Alive 4-ever one of the better zombie shooters amongst us

Posted: August 26, 2009 in RPG, Shooter

If the iTunes store is good for anything, it’s apparently zombie shooters which get churned out like they’re going out of style. If anything, devs are becoming more creative in creating zombie games which ultimately is good for gamers. The latest and well, good game is Alive 4-ever, a classic shooter that has good intentions when it comes to style, but could use some variety if it knew any better. For an initial release, I have to commend the devs for putting a more or less complete game together which cannot be taken for granted these days.

When it comes to features, Alive 4-ever exceeds expectations from the diverse character selection and certain RPG elements to the variety of weapons and missions. At the current intro price, the content certainly is one of the best values you’ll see in the iTunes store. In Alive 4-ever, you can select from among 4 different characters—Steve Carter, Taza Thorpe, Anna Lennox, Wallace Milner—each with his or her own set of weapons and abilities. The game has 4 save slots so theoretically, you can start and save a game using each of these characters.

Visually, the animation and graphics are very good and especially good enough that you can see zombie blood spatter after you kill them. Soundwise, the music is chaotic and conveys a sense of desperation, just what you need in a game about brain-eating monsters. Even survivors have a voice in asking for help which can be both helpful and annoying. By the way, you can also set the level of blood effects in the game, but of course, many will just leave it on the highest setting.

The game has 30 missions each with a mission objective to complete the mission within a certain time limit but also a challenge that when met, rewards characters with additional defensive equipment. The missions in general consist of rescuing survivors, acquiring vaccine or shooting a specific number of zombies or zombie-related creatures. One nice touch with Alive 4-ever is the addition of a challenge within each mission that when completed, award a bonus piece of equipment such as bulletproof vests, ammo, gun clips and additional health among other items. For example, one mission may have the objective of shooting 50 zombies and a challenge of acquiring two vaccines. Killing 50 zombies will complete the mission while acquiring the two vaccines will yield you with a bonus piece equipment.

Alive 4-ever’s dual-control stick scheme is one really one of the better set-ups I’ve played with simply because it works. The pad on the left controls movement, and the right pad is for aiming and shooting. The responsiveness and accuracy are extremely tight and definitely make this game better than many others that come to mind.

Because Alive 4-ever has RPG elements, no matter which character you choose, ability points are awarded based on successfully completing missions that can be allocated to HP, bullets, hit rate, and curing efficiency. In addition, characters earn experience and level up based on meeting mission objectives and challenges which make your character faster and more accurate. And of course upon, completing missions, you earn gold which can be used to purchase/unlock additional weapons.

The weapons section is pretty good in terms of providing an good overview of each weapons power and ability to reload quickly. And, it’s also set up so you can try out your weapons of choice to see what’s most effective for you. During the in-game play, you can shuffle between multiple weapons, and in many cases, you’ll have access to more weapons than you even knew.

During a game, there are various items to help your character such as the HP Recovery Pack (health), Gun Cartridge Pack, Gold Bullion, and Vaccine. One additional feature that is rather nice touch is the Rescue Counter which can be accessed anytime during the game to illustrate how you’re doing in terms of meeting mission objectives and challenges. Keep in mind though that when this is accessed, the game is still live with attacking zombies who don’t stop for anything.

The gameplay is fun and entertaining and the missions themselves are challenging. In many cases, especially when it comes to the boss fights, experimentation with weapons will be your friend. This is why the RPG elements and the ability to unlock bigger and badder weapons fits nicely with this game because you can re-play previously completed levels to build up cash reserves. Zombies come in all shapes in sizes some bigger than others while others are just plain faster. And where would we be without zombies’ best friend, the zombie canine. In later missions that involve recovery of vaccine or survivors, using the action button enables you to pick up/drop off items or lead survivors to the Rescue Zone. One issue I have is that you cannot hold two items at once which is limiting and borderline frustrating especially when you’re under a time constraint. A handy yellow arrow points in the direction of items and survivors, and the game does a good job of randomizing where they are located. In replaying missions, these items and survivors hardly reappear in the same spot.

If the game has a flaw, it’s that the missions are repetitive, sorely repetitive. Playing the first few provides a good idea of how the remaining missions play out which mostly consist of acquiring something, bringing it back to the Rescue Zone or simply destroying a specific number or type of zombie within a large arena. The settings do change, but the missions are more or less the same. Having said that, the game still has a good deal of content for what it is, and it doesn’t better than many others by simply having missions.

Alive 4-ever is one of the more solid zombie shooters you can buy, and while the missions can be repetitive, the game’s RPG elements and weapons upgrades make it better than most shooters in general. If you enjoy shooters and zombies or a combination of that, then Alive 4-ever is a good pick. I do hope that the devs continue to update the game because they have full-featured foundation that only needs some variety to spice it up.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (solid zombie shooter that is only lacking in variety for its missions; RPG elements work well and is really a nice addition for a game of this type and value)


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