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SAS Zombie Assault 3 is exactly what it says on the box - a Shoot At Sight (AKA Shoot 'em up) game where you get to kill zombies; lots and lots of zombies. It is a military themed game with military rankings and equivalent stripes denoting rank. The weapons are also based on popular and common military guns mixed with other popular guns that are used all over the world. The fun part about this game is that it has a long progress tree and you get to kill and unlock more good stuff even after unlocking and winning all the maps. There are varied enemies and a huge list of weapons to be unlocked. Read on to find out more.
At the beginning, you can go through the in-game manual to understand the basics of the game play. It will teach you controls, the types of enemies that you will meet and some more. You will be dropped on the first map called the 'Farmhouse' and once you win, you will unlock the next one called the 'Airbase'. This is followed by 'Karnivale', the unpronounceable 'Verdanntenstadt' and the final 'Black Isle'.
Once you go through choosing your weapon and loading them in to the six available in-game weapon slots, you are ready to go. You will have a top down view of your map and the artwork makes it look 3D. One problem that you might face with this is that you might lose sight of your character by scrolling too far away from it. I will talk more about that in the controls section.
The normal course to take is to progress through all the maps in one go. This is because at the beginning you can take it easy and work through unlocking all the maps. Once you start leveling up to higher levels, this will become difficult. Maps do not remain static in their difficulty. As you level up, the game will start adjusting to your new weapons and send more zombies at you. Waves will start including higher-level zombies like the self-replicating 'Mamushka' or the quite unstoppable 'Shadow'. One thing you can't complain about is the variety of zombies. You got six different types to play with or shoot at, to be more precise. Although, you won't really see the sixth type till you really level up. The 'Devastator' wasn't named that way because it's easy to deal with!
Zombies come in waves. As a rule, initial waves are least difficult with every wave getting tougher in progression. During the first stages you will have fewer waves to each mission, like 2-3. As you level up, this number will begin to grow. At just Rank 9, you can have as many as 6 waves with everything but the 'Devastator' thrown in to the fray. And you can progress really far, there are guns locked for when you reach rank 40 or so. Yes, you have to be hardcore to reach the top.
In the beginning you will just have a Glock to play with. However, soon you will progress on to SMGs and other rifles like the ever-helpful AK47. It will take you some time to get there but if you are lucky, you get in-game bonuses whilst you are on a mission and those can be really powerful guns. There are sentry guns and space cadet guns and more. However, one of the most useful things to get as a weapon bonus is a frag grenade. As you progress upwards, there's a high chance that you will be cornered by a horde of approaching zombies. Dropping a grenade or two and running around them is always a good idea because grenades have a splash damage that kills all enemy units around them. Interestingly, your unit wont be harmed at all.
You will have a full range of weapons to unlock inside the game. Just to give you an idea - there are five different types of pistols, six different assault rifles, five machine guns and much more. There's also a semi-automatic grenade launcher. All of these will have to be unlocked by leveling up.
Ammunition for pistols is always unlimited, so you don't have to buy any. But for all others, you will have to buy ammunition and price varies. But don't worry, it is affordable compared to the amount of in-game money you will gather by killing hordes of zombies. Just remember, you get paid if you win and you get paid if you get killed. But if you quit midway, you don't get paid or gather points.
One more thing to remember is the clip count - every weapon has different capacity clips and you will have to keep an eye out for the clips to run out. Because there will be around a 3 second delay whilst a new clip is loaded. It is better to time this to match the gap between two hordes. In fact, if you just killed a bunch of zombies and the next ones a bit far away, check your clip. If it has just a few rounds left, fire empty shots and reload at once. You really don't want to run out while you are surrounded or cornered by zombies. You'd be surprised how often that happens if you are not paying attention.
