Zomboid Version 1.5 - from my initial practice run – was a lot of fun. Even though the 1.5 version is the only version you can download right from the creator’s site (you go to the forums to get future updates) and it’s pretty basic compared to the 2.0-RC1 version that’s been out since June. I consider that a good sign, that the creator is still trying hard to perfect it and that a ton of fans are modding the Hell out of it with cool stuff. I’ve actually run out and grabbed the latest 2.0 version and a few of the mods. Now if I could just get them to work on my old 2008 Winblows XP-ridden PC with the current version of Java JRE, which is a pain in my ass …
Upon reading the thread in the forums about how to get around the multitude of issues that may pop up when trying to run Zomboid, I realize that it takes a little mental gymnastics with .bat files to get the current version to work if there’s an issue. So let’s just do the first round of Zomboids with the 1.5 version. That should be good enough for now. First issue resolved.
The second issue I have with the game is that there is NO SAVE FEATURE. What this means is you that you have two choices. The first choice is to play constantly until you die, which could take up to 6+ hours in some instances. The second option is that you use the pause feature often. Maybe even leave the game paused overnight. Which – if Java feels like being a wanker – may result in your game crashing. I realize this is an pre-release alpha project, and that they are working on these things, but come on, mang. I need some sort of save feature. I don’t have all day or the patience to sit there all day to play. I guess I’ll just go as long as I can, because if my previous run was an indication, Zeke will die in about 36 hours (2 hours real time). I can just see myself at the end, all blurry eyed and groaning. Like a … zombie …
I click on the .bat file and the game boots up nicely. So as the music plays and the introduction sets the mood for the rest of the game, I spend some time reading the instructions. It uses the normal WASD keys for movement, using the mouse to guide the pointer to open objects and control inventory. When I’m out in the open, I’ll use the SHIFT key to run, and when I want to hit something with a weapon, I’ll hold the CTL key. Noise is a big factor in the game – the more noise you make, the more zombies will crowd around wherever you are. Running makes noise, so no running indoors. Guns make noise, so no shooting them unless I’m in a remote area and totally surrounded. So melee weapons are a must.
I’m brought to the title screen – the silhouette of a zombie on a red horizon – and have two choices to make. I can play one of the several story modes, or Sandbox. Seeing how the story mode in the demo almost made me abandon the game … Sandbox it is!
I’m taken to the character creator screen, where I have several more options. I put in an name, and pick the security guard background. I can also take bad abilities (such as Claustrophobia or Heavy Drinker) to gain points to take great abilities (such as Super Strong or Athletic). Granted, it takes at least two bads to make a slightly good ability, so … no thanks. We’ll just be a regular ol’ Security Guard caught in the middle of a zombie apocalpyse. Slap on some facial hair and we have …
Zeke Ironman – dashing mall cop and daring survivalist. Having learned how to survive on junk food normally ransacked from the corporate lunchroom vending machines, Zeke is the perfect person to follow during a zombie invasion. Average guy with the trait Night Owl – he can go longer without sleep and sleeps very lightly (for safety’s sake). There as no way in Hell I was going to send EmCeeKhan back in there to play gain, since I got swarmed almost instantly by the largest horde I’ve ever run from in a game. Since Everyone Loves Zeke, we’ll go with making Zeke our guy. I mean, our hero the Great Zeke is already playing another Zombie Game, so this should be cake for him. Right?
Finally, we’re thrown into the game and I’m staring at little Zekie (goatee included), who is staring back at me. It’s kinda weird. I looked around the room, wondering where he had hidden the cameras. I swear we’re stalking each other nowadays. You never can tell with these English blokes.
Apparently, we’re in the top apartment in a multiple story apartment building. It’s safe for the moment (I can’t hear any zombies and there’s no dramatic music), so I’ll pause for a moment and go grab a soda.*
Join us next time as we wander around with Zeke Ironman as he loots the area, tries not to die and works to set up the ultimate safehouse in IMM ZOMBOID SEASON ONE.
* That’s IMM speak for “Let’s close up this entry right here and meet back in – oh say – a week from now.” ;)