App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Twenty some odd years ago all I had was a Nintendo Entertainment System, and since I was too young to get a job most of the games I played were rentals. I would try to vary my selections every now and then but more often than not I would rent the same few games repeatedly because I knew I enjoyed them. One such game was Taito's love-letter to spies, Elevator Action. I would spend an entire weekend shooting out hall lights, crushing enemy agents and recovering classified documents. I still could.
Elevator Zombies is pretty much the same idea, only it features the living dead instead of black-clad spies and various power-ups and objective-based objects as opposed to top secret files. There are also a few other additions such as ammo counters, a machine gun, explosives, zombies of various makes and models, varied environments (i.e. same doors, different graphics) and a few special scenarios that almost steal the show. But more than anything it's the objectives that keep the experience feeling like a bit more than a simple copy/paste of the Taito classic.
There's a lot to enjoy in Elevator Zombies, although the core gameplay will probably forever be the biggest draw. Still, it looks good with its vibrant colors and mostly well done animations. It's also pretty tough to put down. Especially when some levels cut the power and reduce visibility to a small area, then things get interesting. Unfortunately the "blackout" concept isn't utilized nearly enough, resulting in most stages following the basic "opening doors" guideline with little to no variation. Some levels will use survivors while others use files or supplies, but it all boils down to pressing up in front of the right door. It doesn't make it any easier to stop, but it can get repetitive after a bit.
However, failure to live up to its potential isn't the worst of Elevator Zombies' transgressions. That honor goes to the controls. They aren't awful, but they do tread dangerously close to pretty bad. The movement buttons don't always respond right away, most likely due to their size and placement. Jumping is a thing that exists but aside from avoiding trapdoors that are usually never spotted in time in the first place it serves absolutely no purpose. Although if I could simply use it to jump across an open elevator shaft I'd have nothing bad to say about it. Seriously though, if the controls were cleaned up this would be perfect. Or at least as close to it as possible.
Despite the problematic controls that occasionally get in the way, Elevator Zombies is still a lot of fun. Having a bit more diversity to the buildings (i.e. special level conditions specific to each theme) would have been cool and seems like a missed opportunity, but there's still plenty of old-school goodness to appease fans of the long-dead franchise. Now if only someone would revitalize the original... HINT-HINT.