Review: Bloody Streets

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“Top-down zombie killer” is probably one of the lowest bars to clear for game development. You need a player character that moves and shoots, enemies that approach in large, slow groups, and enough space to kite the whole mess of them around. Bloody Streets ticks all of those boxes and doesn’t really find any new ones to shoot for. If that’s enough for your, great, but the whole time I was playing I kept thinking about how much more could be done with the formula.

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You play some military dude on his way to clear out a host of the infected in some part of a ruined city. Something happens to his helicopter, and… You know what? I don’t even remember this part and I watched it an hour ago. You’re a shootman, you shoot deadmans. Holding out through three waves is enough for another copter to come pick your guy up and deposit him in the next hive of the undead, on and on and on. I think there are four general areas, themed around industry or farms or other places that really should not be thronging with the walking dead.

This one’s pure keyboard/mouse, allowing you full range of movement and freedom to shoot in any direction. That’ll come in handy because each wave of enemies surges out of the very walls of the level, without any clear points of entry and virtually no warning. Starting out you’ll just have slow zombies and the occasional fast one, but a few levels in your foes will branch out into large zombies, exploding zombies, spitting spiders, and swarming maggots. Every few levels you’ll unlock a new weapon to level against the hordes, everything from revolvers to miniguns, but really only the high-capacity guns are any use since you have to scramble about for ammo whilst blazing away.

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The only other features I can highlight are the environmental hazards like exploding barrels and speeding trains, and the rage ability you get by collecting orbs off of enemies and activate to become invulnerable and splatter things that touch you. That’s pretty much everything you need for a baseline zombie arena shooter, from enemies to weapons to basic special powers, and that also describes Bloody Streets to a T. There are no upgrades, no collectibles, no currency, no secrets, no branching paths, absolutely nothing beyond the most basic necessities to call your game a zombie shooter.

Graphically the game is just as functional as its design, and the sound effects have some pretty robust samples to enhance your reloading experience in particular. You get around 20 levels of action that really just change up the enemy compositions and environmental hazards, and that’s it. I’d say that’ll last you around two hours tops, so if all you’re asking is the baseline zombie-killing experience you’ll find it right here. I can’t really thumb down a game that does what it’s supposed to do in a competent way, but I can certainly point out there are plenty of games that do it better.

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