Boxhead: The Zombie Wars –A purposely-pixelated, third-person shooter with all manner of the undead and enemies undesirable
Once You Go Boxhead..
What is it with entertainment and the undead? Everywhere you look there’s some sort of zombie invasion going on. A killer mutant virus here, a deadly pathogen there, and Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation has I a lot to answer for, but zombie-based entertainment isn’t merely restricted to TV shows or Resident Evil: the flash game market has a juicy selection of titles to offer as well. One of my most recent findings of the terrifying zombie world is Boxhead: The Zombie Wars, and my word am I late to perhaps the best party that I’ve had in years. Complicated premise? You won’t find one here. Self-indulgent and sub-par storyline? None of those in sight either, so what’s it all about? Well, have you ever wished for a zombie game that you could play instantly by letting your shooting game instincts take over and the sublime game design does the rest? Well, Boxhead: The Zombie Wars is one of these rare gems, and it may be a long while before I can even look at another flash-based zombie game again.
Survival of the Fittest
The primary aim of the entire game regardless of which mode or level you decide to play is survival. You must try and stay alive for as long as possible as increasingly large waves of zombies and their supernatural friends wander on screen and try to reduce your health to a level that reduces your chance of living to zero and below. You use the directional arrow keys to move your box-headed protagonist around the screen and press space to shoot, with the number keys allowing you to select particular weapons (though Z and X can be used if you are the scrolling type of shooting game fan) that will be your only tools for ensuring your survival.
For a game whose concept is as simple as ‘surviving’, though, there are many ways to go about staying alive thanks to the inventive choice of weapons you have at your disposal. You can go all-out Rambo style and blast your way to continued existence using the various weapons such as the pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher, minigun, and eventually an air strike, or you can choose to take a more defense approach. Explosive barrels can be laid down to both block and blow up the zombies, and individual barricade sections can be laid on the floor at your discretion, allowing you to control the flow of enemies or even barricade yourself within a perimeter from which you can proceed to take more leafs from John Rambo’s playbook.
Mostly Original, Completely Sublime
The game’s wave-based structure isn’t anything new, but the upgrade system is fairly unique in that scoring kill combos/multipliers allows rewards you with upgrades for your various weapons. The variety of enemy to content with is also quite diverse, with standard zombies not being very deadly but the more levels and waves that you survive through, the tougher the enemies become, with vampires, high-speed runners, and flame-shooting devils also coming onto the scene in increasing number. Don’t forget that the game also has a defense mode where barricades and turrets are already set up and you must survive from there.
Whether you’re a long-serving fan of Sean Cooper’s Boxhead series or not, there is no denying that this game’s got game, from the relentless third-person shooter format, weapons upgrades, game modes, and difficulties right the way through to one of the most distinctive aesthetics I’ve ever seen in a flash game involving purposely-pixelated and boxy graphics with some sublime weapons sounds. This game isn’t just one that you can spend five minutes on: it will strip you of all your spare time before you even know it has done so, making an hour feel like a mere five minutes and fellow survival games like The Last Stand: Union City look like child’s play.