Game Name: Zombie VirusGame Also known as: Simple 2000: Vol. 95 ~ The Zombie vs. Kyuukyuusha (which translates to The Zombie vs. Ambulance in English!)
Game Developer: Vingt-et-un Systems (Vingt-et-un from what I can tell means 21 in French which is also the French name for Blackjack. So my best guess is that the company’s name probably translates to “Blackjack Systems”)
PAL Release: 23/03/07
Game Type: Driving
Game Description: (Taken from the back of the box!)
You are a young medical student at a hospital in Sunlight City, a perfect City, created by the Utopia Development Project. One day, whilst you are in the university hospital basement doing research, an earthquake strikes the city. The whole city is suddenly covered in dark clouds and an eerie silence. Everybody is Dead!
OR THAT’S WHAT YOU THOUGHT!
But When you venture out of the hospital, you discover that the city is swarming with dead people – the living dead! You and your friend Suzie (I bet that’s not her name in the original Japanese game ~ Danny) soon discover that their are still survivors in the town. You must take the ambulance and rescue the people around the city!…
(The box goes on and on about the game’s features and such but I think you get the idea!)
Zombie Virus holds a very special place in my heart as it’s one of the first ever game I imported from Japan back when I had a PS2 that could play import games. This title was also one of the first D3 Publisher games I ever owned. Who are D3 Publisher you ask? Well that’s a very good question, one I should answer for you to fully understand this game and where it came from.
D3 Publisher are known in Japan for making tons of tons of budget games in fact they are the biggest budget game publisher around. If these guys where a movie company they would be known as the masters of ‘remakespoltation’. They generally tend to borrow other peoples ideas an make a lower budget version of the game.
The reason why they are able to publish so many games at once is because D3 have a tone of small developers making games for them which D3 go on to release at a very microscopic price. Seriously you could of brought these games in Japan for roughly £5.
Well sometimes some of the developers for D3 Publisher would think of ideas of there own and these would normally be a very mixed bag. Some where downright dreadful while other where hailed as cult classics and some of the best cheap games money could buy for the PS2.
Zombie Virus is an “original” title so to speak, well original meaning it’s not directly inspired by a game on the same system like most of D3’s games are anyway. Although it’s clearly inspired by games like Carmageddon and Crazy Taxi although admitted the two have never been mixed before. The entire reason I picked it up when I first saw it in import websites like Play-Asia was because of it’s original Japanese title. The Zombie vs Ambulance. I literally crapped myself in glee when I first saw that title. I did not care what the game was like all I knew was that this crazy budget game has a rivalry between two completely random things and had one of the best titles I have even seen for a video game. This I would like to called the “Snakes on a Plane” effect where the makers of the game or movie came up with a title so awesome that you just feel compelled to check it out.
So yeah that’s enough of the history lesson, what is this game like I hear you cry? Well the game itself is very simple. All you do is run over zombies, rescue survivors and return to base before the morale of the hospital drops of zero. (it’s essentially the time limit in this game!) While back at base you can use body parts from all the zombies you ran over (eww!) to make new vehicles and upgrade existing vehicles. The upgrades that you make for your ambulances do show up on your ambulance when you equip them which is cool. A lot of the upgrades are pretty wacky and will help tremendously in your fight against the undead. Once in awhile you are asked to rescue special people to progress the plot or defeat a big boss monster but other than that your a mostly driving around a rather square looking city running over zombies in your supped up death ambulance and rescuing people which will mean that the gameplay will get repetitive for some people after a while.
The presentation is not top draw in this game. While it is eerie and quite spooky in places you can tell this game was made on a budget. Everything has a low-polygon feel to it and the textures are very repetitive and grainy looking. The zombies, while looking ok animate very stiffly which is highlighted especially when you run them over as they fall down in a rather ropey fashion with a huge splatter of blood going everywhere. All of this is to be expected from a game which both here in the UK and in Japan I have not paid more than £5 for.
The game itself is pretty fun and is some great mindless entertainment. Don’t expect it to hold your attention for long or have much replay value. But I must say I have showed this to many friends and they all enjoyed fooling around in this game. It’s a bizarre concept but it does work and if you can find this game for cheap then it’s a worth addition to anyone who like budget games on the PS2 and can overlook a few flaws.
Best Bit: The Japanese title of this game, or running over a massive horde of zombies with a fully upgraded ambulance.
Worst Bit: Game can feel a little repetitive after awhile.
Most Memorable Line: Anything that the female announcer says pretty much.