The Last Action Hero
In the 70s, you joined the force to make a difference — no, to be the difference. But now, the year is 1980-something, you’re jaded, and it's your last day on the force. You hear screams outside your building. You see aliens have invaded Earth, and now all the vegetables (and fruit) are massive and are attempting to take over the world. You mutter some practiced one liner about being too old for something, grab your gun, and head out. Next thing you know, you're knee-deep in the corpses of broccoli filled with the lead of your only friend: an Ak-47 you picked up off the body of a leek. The smell of ratatouille fills the air as you've shot, chopped, and molotov-cocktailed your way through the hordes of never ended vegetables (and fruit).
The Walking Vegetables, released by Still Running, the creators of Zombie Kill of the Week, is a top-down shooter set in the midst of an alien invasion in the year 1980. You are immediately and unforgivingly thrown into the action of murdering everything around you, and there is no looking back — until you inevitably die and are forced to start from square one.
Run, Gun, and Die. Then Rinse and Repeat.
The speed and the chaos are the main challenges of the game, with all the mechanics being simple and clean. You point, left click to shoot, right click to use your axe, and press space to toss your ever-so-handy molotov cocktails. It seems simple, but when there are several dozen alien infested produce walking, running, and crying (the onions cry on you in this universe) it gets a little hectic. As you go about your mission of finding the alien key, to proceed to take on the boss, to move on to the next part, you stumble across a wide array of weapons. At the end of each part, you are treated to a pretty engaging boss battle, and each boss is unique and exciting as you figure out what exactly is going on.
Starting with the pistol, police baton, and everybody's favorite throwing weapon, hot coffee, you move on to bigger and better things, like every 80s action hero's favorites: miniguns, ninja stars, and grenades. Use all of these sparingly, because the ammo is sparse, but when you are cornered with one heart of health left, and all you can think about is going home to Stacy (your loving wife), ammo counting becomes a thing of the past.
The art style seems to take a page from Hot Line Miami, with its vibrant colors and charmingly retro look, meshing the chaotic gameplay with its chaotic art, and the sound track brings it all together. Upbeat — and never skipping a beat — the soundtrack moves as fast as the world does, and as you drop down to your final health, the music only intensifies, mirroring the beat of your heart. The challenge of the gameplay is the overwhelming swarms of enemies that flood upon you at the entry of each level, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of depth with a majority of the enemies you fight.
At first glance, this title does not seem to have a whole lot to it. You run. You gun. You die, and repeat. This was a little off-putting when I first started playing, but upon further examination I found the depth to the game to be more engaging. But that did take several lives and determination to find within the game. Which makes the depth easily missable.
The Verdict: Great
With many weapons, unlocks, and even co-op play, The Walking Vegetables has a high chance you will replay it over, and over... and over. Maybe even playing it with a friend or two, to really test your friendship in a high stress situation. It’s a great game all-around, especially if you are interested in a cheap alternative to therapy because your mom forced you to eat her vegetable casserole, even though you told her you hated carrots. Whether you are an avid gamer who regularly attends tournaments, or someone who like to sit on the couch with a several friends and have an awesome time, this game is for you. It takes the best aspects of any top-down shooter, and gives it the 80s-cocaine-treatment that it needed.