I remember one day going into a GameStop and perusing the shelves, as I always do, when my eyes rested upon a Nintendo DS game that just screamed at me, "Buy this now!" Why? Well, the title was the first thing that caught my eye. In big letters, the game proudly announced itself as Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ. A name like that just sounds ridiculously awesome. I took a look at the back cover and, sure enough, the game is exactly what the title advertises. You play as Little Red Riding Hood or Momotaro (the hero who was born out of a peach in Japanese folklore) as you carve your way through hordes of zombies with an assortment of guns. Plus, it only cost $20. So awesome name, awesome premise, awesome price... but what really convinced me to buy it without hesitation was my penis.
Yep, my penis.
...because Little Red Riding Hood is so fucking boobiliscious. I mean, just look at her.
That's pretty sexy. Now, usually, buying a video game because your erection told you to is not a good idea. Lots of game companies use sex to sell their games. This does not necessarily mean the game is good, but, like I said before, awesome name, awesome premise, awesome price. I decided this was a safe bet. I was right.
This game is solid fun. That's just all there is to it. It's not too different from your typical shooter. Each stage has you constantly moving forward, ala rail shooters, but you can move left and right using the D-pad and the stylus. Zombies come at you and you mow them down. What makes this game special is it's own craziness.
Let me explain the premise in full detail. You are Little Red Riding Hood, we got that, but she's a sexy, gun-toting bad ass. She just got done blasting the hell out of the Big Bad Wolf and is mourning the death of the Woodsman, who died in the battle. Suddenly, the dead rise out of the grave and most of the world has been zombified. It's up to Red to take them down and find the cause of the uprising.
Along the way, you fight undead versions of classic fairy tale characters: Red's grandmother, a giant Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, even Santa Claus wants to eat your brains. The design on the monsters and bosses is awesome, with a macabre cartoony feel. And fighting each boss is a challenge. I think I had to try each one a couple times before I beat them.
The controls are both interesting and frustrating. At the bottom of the screen are seven squares that define your character's range of movement. Left and right on the D-pad makes the character move one square at a time, but there are times when you need to be faster than that. Tapping on a specific square with the stylus makes your character dash to that spot, which makes dodging easier. Actually, just about everything in this game is controlled by the stylus: shooting, selecting weapons, ducking, etc. You do so much with the stylus that you get hand cramps pretty quickly. Another thing is that, unless you have a really long stylus and hold it a funny way, your hand is going to get in the way of the touch screen, which means you can't see your character. Both screens show the action, with the top screen showing what's in the distance, but it's a pain in the ass to have my eyes contending with my hand while I'm playing. This is the biggest flaw in the game, because the bottom screen is just too damn busy to have your hand in the way.
So the controls weren't executed perfectly, but it is still a lot of zombie blasting fun. It does require some serious stylus skills, though, so get that hand working. For being a cheap DS game, it doesn't feel like you're getting some bargain basement crap or some shitty shovelware. This game is definitely worth a shot.
By the way, this game may look like it was an obscure game from Japan, but it actually was created by a game company in Spain. Believe it or not.
But this game came out last year. Why am I telling you about it now? Because I caught wind of a game coming out for WiiWare in December called Zombie Panic in Wonderland. Let's check out the similarities. This game features zombies in a fairy tale setting, a samurai hero, a sexy fairy tale character (Snow White this time), similar gameplay (although this game is 3D), and a very similar art style. This is more than mere coincidence.
After a little digging, I found out that Jose Manuel Iniguez, the studio director for Akaoni (the company making the game), was the producer and game designer for Zombie BBQ. He must have enjoyed the idea of zombies in fairy tales that he's making another go at it.
Whether it's a sequel to Zombie BBQ or just it's spiritual successor, Zombie Panic in Wonderland seems to have improved the control formula that the first game introduced. Movement is with the nuchuck, while the Wiimote aims and fires. There isn't a lot of info about it right now, but it does look to capture the insane fun that Zombie BBQ had (though I think that Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ is still the better title).