Zombies Abound in ‘The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner’
By: Jeb Haught
DEVELOPER: Telltale Games
PUBLISHER: Telltale Games
SYSTEM: Windows 7/Vista/XP (Xbox 360, PS3)
PRICE: $10 download
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 4.0 stars (out of 5)
I’m not a fan of horror movies, but for some odd reason I can’t seem to satiate my need for zombie slaying! That’s why I really enjoy watching “The Walking Dead” TV show and playing the video game. Episode 3 of the video game was not only horrifying, but also it forced players to make extremely difficult choices. This set a high bar that “The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner” doesn’t quite surpass.
Players take on the role of a troubled man named Lee whose arrest by the police is disrupted by a worldwide zombie outbreak. Lee soon discovers a young girl who is all alone, and they band together to try and survive. Eventually they meet up with other survivors, and players are forced to make decisions that affect later portions of the game. In episode 4, the survivors arrive in a town called Savannah and search for a boat to escape the undead threat.
Fortunately, player decisions have more of an impact on the current and future episodes than they did in previous episodes. I also enjoy the fact that the writing in episode 4 has more … err … bite to it. Established characters are visibly changed by their horrific experiences and a new living enemy emerges.
There is also more gunplay in this episode than past ones, which would be welcome if the controls weren’t so unwieldy. Players use Lee to explore various areas on his own, but they feel a bit disjointed. On the plus side, conversation choices are remembered and offered as the default choice in future conversations.
Game play issues aside, “The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner” still temporarily satisfies my hunger for zombie cyber-violence.
‘Midway Arcade Origins’
DEVELOPER: Backbone Entertainment
PUBLISHER: Warner Bros. Interactive
SYSTEM: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB RATING: Teen
REVIEW RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Modern consoles, handheld devices and even cell phones provide such high-quality gaming entertainment that it’s easy to forget how far the video game industry has advanced in a short amount of time. However, a few hours playing the nostalgic compilation, “Midway Arcade Origins,” will definitely help anyone gain a newfound respect for modern game developers.
Believe it or not, this title contains thirty-one classic titles from the golden age of arcade gaming for less than $1 per game! I remember how easy it was to waste five dollars worth of quarters in less than fifteen minutes at the local arcade (which horrified my parents!), so this is quite a bargain! Fortunately, every single game is presented in it’s unrefined, vintage glory, so anyone who enjoyed these games in the arcade will like them at home.
Listing every single game would take up most of this review, but it’s safe to say that there is something to please everyone. Some of my favorites include: 720, Defender 1 and 2, Gauntlet 1 and 2, Rampage, Robotron 2084, Spy Hunter 1&2, and Xenophobe. Most of the games in this compilation focus on combat of some sort, but A.P.B., Bubbles, Marble Madness, Root Beer Tapper, Super Sprint and Toobin’ are sure to please those old-school gamers who prefer nonviolent entertainment.
Playing these games against friends is one of the major draws to arcade gaming, so I appreciate the ability to play side-by-side at home. Sadly, the only online feature is the ability to compare scores via leaderboards. Would it really be so difficult to offer online multiplayer for up to four people?
Some of the titles suffer a bit from the lack of track-ball and steering wheel controls, but “Midway Arcade Origins” is still a great blast from the past.
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)