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Video Game: Atom Zombie Smasher
The only thing preventing the zombie apocalypse is 90 million tons of nuclear warheads. And you.

A real time strategy game by Blendo Games, released in 2011. Included in the third Humble Indie Bundle.

Set in the 1960s, in Nuevos Aires, AZS tasks the player with evacuating as many people as possible, before they're overrun by the emerging Zed hordes.

To accomplish this, the player is given control of a rescue helicopter, as well as various mercenaries, capable of fighting the Zed.

That... and orbital nukes.

Provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: It's 1961, electrical computers have been around for decades, and you were trained in orbit. The Zedpedia is almost too seamless to look like alternate history, but one of its fake references slipped up and calls an European city by its real name.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: One new game option guarantees you will have at least one "offensive" unit in your monthly roster (read: artillery, infantry or snipers).
  • Apocalypse How: As a game mechanic, even! There are four levels of infection in an area, the bigger it is the harder the map is. The descriptions of the levels match up with ours, with level 1 representing contained outbreak and 4 being a total infection of the area.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending is the same, no matter who actually won.
  • Badass Normal: Tabajaras, apparently.
    Tabajaras: It's been a long time since I had to wipe out a battallion of killer robots.
  • Boring, but Practical: Barricades just kind of sit there, but they are mostly the only tool available to create lengthy zed killzones and will get you a bunch of territories early on if used properly.
  • Brain in a Jar: Asa's disembodied head is reanimated inside of a Humongous Mecha in the ending.
  • Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: When daytime comes, which rarely occurs since rounds often end before night ends or even comes.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Yellow dots for civilians, purple dots for Zed. Infantry squads are shown as a green dot inside a large bubble representing their line of sight. Snipers are light blue.
  • Cool Helmet: One of the characters shown in the page image, "Animal" Smith, is always wearing his Viking helmet.
    • Subverted in the final cutscene: Smith's child with Adele Deering has small horns growing from its head.
  • Continuity Nod
    • Gravity Bone, an early freeware game by the same developer, is also set in the city of Nuevos Aires.
    • A panel in the intro sequence depicts a destroyer from Flotilla, another game of the developer.
    • One file contains content cut from the game, which are advertisements for Flotilla, Air Forte, and Gravity Bone.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: While randomly generated, they still follow the same sky-scraper city style.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Most often than not, you will just have to sacrifice some civilians to rescue the rest, especially at the very first mission, which cannot be won perfectly (this is by killing all zombies, which automatically saves all civilians).
  • Death or Glory Attack: Landing the helicopter near zombie entry points may let you save more civilians... but if you mismanage it could also mean you just fed people to the zombie horde.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: It's highly improbable that there are no territories with Zeds on a given turn, but there are small scientists bonus and dedicated messages there just in case.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Upgrading the same asset repeatedly costs more tech points and the improvement is smaller each time. Mercenaries with more than one stat also suffer from this if you raise one high enough.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In a minor example, it's occasionally possible to rescue everyone in a city, avoiding the Sadistic Choice.
  • Easy Communication: Semi-averted - infantry and snipers react immediately, the artillery doesn't though. Either way, you can hear the radio chatter as the orders are being relayed
  • Empty Levels: Some mercs can still level up after maxing out all their stats, but receive no benefit for it. This usually becomes an issue on extended games only.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: Llama bombs, which eliminate a zombie infestation.
  • For Massive Damage: Your artillery not doing enough damage to the bunch of enemies there? Rescue some more civilians and kill some more Zed, unlock a firing of the Catbird Cannon and pulverize everything in a large radius.
    • Then there's the "Elephantbird," a massive artillery gun that replaces all other mercenaries on your roster. Both fall under Macross Missile Massacre, with the Elephantbird firing more shells with far greater accuracy and reloading near instantaneously. It's sadly only available for use once an in-game year, while the Catbird is available every round after being unlocked.
    • On the other hand, high level artillery with researched upgrades can be potentially more powerful than Elephantbird. Then there's the Triplets mutator, which lets you take more than one of them...
  • Game Mod: There's an in-game official mod loader and tools to make your own. The unmodded game also ships with a sizable array of gameplay altering options, such as choosing your mercs each month, or an Ironman mode where restarting a level is unallowed.
  • Geo Effects: Weather forecasts, which affect primarily sunset and sunrise times, zed behavior and your evac helicopter's performance.
  • Giant Mook: Arriving later on in the game, they are essentially Bosses in Mook Clothing. Only explosive damage can harm them.
  • Herd Hitting Attack: The entire point of artillery, especially when upgraded.
  • Howling to the Night: Whenever night comes, and usually lots of zed begin to surround the area.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The intermissions.
  • Kill Sat: As mentioned above, Catbird Cannon. Results in a barrage of missiles.
  • Last Stand: The infantry can't get infected, but you may often find yourself defending the last pick-up point with it until all civilians are zombified.
