the distance combat of the Psy power and get up close and personal, again trying to bash the zombies in the head, climb the bodies and reach the top of the screen.
Every once in a while help will fall from the sky. (Wouldn’t that be nice if it happened in every day life?) The glowing word ‘psy’ will float down and if Abe can get to it before it disappears he gets an invincibility glow around him and he can go bash heads without fear of losing too much of flesh and dying. Also glowing red plus signs (universal sign of health) float down upping Abe’s health quotient. And don’t forget the down arrow key bombs. A well-timed bomb can really help in a pinch.
As Abe eradicates the zombies they flop over and ‘die’ or more accurately they become inactive, because lets face it, zombies by their very nature, are already dead. Strategically Abe must kill the zombies with the climbing in mind. Piling up bodies willy-nilly will not help him climb higher and since they drop down where they ‘die’, an overall pattern should be kept in mind to create a zombie body ladder. The higher Abe climbs the better weapons he gets and believe me, you want to get past the ‘stick’ weapon.
Abe climbs the bloody inert carcasses to reach his ultimate goal of ‘ uh, reaching the top of the screen? I don’t know, I haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe Abe will be airlifted out of this god-forsaken town, or maybe he will win some commendation from the zombie fighters union (ZFU) and be dropped into another zombie-infested city and continue to fight the good fight.
Addictive? Oh yes. This is a good one for imagining the zombies are irritating co-workers or upper management. You literally beat and climb the dead bodies to reach the top. It’s the American way.