Gruesome Gaming: Walking Dead – Episode 1 – Review by Billz

Gores Truly is femme-driven but certainly not man-hating. Occasionally, we want to give our readers a chance to contribute to the horror-fest that we all adore – including those wielding the Y-Chromosome. The following article has been Murder-Her approved. Watch out! It’s an Invasion of the Y-Chromosome!

Walking Dead – Episode 1 is the first entry in a five-game series by developer Telltale Games.  It’s a point and click adventure that follows a new group of survivors in the Atlanta area.  It takes place alongside the comic timeline at the moment the outbreak occurs.   Regulars Glenn and Hershel make an appearance but they’re not the core of the group and soon our paths diverge.

Comic book Glenn, not TV Glenn.

But before you can meet Glenn and Hershel, you have to get to know your character, Lee Everett.  The game opens with Lee in handcuffs in the back of a sheriff’s car heading out of Atlanta.  I won’t spoil Lee’s background, but guilt and anguish accompany him wherever he goes.

Riding in the back of the sheriff’s car, you get a tutorial for clicking on items and establishing dialogue.  Meanwhile, a stream of police cruisers blaze a trail towards Atlanta with the occasional chopper flying overhead (sound familiar?).  The sheriff’s car crashes and Lee makes his escape into a crazy new world.

If you’re not a fan of point and click games then this may not be up your alley.  There is no “Attack” button.  The only button mashing occurs when a zombie grabs you, which is infrequent.  Most of your action involves moving the cursor somewhere over the zombie and striking.  It’s unsettling to know you can’t simply click the “B” button and swing away with your weapon of choice.  This vulnerability adds to the realism.

Dialogue is prominent.  You have to interact with other survivors and earn their trust.  That’s not easy when you’re an accused felon and everyone is on edge.  You walk a fine line between honesty and lying.  I tried to lie to Hershel and he called me on it.

You’ll be called upon to make critical decisions and fast.  You have only three to four seconds to answer before you default to silence.  Some answers will be remembered by characters and some will form alliances or make enemies.  It’s a great setup for future episodes to build upon and it offers replay value.

Another aspect of the game is Clementine, a little girl that’s survived for two days on her own.  Lee forms a bond with her and takes her under his guardianship.  These two have nothing in common, yet they find the strength and friendship needed to survive.  Clementine is tough, but she still clings to her last ounce of innocence.  I found myself frantically trying to protect her when attacked.  “Kick the damn zombie!!  Bite him!  Do something!” EDITOR’S NOTE:  We at Gores Truly do not advocate the biting of zombies.

Clementine and Lee

The only downside I could find is the amount of gameplay.  You can finish the game in under two hours.  Maybe three if you look at every nook and cranny.  With an average price of $5.00, I expect more.  Yes, there is replay value but that’s like comparing a glass of ice water to a glass of water that’s been sitting in the sun for five hours.   Both will hydrate you but one’s slightly more refreshing than the other.

If you like the comic and can tolerate point and click, then you’ll like this game.   The animation and artwork are fantastic.  The thick lines make the characters look and feel like they’re pulled straight out of the book.  Characters make morally difficult choices and there’s plenty of blood and guts to satisfy gorehounds.  Throw in a somber score and you have a game that is not for kids!

I look forward to episodes two through five.  It will be interesting to see what endings are available and if any comic characters make a future appearance.

Walking Dead – Episode 1 is available on XBox Live and Playstation Network.

About the Author: 

Billz hopes to one day prove that aliens are misunderstood creatures that really just want a hug – and to disembowel you. When he’s not running from Purple People Eaters, he’s likely watching monster flicks, or dreaming of one day filming his own.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010 – serendipitously inspired by the day – five friends decided there just wasn’t enough fem-driven horror sites on the internet. So to amend that we formed, a web site dedicated to everything well - horror. Movies, conventions, costumes, literature, comics and more.