Although it is not an actual movie tie-in, Dredd vs Zombies was released for several gaming platforms in 2012 and has recently become available for Windows Phone. While there are similarities between the game and the movie (the single-word reference to the character’s name, the “clean-up” of enemies and the persistent progress through locations), this isn’t a tie-in…
…it’s something else entirely!
As a Brit who grew up reading the 2000AD comic, when I first heard about a new Judge Dredd game I was naturally reluctant to try it. As with the character’s second movie adventure, I was concerned that it might be a failure, like the last. Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death back in 2003 was embarrassing, while the old platform game of Judge Dredd wasn’t much better.
I was, however, pleasantly surprised by Dredd vs Zombies, a game with two main game modes (with a third, passive challenge), wave after wave of zombie hordes to kill and in-game purchases.
Best of all, however, is the price – Dredd vs Zombies for Windows Phone is free!
You Are The Law!
Once you launch the game, there are three options open to you: Story mode and the arcade-style Arenas where endless hordes of zombies will attack you (good for earning rewards) and the passive Psi mode, where future crimes can be intercepted and credits earned while you’re off doing other things.
Within these game modes are episodes, which are further broken down into levels. Episodes must be completed in order to progress to the next (unless your wallet says otherwise – see below). The story and arcade modes are pretty similar, beginning with a chance to win credits before heading into action – after choosing your weapon. If you have enough credits to upgrade your shooter, you should, but don’t use them all up as you also get the chance to equip three types of gear, from armour to extra ammo. There are items to collect during missions, such as shields, health and ammo, all of which affect your final credit score.
In-game achievements are available in Dredd vs Zombies, but as this is not an Xbox Live title, success here will not affect your Gamerscore.
Control in the game is simple – a joypad on the left of the screen, fire and reload buttons on the right. You can rely on auto-targeting or select a target by tapping – useful for targeting exploding barrels!
In-Game Credits & Upgrade Option
Unusually for a free title, Dredd vs Zombies doesn’t have a paid “full” version – this is all you get. However, the developers have offered an in-game upgrade option which unlocks later levels in the game for just $1.59 (£1.29), purchased with the credit card you have associated with your Microsoft or Windows Phone account.
This enables you to play all episodes and levels without having previously achieved the ability to do so. Whereas in normal circumstances you would play level A to reach level B, here you make a small payment and head straight into level C, D, Z or B.
Similarly, the game offers credit packs for you to purchase with the credit card you have associated with your Microsoft or Windows Phone account. These can be bought in packs of 20,000 through to 550,000, with prices starting at $1.59 all the way up to $30. Whether you opt to use credit packs or if you prefer to play the game normally is up to you, but be aware of what the business model is for this game…
Graphics & Sound
As graphics go, this is perhaps one of the most impressive Windows Phone games currently available (which makes its zero price particularly pleasing). Yes, it’s cartoony, but then Judge Dredd is a comic book character, isn’t he?
Animation of the main and zombie characters is good, as is the bullet time/zoom effect when Dredd scores a significant kill.
Graphical glitches are virtually non-existent, and the level design is as strong as the realisation of the main character. Meanwhile, the inter-level artwork is striking, suiting the style of the character and the Mega-City world.
The soundtrack is largely adequate, with useful sound effects and the occasional bit of voice artistry for Dredd to utter phrases including the legendary “I am the Law”.
Be the Law!
You will find Dredd vs Zombies in the Windows Phone Store, where it is listed free.
If the price doesn’t entice you, perhaps the great graphics, atmospheric audios, shoot-em-up gameplay or the option to unlock the game to get an advantage will.
Although I’ve played and enjoyed games such as Rocket Riot and Ilomilo, Dredd vs Zombies is quite possibly the finest game on the Windows Phone platform. If you have a compatible phone and like shooting zombies, you really shouldn’t miss this.