Touch the Dead Hands-On

When zombies invade the Nintendo DS, we do what a man's got to do: lightly tap the screen repeatedly.

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As the Nintendo DS's software library grows and developers get more comfortable with the portable system's touch screen, we're starting to see more games get adventurous. Eidos' upcoming first-person shooter, Touch the Dead, definitely falls into that category. The game is being developed by Dream On Studios and serves up an arcade-style dose of first-person zombie-shooting action. We had the chance to try a work-in-progress version of the game to see how stylus-powered shooting works out.

The zombies are coming! Tap, you fool, tap!

The game's story keeps things good and simple. You'll play as Rob Steiner, a prisoner who wakes up after a brief nap to see the door to his cell swing open. Good times, right? Well, could be, except for the fact that the jail you're in is now teeming with zombies. But from the look of things, old Rob didn't get locked up for speeding. The industrious convict grabs the first available weapon he can find and sets off to blast his way to freedom.

The levels we sampled offered a good idea of how the game is going to flow. The game features a first-person view of your run to escape. Your path through the jail is basically on rails, although you'll come to forks in your path where you'll be able to pick a direction by shooting signs. Your goal is as clear as day: blast the bits out of anything that stands between you and getting the hell out of the joint. In the levels we played, it appears as though your foes will be an assortment of zombified prisoners, guards, and rats. The rats don't appear to be undead, but they're clearly going along for the "kill Rob" ride. The zombies we've seen so far range from your standard skinny lumbering dudes to the now-expected fat zombie. Though their attacks lean mainly toward flailing, we came across some motivated zombies that took to ripping off their heads and throwing them at us.

The gameplay is basic and relies on the touch screen for action. You'll tap your targets with the stylus, allowing you to shoot at specific areas. When you're out of bullets, you'll simply drag a clip in the lower right-hand corner of the touch screen and drop it into your ammo counter in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. As you make your way through the prison, you'll collect new firearms, as well as melee weapons, which you'll use by sliding your stylus across the touch screen in a slashing motion to help deal with the hordes of undead. You'll use the D pad to switch between your available weapons once you've amassed an arsenal. In addition to weapons, you'll find power ups that speed up your reloading time.

The visuals in the game are modest in scope, with simple flat shaded corridors and a basic color palette. The character models are definitely on the blocky side, and the textures on them are fuzzy. Though the fuzzy textures don't do much to make Rob look great, they work well on the zombies. The characters and environment won't blow you away, but we do have to give props to the animation and game engine. While it's repetitive right now, the zombie animation is nice, and the game moves along at a speedy clip.

Keep tapping!

The audio in the game is also surprisingly good. The gunfire is solid, and the zombies sound convincingly angry or undead. The rats are probably the weakest link in the chain right now because their high-pitched cries didn't exactly inspire fear. The game's score, though still a work in progress, is a smart mix of spooky music and unsettling silence.

Based on what we played, Touch the Dead seems like it should offer up some mindless fun on the DS. The game looks OK and plays well. Besides the single-player game we tried, the game is slated to include multiplayer games that include co-op and competitive action via a local wireless connection. Though it doesn't look like it will wind up the prettiest game you've ever seen on the DS, you'll definitely have fun with it. Touch the Dead is currently slated to ship this May for the DS.

Discussion

50 comments
Crazyman93
Crazyman93

M rated game for Nintendo, Woo Hoo!

Agent473
Agent473

Looks good, though not good enough to get. Still being entertained by the assortment of weapons in Dead Rising

Vorpal_Egg
Vorpal_Egg

"Sound convincingly undead"? Since when does anyone know how an undead sounds like, let alone how much of a good imitation he's doing? Regardless, with Eidos involved I can only expect some half-baked game.

icym
icym

all you need now is a good mix between Walking Dead and 28 Weeks/Days Later!... = 28 Months Later?

SecretWasianMan
SecretWasianMan

I really enjoyed Point Blank on the DS. I loved rail shooters back in the day. I spent so much money on House of the Dead and Area 51. Perhaps they're next? Maybe some Time Crisis? Hope so.

exocel
exocel

zombies!, zombie-zombie-zombie-zombie ZOMBIES!!!

monkeytoes61
monkeytoes61

looks like metroid prime hunters with zombies

allnamestaken
allnamestaken

Yeah, I've been wondering what style their going to use too. Can't imagine they're actually going to try for real horror, as it would be near impossible to do with such crappy graphics and such a suspect name... Anyone else find it weird that the guy just magically wakes up and finds a shot gun in his room?

chutup
chutup

sounds like it could be fun. But with a name like Touch the Dead, they'd better go for the 'camp' angle rather than a realistic one. I like the zombies who throw their own heads at you.

floopyboo
floopyboo

Can Duke Nukem or Area51 be far behind? This almost sounds like a "testing the market" release

roryk666
roryk666

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

WAHAHAHAHA ... OMG ... you gotta be kidding!

awperk12
awperk12

yeah i have Dead N' Furious and it's kinda fun to pick up and play. nothing to really focus and play for hours though. it scratches that itch i have for shooting off zombie heads...

