Friday, June 8, 2012

Trapped Dead

Trapped Dead is a tactics game. You're in charge of a small group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse, and you need to...well, you know, survive, escape, whatever it is you do when you're a survivor of a zombie apocalypse. Whatever. Zombies, tactics, you get the idea.

I'm on the second level. In the first level, my guy's car broke down and he had to find help, but he found zombies instead. In the second level, the other guy in the car got injured and is bleeding to death or something, so they go to a hospital to look for a doctor and surprise, more zombies! There's a doctor too, but a bunch of zombies to get past first.

This is a seriously tactical game. It's all tactics. Like, for reals. You like tactics, you'll probably like this game. Let me walk through an example.

I come across a group of several zombies eating someone's entrails. If they spot me, they start shambling toward me to eat my entrails. At my disposal: a baseball bat, a first aid kit, and a pistol with 20 bullets. I need to get past those zombies to get to the doctor.

First I run behind the truck there. You can see I've already done that. I don't want to fight them out in the open because I'm outnumbered--they'll gang up on me and literally tear me to pieces. Even just a scratch could be deadly, because if I start bleeding, every other zombie in the area will home in on the scent and start shambling in my direction.

I could use the gun to try and take them out from a distance, but I have limited ammunition and it's not a guaranteed kill (this guy I'm controlling isn't very experienced with firearms, and he's not a very good shot). I'd rather not risk that right now if I can avoid it. It could work, but I think it's better to save the ammo--it would use up a lot of rounds to take them all out safely.

I could try and lure them out individually to engage them one at a time. Zombies are deadly in numbers, but if I can isolate them, I can knock them down with one good crack of the baseball bat and finish them off before they can get up again. But they're packed together a little too closely to safely attempt that here. If more than one of them sees me, I could be in trouble.

I end up going for stealth: I run past them behind another nearby car and manage to avoid being seen. If I'd been spotted, Plan B would have been to knock one down with the bat, knock the other down with the bat before the first one gets up, finish off the first one before it gets back on its feet, and then finish off the second one; if the third one saw me too, I'd have had to use the gun to shoot one of them and slow it down so I could deal with the other two first, or else retreat to a more favorable location and hope for them to naturally split farther away from one another as they chased me.

But it worked out, and I made it over here. There's my guy on the left. One zombie saw me and tried to follow me, but I waited in my cover and sucker-punched it with the bat when it turned the corner. Now I've got one zombie right near me on the other side of the thing I'm hiding behind, and another lone zombie near the door of the building I have to get to.

Lone zombies I can deal with, but it helps to sneak up on them and guarantee the first blow. I order my guy to quietly walk up to the zombie and smack it--it looks like it's focused on its meal right now, so I want to catch it off-guard if I can.

I notice a couple of other zombies over to the right and circle around the truck to take them out. They're spread out enough that I can easily engage them one-on-one, and it's not necessary to risk them wandering around later.

After taking out the last zombie by the door, I hit a checkpoint and get to save the game.

The next area has some individual zombies that I take out with the bat, some pairs of zombies that I take out with the timing method I already described, and a group of three or four zombies that I sneak past. I find the doctor and he joins my party, but since he's in a wheelchair, there's not much he can do to help.

On my way back, it seems some more zombies have wandered into the building and are waiting for me in the lobby. I try to lure them out one at a time, but it doesn't work and I die.

I try again from the checkpoint, and this time, I notice that they're coming into the lobby one at a time. So I try to get there before them and knock them out one at a time as they come in. My first attempt fails because I mess up the timing and get scratched. The blood lures them in all at once, and my guy's entrails get removed from his body once again.

I give it another shot and this time I camp near the door, the better to ambush them as they walk through. Sure enough, they take turns shambling their way in, and I manage to pummel them all into re-death! Ha!

I keep going, and it turns out there are way more zombies now than when I first went by.

There's a single zombie ahead of me and a group of zombies in the room to the side. My plan is to run up, beat the single zombie to a pulp, and then turn around and deal with any other zombies who spotted me through the door.

It was going smoothly until I ran out of energy. See, I tried to run past the door. Running takes up energy, and you need energy in order to swing a baseball bat hard enough to crack a zombie's knees. With my energy depleted, my swing was just a little too slow, and before I could finish off the two zombies, one of them bit me. The blood attracted half a dozen more zombies, and that was all she wrote.

In retrospect, I should think further ahead--I know I'm going to have to bring the doctor back this same way, so I ought to be killing as many zombies as I can to clear the way.

Anyway, when I went to reload my saved game to try again from the checkpoint, I got this:

I guess that's a good place to stop, then. 

I dunno, going in, I had really low expectations for this game, but maybe I didn't give it enough credit. The tactical gameplay is surprisingly engaging. It certainly could be worse. I'm not very far into the game, either--later on, I see in the trailer that there are, like, traps for you to set, and more characters, and stuff, so who knows.

There are definitely some issues, though. The controls are very laggy. The mouse doesn't move right. My clicks don't always register. Also, it does that crashing thing there sometimes when I try to reload a saved game--that's obviously bad.

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