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May 8, 2008

Review: Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys
Ignition Entertainment, InLight Entertainment
Available now for Nintendo DS

Humans, succumbing to ray-guns, mind-control, and shiny flying saucers, have failed to defend their planet and let it fall easily into the clutches of the Big Brain and his army of brain thingys. The only hope left for mankind is three teenage zombies that have arisen from a graveyard disturbed in the invasion. The undead trio ignores their normal human victims in favour of the pulsing pink brains they see everywhere - all the while being lured to the ultimate lunch: THE BIG BRAIN!

Sounds like a bad B movie script doesn’t it? Well, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys is actually the newest Nintendo DS game from the people at InLight Entertainment, that sports a neat B movie/comic book genre. From the cut scenes, that have you turning your Nintendo DS on its side to read the pages like a comic book to the cheesy opening cinematic that reminds you of an old grind house movie trailer, Teenage Zombies is definitely different from any videogame you’ve ever play before.

In the game, you play as three different zombies, Zack "Half-Pipe" Boyd, Lori "Lefty" Lopez, and Finnigan "Fins" Magee, who all have different abilities and special power ups that are needed to destroy the army of brain thingys and to complete each side scrolling, plat-forming level. You can switch between each zombie at any time, just by tapping their coffin on the lower DS screen with your stylus. Each zombie shares an unhealthy meter that can be filled by eating the brains you kill or by assembling the random zombie parts you find during the level.

After you finish each level, you get to complete random mini games and don’t worry if you don’t get it right on the first try, because you can always try again. Your zombie trio will also get to face boss battles at the end of some levels too.

While I liked the concept the developers were going for with the whole B movie idea, I felt the game dropped off before it even got started. The first comic book scene had voice acting and a funky narration which made it so fun to watch, but every scene after that didn’t have any voice acting which made them boring to flip through. Some of jokes in the game were cute, but most fell flat, especially with no funny voice to tell them.

The graphics weren’t stellar, but they fit the whole comic book feel of the game, and I did like how the developers decided to put instructions into the levels as actual comic book text boxes you could climb up on. The sounds in the levels were very basic and I found the disassembled zombie you cart around was annoying with his “you found my leg” and “put me back together” comments.

Teenage Zombie could have been so much more, but it was almost like the game was finished before the developers could do everything they wanted with it. The 30 levels in the game will keep you busy for a while, but they just aren’t interesting enough to glue you to your DS screen. All in all, I wouldn’t suggest running out to buy this game, but a rental to check its originality wouldn’t hurt your sweet, juicy brains … BRAINS!

Rating 6.5 out of 10
Rent it!

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