Monster Madness: Grave Danger Review

Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Those four words are all it took to get me interested in Monster Madness. If that doesn't make any sense, I assure you that my neighbors are alive and well; Zombies Ate My Neighbors was an SNES game in which you chose one or two (or maybe three) characters and blasted through suburbia with crazy weapons and all the while, a never-ending army of zombies tried to get at your brain. The game achieved cult status during the 16-bit era and fans still continue to discuss its greatness to this day. A friend and I literally played the game for an entire summer and it never got stale. Even now, my SNES is still hooked up, and the zombies hold a semi-permanent spot in the system. So, I was understandably psyched for what was billed as a spiritual sequel Monster Madness. Also understandably, when I played through the game and it didn't live up to it's lofty younger brother, it was more of a letdown to me than all the other sub-par sequels in recent memory.

Maybe I should have known better. The game first appeared on the Xbox 360 some time ago, and it wasn't exactly greeted with glowing reviews. But as the rumors of a PS3 port began to swirl, I decided to wait and see if the new version would be more enjoyable and/or have more content. Hey, it worked for Overlord, right? Sadly, Monster Madness: Grave Danger is no Overlord; not by a long shot.

On paper, the premise of Monster Madness is almost identical to that of Zombies Ate My Neighbors. In the simplest of terms, the game pretty closely resembles a hack n slash action-RPG; you guide your character around large maps, taking care of zombies as you go and collecting every item you can get your hands on. Killing hundreds of thousands zombies the same way could get really old for a lot of players, so to offset the monotony, the game gives you the ability to use almost anything as a weapon, and even build your own from scrap parts. Weapon crafting does add a bit of variety, but it just isn't enough to save the whole game from itself.

Upon beginning Monster Madness, you'll be treated (or punished, depending on how you look at it) to a comic book style setup (speech bubbles, static pictures, etc.). Before you even get a chance to actually play the game, this exposition will make you hate yourself for even inserting the disc into your PS3. The voice acting is atrocious; the dialogue is so terrible that it could have been stolen from Jerry Bruckheimer's "This is too stupid for even me" file and not one of the characters is at all likable or dynamic. I won't reveal the story here, but if you get a chance, watch it and you'll know what I'm talking about. And even though I've made the comparison in other reviews, these four are as annoying as those soldiers in Haze; maybe even more so. Afterwards, you'll have to choose a character, which is tough because you need to decide which of the characters you hate the least.