Each weapon, whether locked or unlocked, will show you its full stats. These are ratings of features like 'Damage', 'Accuracy', 'Fire Rate', etc. Since this is a game where you can't really continue to snipe beyond a certain point, the ideal gun has a long clip, great accuracy, high stopping power, good range and moderate firing rate. The AK47 is in fact really good at this. Some of the pistols and revolvers have amazing accuracy and stopping power but they have really small clips. For example, you will love using the .44 Magnum (yes, the same legendary Magnum that you keep hearing about everywhere) but it only has 8 rounds and then you have to reload. So you can use it for initial waves but you will need a good assault rifle for the thick of the skirmish.
Training & Leveling Up
You would be doing most of your training on the Farmhouse map because it has 40% more points as bonus. The Airbase map also has a bonus but it is only 20%. There's no separate training level as such, so just play the Airbase and Farmhouse maps over and over again. I promise you won't get bored because every time you visit, it will just get harder and harder to survive the waves. It keeps the challenge alive.
As mentioned earlier, the whole game adjusts to your new weapons. So you don't have easier or harder maps, just more zombies every time you revisit them. This game has a really long progression tree with lots of different guns to unlock. And the game gets pretty serious about Rank 6-7 onwards. So at Rank 10, dying because you were surrounded by a horde of zombies in a heartbeat is pretty common.
As you level up, you will progress through military ranks and gain stripes to match your rank.
If there's one complaint I have with this game, it is the control scheme. You can move your character using the usual 'WASD' key combo on the left of the keyboard and you use your pointer to rotate him 360 degrees. However, since this is actually 2D, the direction is all you need to be good with. And since movement is independent of direction, you can do a lot of tricky moves with the mouse and keyboard. It will become necessary when you are evading zombie hordes. With the top down view in place, you are basically maneuvering a hamster through a maze. A hamster with guns; really big guns.
Now all of this is fine really, till you factor in the part where the mouse pointer also scrolls the view of the map independent of the playing character. So if you hit the edge of the map too hard, you will scroll off a completely different part of the map losing sight of you character. And that is not a good thing to do when you are surrounded by Zombies and can be dead in an instant. Since this is a flash game playing in a small window within a browser, there's not much room to maneuver anyway. My advice? Keep the pointer tight around the body of the character and just use it for aiming. Sure you can have a look around when you are between waves but once you get the zombie radar in the initial stages, you won't really need it.
Artwork, Story and Audio
Artwork is quite good and there's definitely attention to detail. The game is slightly gory but then if you are playing a zombie themed game, you know what you signed up for. You will see guts and intestines spilling and lots of blood sprays and spills. The zombies themselves are well designed and, well, 'refreshingly' different from the other zombie games! The maps are all well drawn and have good detailing as far as textures and architectural features go.
There's not much of a story telling here. You are a soldier ordered in to the situation to clean up the mess. You get your orders in short military style briefings just as the map is loading. It's the same as everywhere - there's been a mysterious outbreak, follow the trail of bodies, clean up and destroy. Simple as cake - just shoot things and make them explode. Or better yet, set them on fire! Yes, you will get a flamethrower at some point.
The music and sound design is decent. Nothing striking about it but it manages to bring alive the scary and eerie feeling required for a zombie themed shooting game.
This is yet another easy to learn but tough to master game with a long progression tree that is designed to give you a long lasting gameplay experience. You would want to visit the game over and over again just to dominate larger hordes of zombies with better and more powerful weapons. The artwork and the operating menus are quite well designed and maintain the overall professional look of the game. They have also managed to keep up the variety in the different zombies, which is a good thing.
Adding to this are the last two maps, which are quite large and have good replay value. The only area where I have a problem is the independent pointer scrolling, which makes it harder to keep the view centered on the character. There's also a bit of a problem where the game gets stuck for a few moment without stopping the flow of events, so when its unstuck, you are dead or one blow away from it. However, I tried playing on different browsers and it seems more like a problem with Flash and it reacts to your browser and OS. Overall, it's a good zombie game with lots of gore and an almost unlimited amount of fun.