Back in 2005, I reviewed a game called Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse. I was charmed and thoroughly enjoyed the game which blended the camp of old horror films with some fun and creative ways to take down enemies.
I had expected a sequel to emerge but sadly despite solid reviews it never came to be and was canceled when a development studio closed.
Flash forward to 2021 and Stubbs is making his triumphant return. Stubbs is not going the remastered route and touting enhanced graphics and other common updates for older games. Instead, the game is content to go with some enhancements to the controls and bring the experience to modern consoles.
For those unfamiliar with the game, players play as Stubbs; a Hat wearing, chain-smoking Zombie who emerges from the ground in the ideal community of Punchbowl.
Seeing as it is 1959; Punchbowl is an advanced city complete with Monorails, robots, jet packs, ray guns, and other futuristic hardware. This is of no concern for Stubbs as he has become smitten with the image of a popular celebrity and becomes obsessed with finding her. The fact that her son is the Mayor complicates things as nobody wants to welcome a rotting Zombie into the community.
Stubbs is highly-determined and faces legions of citizens, farmers, police, military, scientists, and more to complete his mission. Aside from being able to punch, kick, and bite his victims to power himself up and gain legions for his Zombie Horde; Stubbs has some really creative talents which he will need to complete his tasks.
Stubbs can use parts of his anatomy as an explosive that can be remotely detonated after being thrown. This is ideal for taking out tanks or large clusters of enemies. Should an enemy have the high ground or a weapon Stubbs might find useful; he can detach his arm and manipulate it to find a victim who will then be under his control. Capturing an armed enemy and turning their firepower against them is great fun and a key to survival.
A diet of brains gives Stubbs some digestive issues and when his special powers regenerate; he is capable of unleashing epic flatulence which will incapacitate enemies allowing Stubbs and the horde to feed and replenish his powers.
Stubbs also has the ability to remove his head and use it as an exploding Bowling Ball to take out fortified groups. While the game uses a regenerative health system; eating enemies is key to faster recharge as it not only powers Stubbs up faster but allows more Zombies to be created which he can use to swarm enemies and accomplish various tasks.
There are also vehicles for Stubbs to drive such as Jeeps, tanks, tractors, and more which allows for fast and fun removal of enemies. Locales in the game are fun and diverse such as farms, police stations, malls, labs, and more and the grainy and at times darker tint to the visuals gives the impression of being immersed into a classic horror film of old.
The game holds up very well after 16 years and is as much fun to play now as it was then. I did not get to play the multiplayer as it requires co-op on the same system so playing it on a PC was not an option for me but should be great fun for console owners.
Stubbs is back and better than ever and I hope we will see him again soon rather than having to wait another 16 years or more.
4 stars out of 5