Busy. Not a very good excuse, but nevertheless true. The chaotic mixture of moving country, playing Sleeping Dogs and getting back into Skyrim has taken its toll on my ability to knock out a decent bit of content for this website.
Then there was The Walking Dead. The last couple of episodes of Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead serialised game has been sitting on my hard drive for a few months (thank you steam for yet another great deal). I’d dabbled a bit with the first part, and wasn’t really in the right space for a retro-ish point and click adventure with zombies in it. With the recent release of the third episode, I though I’d have another bash as it, else The Walking Dead becomes another game in my, ever-increasing, backlog.
Whilst I’d never read an issue of The Walking Dead comic book (on which Telltale’s game is based) I did like the TV show. Rather a lot, as it happens.
Now I don’t generally find horror movies horrific, but when it comes to zombie movies…well, I get creeped out a bit. It’s probably something to do with me watching the now classic 80s video nasty, Zombie Flesh Eaters when I was eleven. It was the dawn of the video era and, in those more innocent times my father would bring home knocked off pirate videos from “a bloke at work”. He would usually vet their appropriateness for my viewing by laying on the sofa watching the first ten minutes or so before falling asleep and waking up to the credits. Providing nothing OTT happened in the first few minutes I was laughing. That’s how I got to watch the original unedited version of Flesh Eaters.
Ever since then the idea of zombies, the dead coming back to life, freaks me out a bit. The whole idea that someone can be your buddy one minute and one undead bite later they are trying to eat you alive I find horrific. It is possibly due to the above that I find myself drawn to the zombie genre.
Anyway, back to The Walking Dead game. As I mentioned, the game is based on the comic book that the AMC TV show is based on rather than the TV show itself. Whilst the game does briefly feature some of the of the characters familiar to viewers of the TV show, it is their comic-book counterparts and not the character from the small screen.
The game story runs parallel to the, quite frankly, bleak story from the page the comic book. It’s graphic (like the comic-book) and more disturbing than the TV show (again like the comic-book). The narrative reveals the main danger that the survivors face in the zombie infested world, something that the TV viewers will have to wait for season three to discover, and that’s that whilst the zombies threat is manageable; its people that pose the most threat. The story’s emphasis on the breakdown of civilized society is really the lynchpin of The Walking Dead. It is a world of difficult choices, new rules and gruesome consequences. The Walking Dead game pulls this off to a tee.
The game takes its look straight from the pages of the comic book with a refreshing art style that looks more like hand-drawn comic-book pages than a video game.The gameplay harks back to the days of point and click adventures (for those old enough to remember the Monkey Island games or their more recent HD remakes), but with a modern action twist courtesy of quick-time style sequences (I say style, they are better than the usual QT). The game gives player a decent mix of puzzles and frights. There a real sense of danger in some of the sequences that go right against the normal laid-back adventure game experience. Telltale has crafted a story where any one of the characters that you’ve grown to love or hate is potential moments from a gruesome death.
The first three episodes of Telltale’s 5-part The Walking Dead game are out now and available on Xbox Live, The PlayStation Network and on PC via Valve’s Steam service.
Once I’d finished the three episodes, which took about 2-3 hours a piece, I still hungered for a bit more Walking Dead. Lucky for me, Robert Kirkman – the co-creator of The Walking Dead – has been busing writing the comic-book for over ten years, which that meant that there were over 100 comics waiting for me to read.
The Walking Dead comic book is quite a bit different from the TV show in that it has a faster pace and thus a higher body count. beloved characters in the TV show die off early at an alarming rate. Also some of the graphic deaths are borderline sickening.
Part of me cynically thought, whilst reading through the books, that Kirkman had a licence to print money with the Walking Dead. The books feature a revolving door of characters in a multitude of easily dreamt up post-apocalyptic situations and locations. Whenever the story starts to settle down the sudden demise of a major character, that we’ve been following for ten to twenty issues (a year or two in comic book issues), pumps new life into the narrative. Like most successful creatives Robert Kirkman is part genius and part lucky bastard. Saying that, who would have thought that zombies would become so en vogue; perhaps they were the natural balance to the Twilight saga!
Despite my cynicism. I really enjoyed The Walking Dead comic book. I did feel that the story was a bit rushed in places and some of the situations a bit tenuous, but on the whole it is a chilling and entertaining story. The subtext, which is the fall of human society is not very subtle, poignantly stated by the protagonist, Rick Grimes as realises that it is not the zombie, but the human survivors that are the walking dead.
Again, sorry about the shameless plug, but I’d recommend The Walking Dead comic-book to any comic-book fan or fan of The Walking Dead game/TV Show. It is up to issue 101 in t he comic shops, but it is also available in a variety of collected editions as well.
It’s looking rather likely that I’ll be receiving a media pass to the this year’s EB Games Expo here in Sydney. The show runs from October 5th to 7th at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. This year is looking to be huge, a massive upgrade from last years show on the Gold Coast. With the massive amount of stuff on show and available to play it’s looking to be the next best thing to going to E3!! Check out www.ebexpo.com.au for more info!
That’ll do for now, but I promise to be a little more frequent with my posts from now on!