Trapped Dead is a tactical real time strategy game. Players control their characters in a 3rd person isometric view through a mature Zombie survival scenario inspired by the successful Horror movies of the early 80s.
What We Think:
As a college student, it’s time to learn some valued life skills, like how to preserve life from flesh-eating zombies or how to let go of a friend for the greater good. Generic zombie survival skills 101.
As an isometric zombie survival goes, this one does it pretty well. The story does a decent job with different story splits, but ultimately comes around to be generally linear. The story does little to reinvent the zombie genre, which has in the past five five years worn thin. (Part of the problem is that the genre is often so self-referential it gets stuck chasing it own tail.)
Trapped Undead opens with Mike and Gerald on their way to college – two 80’s college kids on their way for some 80’s college fun. When they run low on gas, they stop at a gas station in a sleepy mountain town in Kansas called Hedge Hill. With Gerald left in the passenger seat enjoying a beer (I guess college kids in the 80’s never stopped drinking) Mike discovers the place is infested with zombies.
The story is told in a comic art style that I enjoy well enough, though a more graphically detailed approach would enliven the experience. Add to this sub-par voice performances, which, though not as bad as, say, Just Cause 2 or a poor ventriloquist, become tedious when the sound of a radio is just someone going “ZZZTT” into a desk mic that you could pick up for $30. Perhaps this is part of the game’s attempt at quirkiness.
The story progresses along, people die and others join your little group of controllable characters. This makes for some decent gameplay where you get to choose who goes on what missions and how to use who’s skills (a doctor in a wheelchair is not going to be good for stealth and sneaking around zombies) which adds a nice bit of strategy. The game provides some challenge because there is very little ammo just laying around and killing zombies in an isometric point-and-click means you are relying more on first strike than skills.
I have only really been concentrating on the single player element of the game because I have yet to get the multiplayer to contact the master server list. It seems like it is completely broken. I did host my own game and see that it was like the single player with the exception that you can only control one character instead of several.
Altogether, these quibbles don’t mean that the game is horrible, it’s just below par with most games today. Now this game tags itself as the first tactical zombie shooter but tactical zombie shooters have been around for a long time and with the genre becoming more and more crowded, to state that you are the first is just poor marketing. Though this game should be priced around 10-15 US to be competitive in today’s market stuffed with zombie shooters, this game is priced at what use to be a full commercial game in the late 90’s at 20 dollars.
Trapped Dead will help you kill a few hours and, maybe if you have a friend or two who’ll agree to a session, you can get something out of the multiplayer but I would wait until it’s on sale.