Name: Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ
Platform: Nintendo DS
There is no denying that zombies are all the rage in video games right now. Hell, it’s not like the living dead have ever been out of style, but it seems like every other title that hits the shelf at the moment has some sort of zombie mode. Games like Call of Duty: World at War, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto IV are jumping on the undead bandwagon; and then, of course, there’s the ultimate in zombie apocalypse gameplay, Left 4 Dead. However, all of these games are missing one crucial element: characters from well-known fairy tales and fables. It is because of this that Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ really stands out.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, this game is absolutely ridiculous and never takes itself too seriously, which is a quality I enjoy. Zombie BBQ is the story of what happens when the zombie apocalypse invades fairy tale villages and turns formerly sweet, innocent characters into brain-hungry monsters. As the title implies, Red herself is the protagonist, and is all grown up, as you can tell from the double-Ds and borderline-porn star outfit. On her way to grandmother’s house, Red finds herself fighting a horde of zombies, and it quickly becomes apparent that this is happening all over the world.
In addition to playing as Red, there is another playable character: Japanese demon-fighter Momotaro. The two of them have different standard moves and weapons, but I never really saw much need to pick him. Still, it’s nice to have options. There’s also a good deal of variety in environments and weapons. Red and Momotaro explore the forest near Grandmother’s house, the village of Hansel and Gretel, and many other locales, coming across familiar faces that have been zombified. I particularly enjoyed the weapon choices, especially the flamethrower. Unfortunately, none of them seem to last for very long, at which point it’s back to Red’s trusty old machine gun.
Where the diversity is lacking, however, is the gameplay itself. Zombie BBQ is a shoot-em-up, but instead of moving forward and backward, Red (or Momo, depending on who you’re playing as) is only capable of moving from left to right, as the location advances automatically and zombies move towards the front of the screen. All gameplay, including shooting, reloading, moving, crouching, and shoving creatures back, can be done with a touch of a stylus, and the controls are intuitive and simple. However, no matter what the location, the gameplay never really changes much; it’s simply pointing the stylus at wave after wave of undead creatures and trying to survive until the next level.
Often, there will be many foes onscreen at once, making the game more challenging, but this occasionally led to some slowdown while I was playing. This can be frustrating, especially during a critical point in a level. Also kind of disappointing is the fact that you can shoot limbs off zombies, but it doesn’t really do anything to slow them down or alter their paths. It’s a cool effect, but kind of useless. The complete lack of checkpoints in each level can also be a point of annoyance, especially if you squeeze by a tricky part with barely any health left and then get destroyed immediately afterward. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if health packs were more available, but they were pretty rare even in the early levels.
Overall, Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ is a very enjoyable game, with quirky characters, interesting level settings, and a great sense of humor. However, it doesn’t take long for the gameplay to get a little stale, especially when the game slows down when a large amount of creatures are onscreen at once. It’s worth playing, especially for fans of the genre, but not everyone will find it as amusing as I did. Maybe there is such a thing as too many zombies.