previews\ Feb 13, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia - 360 - Preview

It’s almost April and SouthPeak is gearing up to release their newest Xbox 360 game, Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia. No, this isn’t a monster truck racing game set in a subdivision; Monster Madness is a zombie killer of a game that can be described as one part Dead Rising, one part Gauntlet Legends, and a whole lot of Zombies Ate My Neighbors. With the subtitle Battle for Suburbia, Monster Madness has a tongue-in-cheek storyline set in the ‘burbs where you play as a mismatched group of high school kids as they kill hordes and hordes of zombies with the occasional boss battle thrown in for good measure. The preview build of the game showcased the game’s crazy action and interactive environments, and harkened back to an old-school game formula (complete with a pretty nasty difficulty level) that will appeal to those looking for a balls-to-the-wall adventure.

In Monster Madness, you begin by choosing between the four protagonists, which are a nerd, a goth girl, the pretty preppie girl and a skater kid (a little Breakfast Club-ish, I know) as they fight through an unexplained zombie coup d’etat of their neighborhood. They find whatever objects they can use as weapons, from plungers to lawnmowers, and try to take their homes back from the undead siege. The storyline unfolds through a series of manga-esque cutscenes that show the characters interacting with each other as well as people that they meet along their journey.

The controls are a pretty interesting take on the top-down action genre, and actually have more in common with first-person shooters than they do with games like X-Men Legends. You control your character’s movement with the left thumbstick and point them in a different direction using the right thumbstick. Clicking them down will allow you to dodge and jump, respectively, while your right trigger will let you attack with your weapon.

The game is pretty tough right from the get-go. Your character begins in their house when zombies suddenly begin pouring in. These aren’t your average lumbering zombies, as they have some pep to them and will tear at you quickly and with ferocity. While virtually anything you find can be used as a weapon, early on you’ll employ the help of Larry, a guy who can make new ranged weapons for you like nail guns and RPGs. In order to get these weapons you must find items throughout the stage, like nails, screws and adhesive tape.

Graphically, the game has a pretty cartoony look, almost like a CGI film like Monster House. The characters are pretty well represented and the environments are detailed, and the game has some pretty cool special effects. The voice acting is a little weak at this point, however, and the music sounds a bit simplistic.

Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia is a pretty fun throwback to the old-school days of light storylines, copious enemies, and hardcore difficulty. Look for it in April.

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