Originally posted March 29th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Title: Zombie Incident
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 3/5/2015
The main game/story
In this upgraded version of the homebrew MSX game, you take control of a girl named Nana (At least that’s the default name the game gives you upon startup), who sets out to find the secret of the mysterious Hamartia citadel, and to stop the mysterious source of the undead. A pretty simple platformer where you simply explore as much as you like, with no items to limit your progress. Just grab the 8 stars hidden around the citadel and escape!
Despite originally being a MSX game, the 3DS version makes some minor upgrades to the graphics that keep it retro while also making it nice and colorful. The sprites look nice, and each section of the citadel has it’s own unique feel to it. Unfortunately the MSX couldn’t do a good job at scrolling the screen, which means in a lot of games when moving to another area, it would flash briefly before moving you to the next area. In Zombie Incident, that still applies. Moving from one screen to the next seems fine at first, but when you get to later areas of the game where you may get knocked back to the previous screen, only to go back to the screen you were on just to get knocked back again, it can really be distracting seeing the screen flash so much trying to place you in the room. It also doesn’t help when you climb up in an attempt to progress further only to suddenly hit an enemy that happens to be right above you on the next screen.
Music and sound effects:
This game actually has a catchy soundtrack, with a fitting main theme that doesn’t irritate you after a few minutes. There’s only a few songs in the game, but they are all great and fit the spooky mood perfectly.
The goal of this game is to search the citadel for eight stars which will remove the curse when brought to the entrance. All of these stars are hidden behind locked doors scattered all around the citadel, so it’s up to you to search high and low for the doors, defeat every enemy in that room and open the door.
You defeat said enemies by jumping on their heads to revert them to a lower “level” until they eventually convert to a skeleton that will be destroyed with one more hit. However, you can’t immediately go after the strongest enemies right away, as your jumps won’t harm them at all. Instead you look at the bottom screen, find which color will give you lighting bolts (the experience points in this game), and go after the enemies of that color until you level up. This ends up being really fun at first, as you can chain multiple enemies to get a higher score depending on how much you play it safe. However, this game does some things later on that make it incredibly frustrating to play.
For example, in some rooms there may be a dark green bat flying close to the celling. However, you can’t reach it unless you barely jump high enough to get between it and the celling, or else both you and the enemy will take damage. Despite starting off with a lot of life points, it’s very difficult to heal them, as the only way you can restore health is by defeating all enemies on the screen or grabbing a star. This can be infuriating near the end of the game when you’ll only need to take a few hits to die, yet you need to defeat very tough enemies to open the door that may or may not even have a star behind it.
They all autosave your progress thankfully, which helps a little bit, except one time I accidentally entered one of the rooms with one hit point left, which autosaved and therefore made the game nearly impossible to complete, making me restart the entire game. Luckily the game isn’t too long, which encourages you to get higher scores and the best ending on each subsequent playthrough, but it’s still a frustrating issue.
In conclusion, Zombie Incident is a fun throwback to the days of the MSX, with fun gameplay, more than one ending, a great soundtrack and online leaderboards that encourage replaying the game to beat your friends. However, it’s still rather short, and it can be very frustrating at times due to poor enemy placement or entering a new screen only to suddenly get bombarded with enemies. If you can look past those faults though you’ll find a decent if not frustrating experience, and for $2 it’s a great value. I give Zombie Incident a 7 out of 10 and recommend to fans of MSX games, high score games, or just simply to people who have a lot of patience and like a good challenge.
Thanks to Coderchild for the review code.