Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Flesh Feast", Windows, 1997.

Since we're getting to the gruesome point in our pre-Hallowe'en run-up, let's get serious.
Death. Life is squeezed out of a body, until nothing remains but a cold, inanimate corpse.

Resurrection. The corpse comes back to life, lacking spirit or soul. In order to live, it must feed.
On humans.

Solid! The nose is, surprisingly, intact, though the ears don't seem to have fared as well, and the scraps of hair are very effective. Was this fellow's mouth so jagged before death or does zombification add points to your teeth? Snarling upper lip or just decayed away? It's a new take on zombie eyes, and the church in the background (hello, body-eating followers of a man returned from the dead) is a very nice touch.

The blurb is also very adeptly handled. But what is the product being advertised here? Turn the page for a double spread!

Send the dead to their graves.
Again.

FLESH FEAST. Six feet below the earth, worms are crawling through empty caskets. Above ground, the putrid stench of rotting flesh hangs in the air as corpses claim victims to feed their insatiable hunger.

The dead have mysteriously come back to life, and Nasat Island has gone from premier[e] tourist destination to nightmarish human hunting ground, where nobody is safe.

Survive the island's many terror-filled sectors using weapons and wit to eliminate wave after wave of ravenous undead hordes. Rescue the remaining survivors and strategize your escape.

Then, in the climactic finale, penetrate the complex that houses the secrets to the dead's resurrection. FLESH FEAST. IF YOU'RE ONLY CONSUMED BY FEAR, YOU'RE ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES.

SINGLE AND MULTIPLAYER MODES UP TO 8 PLAYERS. PLAY AS HUMANS OR ZOMBIES IN HEAD-TO-HEAD "EAT YOUR FRIENDS" DEATH MATCHES ON THE HEAT.NET INTERNET GAME NETWORK AND LAN.
[SCREENSHOT]>
CINEMATIC STORYLINE FEATURING 17 LEVELS OF CARNAGE AND MULTIPLE SUB-PLOTS.
[SCREENSHOT]>
SIMULTANEOUSLY DIRECT THE ACTIONS OF FOUR HUMANS OR FULLY CONTROL ONE CHARACTER.
[SCREENSHOT]>
OVER 50 DIFFERENT WEAPONS AND DOZENS OF GRUESOME DEATH TRAPS.
Now we'll see what you're made of.

That's a, er, wide stance! How long is a chainsaw blade that reaches almost to the ground and how many of those can you lay end to end between your two feet? I suppose that depends on how high it's being held -- waist level? Wait a sec, we don't even see knees here. Just how long are those shins, anyhow? Moving right along... The pack of living dead appears to contain some stylishly long-maned potentially repeating zombies -- I've heard that hair and fingernails continue to grow for up to two weeks after death but this is ridiculous. And are the left-moon and red-cloud zombies pursuing us carefully balanced on single legs? The shadows are deliberate but inconsistant reference points. Center right ground zombie -- emerging from the grave or just cut in half? Barring the teaser cover model, these zombies are actually surprisingly gore-free, but what they lack in decay they make up for in exaggerated claw-hands. They're either going to gore, fondle or tickle you. (Or maybe more than one of the above simultaneously, for new heights in simulated horror.)

Given the high speed of its moving parts, I have to wonder just how tenacious that zombie gore on the chainsaw blade really is. Though it looks good, it gives me the impression of a party cold cuts tray carefully toothpicked on to the tool for the photoshoot. And the graveyard -- was this really a planned community facility? It seems somewhat haphazardly strewn, headstones facing hither and yon with no real scheme or pattern. Inadequate feng shui will bring your deceased ancestors back from the dead! (or at least provide you the refreshment of a cold can of Coca-Cola.)

The ad copy here isn't any more specific than it needs to be, largely focusing on atmospherics without falling into pitfalls of stupid wordplay or camp as well as distancing from the mood by getting too deep (though that digression into Heat.net is halfway there) into technical and game mechanics jargon. The phrases that stand out -- "using weapons and wit" -- are positive ones. Rescue survivors? Strategize escape? For something that seems so superficially Army of Darkness-ish (okay, those are Deadites, that's very different) as this centrefold portrays, there appears to be deeper gameplay at heart. The closing slogans -- also well executed.

Outside of this ad, I've never heard of this game, which suggests that it wasn't all that and a back of chips -- but by advertising standards I find it intriguing and consistent. Is the game underrated or just oversold? (Looking back at old warez: another way something can come back from the dead.)