A game featuring zombies in the London underground might not seem original, but the first scene of the game is compelling. You take the role of Stacy, a mini-skirt-clad twenty year old, who's waiting for a train to arrive with a few of her friends. But when the train comes, it brings more than you'd bargained for- it's passengers are being attacked by a horde of zombies, each one eager to make a snack out of you. In the chase that ensues, you're knocked unconscious (but not eaten for some reason) and when you eventually come to, it's just you, alone, versus the zombie hordes.
The introduction was stong, well-written and set the standard for the rest of
the story, but unfortunately, the rest of the game did not live up to that
standard. I could see that the author was trying to give a Resident Evil-esque
feel to the game, but it became obvious after a while that it was impossible to
die and despite the fact that the game was touted as survival horror, there
really wasn't anything scary about it and covering practically every location
you visit in blood and gore didn't make it that way, either.
Plague: Redux turned out to be an appropriate title for the game because it's
plagued with bugs from the very start; you can't read the introductory text at
the beginning of the game (for some reason it just won't let you) and typing in
the wrong command on the chase scene can leave you in a blank room with no
description and no way out, rendering the game unwinnable. Others bugs include
naming non-player characters before you've asked them their name or they've
introduced themselves, and redundant choices to run away or fight the zombies
you discover in a toilet cubicle.
Indeed, the quality of the game in general seemed to drop off considerably
after the chase scene and not all of the problems with Plague: Redux can be put
down to bugs- the characters and puzzles left much to be desired too- the latter
being the biggest problem. If anarchy has broken out, why do I need to seach
around in obscure locations looking for loose change to buy a bottle of water
from a machine, when I should be able to just smash the machine with the metal
bar I'm carrying and take it? Why do I need to bribe a survivor of the carnage
with cigarettes to get him to come with me? It's issues like this that leave the
puzzles feeling contrived.
As a whole, Plague: Redux it isn't appalling, but even taking the
better-than-average writing into account, it seems more like a work-in-progress
than a completed game; perhaps a casualty of the IF comp deadline rush