In 2005, a small OG Xbox game called Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse was introduced to the world, but it didn’t get much attention at the time. It had a unique premise, and it’s a game I have fond memories of. The forgotten game Stubbs the Zombie was somewhat difficult to find and play, one of the most coveted collectibles on the Xbox, but original developer/publisher Aspyr has finally brought it back to modern consoles, including the Switch. Is it compatible with nostalgia?
You play as Stubbs, an undead salesman resurrected from his grave in the brand new Punchbowl City, a city of the future (at least by 1950s standards), complete with flying cars and robots. When Stubbs awakens, he embarks on a personal journey, raising an army of the undead to help him. The story is exactly what you’d expect: goofy, silly and often hilarious, with many of his own gags that are still surprisingly well received after all these years. The fact that the game doesn’t take itself seriously at all is perhaps its greatest asset.
Stubbs has a number of skills to help him with his plans. By biting the brains of your victims, you can kill enemies, turn them into allies, and replenish your other skills. You can also throw parts of your body (or even your head) as a sort of explosive, you can fart to stun enemies, and, best of all, you can throw an arm to take control of a human target to use its weapons. These skills are fun, but there are very few of them and they can get a little boring after a while.
This game is very similar to the one released in 2005, with some changes to the controls to give it a more modern look. Stubbs Zombie is best when exploring semi-open areas and causing as much chaos as possible. It’s a pleasure to collect an army of dead and use them to move on to the next objective. It’s a unique, incredibly engaging game cycle that you don’t often see in modern games, with the exception of the remake of Destroy All Humans. These moments alone make the game worth buying.
Unfortunately, these open levels are not shown often enough. The more open maps are often replaced by boring linear missions. This raises a lot of questions about the pacing, where some parts of the game tend to drag on and go against the grain, forcing you through one linear corridor after another without much thought until you get to the next map. It’s much less fun to experiment and enjoy the mechanics of the game, rather than slowly work through each encounter. Often I just use the possession technique and pull those parts to get it over with as quickly as possible.
As anyone who has played Stubbs the Zombie over the years knows, this game runs on the original Halo engine. Exactly the same iteration as the one in Halo 2 to be exact. This fact draws attention every time the game is mentioned, and even on the box of retail copies on the Xbox OG. This remaster is no different, as it is almost a 1:1 port of the game with slightly larger textures here and there, and a more stable frame rate and resolution. I know what to expect from him.
Despite the glaring issues with the game’s speed and the fact that it’s an improved port of a game originally released three generations ago, Stubbs the Zombie is still worth playing today. The charming story, lighthearted attitude, and unique gameplay is something you don’t often see these days.
|It’s very similar to the 2005 game, but with a higher resolution and a more stable refresh rate.||Stubbs’ game is attractive and holds up well, but it lacks variety.|
|The noise design remains the same as in 2005. Some aspects of it age very well, while others show some age scars.||Stubbs Zombie always had the potential to be a great game, but it was always limited by the linear level design. This version is no different, although the portability is a nice touch.|
|Last block : 7.0|
Zombie Rebellion’s non-swinging models are available now on PC, Xbox One/Series, Playstation 4/5 and Switch. The original version was released for the Xbox.
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A copy of Stubbs zombie in rebellion without a pulse was provided by the publisher.
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