OfficialBed
OfficialBed

looks terribly ugly....but may be fun

especensor
especensor

looks kinda bad actually. on rail shooters never fair too well.

SaxxyGamer18
SaxxyGamer18

Wow. Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Touch the Dead. What's with all these gory horror-themed rail shooters?

aamot
aamot

I was gonna wish for ammo-conservation strategy, but if its at all as hectic as HotD, then just reloading will be strategy enough.

DeadBullet
DeadBullet

This is a certain buy, no matter the scores.

minishmidna
minishmidna

btw eduardjm, this IS dead and furious.... the name's just been changed... still looks cool. in my opinion sega shud introduce hose of the dead (4) to wii, just think about it the wii is perfect for an arcade shoot em up, (shake the nuunchuck to reload, point to aim, press c and shake the nunchuck 2 throw a grenade...) it would be PERFECT, i just hope sega realise this...

eduardjm
eduardjm

this is essentially the same game as dead and furious...just imported it a couple of days ago, and i have to say while its fun, its not as addicting as puzzle quest (but then again, what really stands up to that one) but it is fun and is nowhere near as cheesy as you would think.... and no, EBA is not mindless tapping, that and Quendan are 2 of the best games on the DS, hands down.

TheGuy2
TheGuy2

oh yesssssssss!!!! this is gonna b awsomenessss!!! though it reminds me a whole lot of Resident Evil DS!!!! >=^(

m0zart
m0zart moderator

murlow12 wrote: I thought we learned from EBA that mindless tapping is not fun. Uhm... who is "we" ? I think EBA and Ouendan are both fantastic games, as fun if not more so than many other games I've played over the years.

cluelesspunk
cluelesspunk

I think the title of this game is genius.

konradak
konradak

Sweet, was kinda hoping for more of a RE mixed with Metroid Prime shooting type of game, not a rail game. But hey, might be fun.

mthe1337one
mthe1337one

questionably titled name aside, it's these type of games that are good for casual players like myself. even though literally the only replayability is going through different routes, this seems like a half-decent title. if the game starts out with a $29.99 price tag, it seems like a good deal.

fmobliv06
fmobliv06

i dont know about either of the names this game has had. dead and furious is almost as bad as touch the dead. but honestly, who comes up with these titles? necrophilia is the best name suggested for this game yet

toy_brain
toy_brain

Prod the Dead, or Poke the Dead would have been far more appropriate names IMO.

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

It sounds as though it could be just a tad too easy but I'm still interested in checking it out nonetheless. It almost seems like a spiritual successor to The Typing of the Dead on the Dreamcast.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

...and the award for most unfortunately titled video game ever goes to...

Tungsten88
Tungsten88

I also agree with anyone that says "Necrophilia" should be the new title. Worst title! But at least it's better than "Dead 'N Furious" which it was originally released under. Great premise, bad graphics and crappy title.

Tungsten88
Tungsten88

Worst title ever, crappy graphics, what more could you ask for? I really had hoped it would be good, and what do I get? This piece of ****.

Metilco
Metilco

Haha touch the dead. Not only is that illigal, but I'm pretty sure there's a website for that somewhere >_> Could be good?

mute4
mute4

looks pretty crappy to me

fmobliv06
fmobliv06

touch the dead....? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that's gotta be the best game title in the last 10 years, if not one of the best ever *snicker* I look forward to touching the dead this may. hahahaha...oh Eidos, you so crazy.

teh_leeto
teh_leeto

Not seeing it. Tapping isn't as much fun as a proper light gun

grave_rob
grave_rob

yeah, i like necrophilia....

gnarlychar
gnarlychar

I liked EBA, and so did gamespot.... :?

kirewpower
kirewpower

2nd coment wooohoooo also I might buy this if it is good with the maltyplayer

murlow12
murlow12

I thought we learned from EBA that mindless tapping is not fun.

myrllellei
myrllellei

"Necrophilia" would be a better title.