Fans of George A. Romero's gore-struck, zombie-riddled flicks such as Day of the Dead will be able to find out firsthand what it's like to walk among the dead, as SegaSoft's action-adventure title Flesh Feast will come to life for the PC this January. And, as illustrated by Capcom's Resident Evil, the zombie/horror genre transfers well to gaming, featuring key elements of blood, fear, and brutal annihilation, making Flesh Feast, even in its early stages, no exception to the "carnage is delicious" rule.
The gameplay begins on Nasat (could that be Satan?) Island, several hours after a deadly explosion resounding from a local factory emits blinding light, billowy black clouds of smoke, and a putrid stench into the air. The dead have come to life, or at least to function, and they're looking for lunch - of the live, human variety. Why have they resurrected? In Romero's Dawn of the Dead, one character posed that it's "because hell is too full." In FF, you may be able to find a more substantial explanation - after survival, that's the primary goal of the game.
As one of the few remaining humans on the Island, you'll act in one of two methods. In simultaneous command mode, you'll control a team of four characters as you combat the corpses in turn-based, RPG-style play. And in single character mode, you'll manage a lone human, directing all of his actions and fights. In either mode, your goal is concise: Solve the mission within each of the 17 levels, kill any zombies that get in your way, and save as many of the other humans unfortunate enough to still be alive. If you accomplish all of this, you'll presumably leave the island and flee to safety. If you fail, the game is over and you become one of them. But with a selection of more than 50 different weapons at your disposal, running the gamut of assault devices from baseball bats, guns, C-4 explosives, and chainsaws to more critical implements such as mines and snares, the odds will tip more in your favor. Besides loading a walking corpse full of lead or stabbing it repeatedly until it drops, you'll be able to lure large groups of zombies into your well-planned traps - a skill the undead will probably be without. Weapons and items will be scattered around Nasat Island in buildings such as the hospital, factory, laboratory, security base, hotel, sports complex, hydro plant, and shopping mall (Romero reference number three), and on properties such as the airport, a farm, a graveyard, and the boat docks.
But beyond all the hacking (medieval style, not computer), a series of FMV sequences move the plot forward, offering clues at the end of each mission as to what could've brought the dead back in the first place so you can stop them in the end. Also, the character AI adds a dimension of dealing with unique personalities that may be inclined to fight or run, depending on the situation and the weapon he or she has in tow. For example, in the simultaneous command mode, you'll have to learn and teach your characters well, appropriately utilizing their strengths and weaknesses if you want your team to survive. If you're on a LAN, 8-person multiplayer capability will set you up with head-to-head deathmatches, but the premium feature is the Heat.net capability. You'll be able to play as a zombie or a human in vs. mode or on collaborative teams with numerous others on SegaSoft's Online Gaming Network.
Even early in development, the graphics look good, the audio is solid, and the creatures are insanely cool looking. And while that's all a matter of taste, one thing's for sure: Whether you love it or hate it, you'll never look at a Pizza Hut Meat Lover's Pizza the same way again.