STUBBS THE ZOMBIE IN REBEL WITHOUT A PULSE
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 24, 2021
Over the years, there have been many rebels in this world. There have been rebels without a cause. There have been even more rebels without a clue. But there's only one rebel without a pulse! May I present to you, the Duke of Decomposition, the Prince of Putrefaction, the Minister of Moldering, the one and only Stubbs the Zombie!
Yes, ladies and gentlepeople, Stubbs is back! Almost sixteen years after this undead gentleman first graced our Xbox, Max or PC with his slightly pungent presence, it is time for Stubbs to make an appearance on the Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. So, is this a game about eating brains? Yes, sure. But mostly, it's a game about undying love. or, as the case may be, undead love. You see, Once upon a time, there was a traveling salesman that went by the name of Edward "Stubbs" Stubblefield. Now, he wasn't a very good salesman, so he didn't have an awful lot of money. Still, he does manage to find a brief flicker of happiness with a girl named Maggie Monday. Alas, her father isn't that thrilled when he comes home and finds the two together, so he shoots our friend Stubbs and dumps his body somewhere out in the wilds.
Now fast-forward time for, say, twenty-nine years. A new kind of city has arisen; a city that will transport mankind into the twenty-first century, almost fifty years ahead of its time. The only minor issue this city has is the fact that it has arisen right on top of Stubbs' less-than-official grave. All the commotion disturbs Stubbs' eternal rest and causes him to rise from his grave. And although his heart is no longer beating, it still yearns for his one-time sweetheart, Maggie Monday. Now, it just so happens that she is closer than you might think. You see, the futuristic city Stubbs finds himself in, is actually founded by a multi-billionaire playboy industrialist called Andrew Monday, who just happens to be Maggie's son. And, being the proud mother she is, Maggie is naturally present at the opening ceremony of her son's crowning achievement. As soon as Stubbs sees his old flame, he has only one thing on his maggot-infested mind: making her his once more! Watch out Maggie; your boyfriend's back!
This, dear readers, is the actual premise of the game, however silly it might be. Well, luckily, silly is good! Silly is exactly what makes Stubbs tick, so to speak. I actually played this game on PC back in the day and still had fond memories of Stubbs' shenanigans. So I was delighted to hear that this undead hero would make its way to the newer generation of consoles. My enthusiasm was curbed a bit by the fact that the game turned out to be a straight port from the original version, but hey; you can't win 'em all, right? And, after playing it, I can honestly say that, while the game hasn't aged all that well in the graphics department, the amount of fun that is to be had by playing as Stubbs is still as high as ever!
But let's not get ahead of ourselves! So, what is Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, actually? Well, it's a third person action / adventure in which your main objective is eating brains. To this end, Stubbs has got quite a few tricks up his tattered sleeves. He can hit enemies so that they become staggered and then eat their brains. He can release a cloud of toxic fumes from his decaying innards that staggers all enemies in its range. He can also throw one of his magically regenerating internal organs at enemies, upon which it explodes. Furthermore, he can take off his head and use it as a destructive bowling ball and even detach his hand and send it out in the world, upon which he can control it remotely and possess humans so they do his bidding. And when you're tired of walking around, Stubbs has the answer, for he can drive a selected range of vehicles and spread some motorized mayhem.
The humans Stubbs will encounter won't go down without a fight. They attack Stubbs on sight with a variety of melee weapons and firearms. Getting hit by such an attack will drain your health. To replenish this lost vitality, you must eat some brains. This not only refills your health bar, it also recharges the undead weapons that Stubbs has in his arsenal. I found myself using the possession mechanic a lot, seeing as how this lets you control armed enemies and send them into the fray while Stubbs himself can stay a relatively safe distance. This way the possessed human gets hit and killed by your enemies instead of Stubbs being the victim of their wrath. Whether you use Stubbs or a possessed individual, the enemies you kill turn into zombies themselves, so you can build a veritable zombie army as you go along. Now, zombies are not known to be the brightest bulbs in the lighting store, so they will need a bit enticing if you want them to go somewhere specific. You can look at a group of zombies and whistle, so they will shamble in your general direction or you can shove individual zombies if you want them to go in a specific direction for a short distance. When your new zombie friends detect humans, they need no further enticing and set off to eat brains all by themselves.
Although it's not an overly long game, Stubbs the Zombie is fun every second of its undead lifespan. Because of the wide variety of possible approaches to any given situation, you can decide which on of Stubbs' weapons suits you best at any given time and use it accordingly. The game works just fine on the more modern consoles and is still bunches of fun to play. The only thing I will say is that the game could have used a serious overhaul in the graphical department. It looks just as good as it did back in the day, which is part of the issue, because "back in the day" is sixteen years ago. I personally would have liked to see more detailed models in both characters and environment but, alas, that was not to be.
On the other hand, I guess graphics aren't everything. I mean, you can have the best looking game out there, but if it isn't fun to play, then all you end up with is about as attractive to play as a square and extremely heavy soccer ball. And there's no denying that playing the adventures of our friend Stubbs is truly fun. And talking about friends; why not invite one of your own over for a bit of old-school couch coop brain eating. The second player takes the role of Stubbs' friend, Grubbs and joins you on your quest for brains and love! Because the game is relatively short, it stays fun for the entire ride. The humor injected into the game gives the entire experience a fun and light-hearted feel. I can truly say that I enjoyed playing Stubbs the Zombie once again after all these years and I'm sure that you will enjoy it to. if you're into eating brains, that is!
STUBBS THE ZOMBIE IN REBEL WITHOUT A PULSE
March 16, 2021