  • Lightning Bruiser: With hardcore enabled on the standard game, zombies during Firecane move extremely fast. Since Firecane also reduces daytime, missions on those settings are practically impossible.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The random unit lineup and level generation sometimes results in cities that are very hard to clear (though it's hard to find an outright impossible mission). Level-4 outbreaks are a different beast entirely, and one might want to stay away from them until weather and roster are ideal.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Catbird Cannon and Elephantbird both result in this.
    • Also, to a lesser degree, the upgraded regular artillery.
  • Made of Explodium: Later on some buildings will explode violently if struck by artillery, because of ruptured gas pipes.
  • Mercy Kill: If you know you won't save the few remaining civilians, it's just better to nuke them, since zombies get points for each infection.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: For the most part of the game. All, if you don't count Boss In Mooks Clothing
  • Nintendo Hard: Oh so much, and from the very beginning, mark it.
  • Nuclear Option: They're called Llama Bombs.
    • Actually, these are bioweaponry. Literal weaponized llamas.
  • No Fair Cheating: Simply barricading off zombie entryways is disallowed, because of the risk of "harmonic zed implosion".
  • Non-Entity General
  • Not Using the Z Word: Oddly enough, it's used once in the opening cutscene but never again during gameplay.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The civilians get infected immediately they touch the zombie.
  • Point Build System
  • Power Up Motif: plays when you unlock the Catbird Cannon
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Rescuing just the minimum amount of civilians required will often result on the zeds outscoring the player on that mission, even though it was "won"note . On the late game, not scoring a huge amount of points can feel like this because the zeds will catch up quickly thanks to them infecting territories for free each turn.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: A large part of the challenge. Individual levels will persist if you withdraw and return later (or reload the game).
  • Real Time with Pause: Actually slows down to 10% game speed, but for all intents and purposes works like it.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: the overworld view.
  • Save Scumming: Your game saves every time you win, lose, or concede a level, making it impossible to 'undo' an action. Unless you realize that, as noted here, your savegames are saved in the App Data folder. Amazing how much Fake Difficulty can vanish when you can Set Right What Once Went Wrong?
    • While you can restart a mission, the permadeath option prevents you from doing so. However, there's an exploit (save the game via the menu) that bypasses this no-restart restriction.
  • Sniper Rifles: One mercenary unit is a team of snipers set up on a rooftop. While you can tell them which direction to shoot in, you can't target individual enemies, and they stop shooting while rotating to a new position.
  • Sniping Mission: If you end up with only a sniper team and barricades/mines/bombs.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: This game is in love with this trope. The entire soundtrack is super-cheery beach music, perfect for blowing up cities and watching little dots get eaten by Zeds to.
  • Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: All of your battle hardened mercenary units work under the "Department of Hearts & Minds" denomination.
  • Support Power: Allows you to fire a missile barrage.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Some civilians decide to run straight into the attacking zombies instead of to the helicopter 20 feet away. A news post at Blendogames's website describes how civilians run either A) Towards the helicopter, or B) Away from the nearest zombie, and in both cases ignoring whatever might be in the way, because they are scared shitless.
  • Top-Down View: Justified, as you're working for Orbital Command. A lot of your artillery is fired from Kill Sats, after all.
  • Tower Defense: Kringle Jammer mode. EMBARK ON ROAD OF RAMPAGE
  • Unstable Equilibrium: There are Victory Points milestones rewarding each side at determined amounts. The game tends to snowball in favor of whoever reaches theirs first (the tech tree for the player, increased amount and virulence of zombie invasions for the zeds).
  • Veteran Unit: All mercenaries level up. Even barricades.
    • May be explained as the increasing experience of those who set them up, allowing to make more in shorter timeframe.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: So you've evacuated the city, but there is still one little fellow left behind. You'd better try your hardest to save that little dot from a terrifying death by zombies.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential (as well as Sadistic Choice): ...on the other hand, accidentally (and "accidentally") blowing up civilians close to the zombies is not infrequent. The nature of the game also means choosing which civilians to evacuate, and which become zombie fodder. The author has stated that putting the player in a position of making difficult decisions is part of the design.
    • You can accidentally blow up your snipers or infantry, too. They get better.
  • Weaponized Animal: Llamas. Wipes out all infected within an area, and leaves humans alive. It even fixes a class 4 outbreak. Given that class 4 is total infection of the area, it means they can cure zombification somehow.
  • Zerg Rush: At night, zombies come swarming in from every single entrance to the city.
    • There are also monthly modifiers that can shorten the length of a day or make the zombies run even faster (thankfully, you can't get both at once, unless you turned on the Hardcore mod).
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Played with, as some of the background material that can be unlocked suggests people have been dimly aware of the zombies' existence for decades. They've simply never posed a threat to civilization before.

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alternative title(s): Atom Zombie Smasher
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