Certainly no one can accuse Zombie Driver of false advertisement: You drive around in a car and run over unending hordes of the walking dead. Problem is, that’s all you do. The story—as if anyone really needed an excuse or context to mow down zombies—is minimal and about as coherent as anyone would demand from such a title. After an unfortunate chemical outbreak, you emerge as seemingly the sole survivor in a city now rampant with discolored brain-eaters. And naturally, the military is counting on you and your wheels to rescue survivors and flatten zombies. Hey, if EXOR was shooting for an imaginative concept, the game wouldn’t be called Zombie Driver.
As you play, sometimes you’re scooping up civilians and sometimes you’re saving policemen, though from Zombie Driver’s lurching, nausea-inducing eagle-eye camera, all the rescuees look alike. And that’s about it in terms of variety over the span of 17 levels. With no other depth or even boss battles, a lot of importance is bestowed on the simple task of squashing zombies as a means of earning cash to upgrade your vehicle. A cigar-smoking mayor pleads early on, “These goddamn zombies are wrecking my precious city!!! Mow down as many as you can, son. I’ll personally pay you for every single one of them… And do it with style!” “Style” refers to how many zombies you can crush in one pass without braking, which is tougher than it sounds; the more zombies you run over, the more they gum up your forward momentum, and the more likely they are to encircle your ride and pound away at it with more force than seems possible from corpses. Until you unlock better vehicles near the end, you’re better off just avoiding as many zombies as possible—which is stupid. People want to kill zombies.
But tossing zombies into a Grand Theft Auto 2-style driving game isn’t a revelation; it’s the next step after the trendy ghouls have had ample time in the limelight, thanks to unexpectedly dominant roles in games like Call Of Duty: World At War—Zombies and Fallout 3. They’re the gaming equivalent of vampires on TV and movies. Enough already. Surely Zombie Driver shouldn’t be held accountable for the undead glut, but its attempts to skate by on the mere premise of killing zombies is simply lazy. The lifeless Zombie Driver fails at being even mindless fun—these zombies should’ve stayed in the grave.