Video Game / Stubbs the Zombie

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Be safe! Have fun! Eat brains!

Edward 'Stubbs' Stubberfield was Born Unlucky: Barely ekeing out a living as a travelling salesman during The Great Depression, he met his end when he was shot in the stomach by a prospective customer and buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in rural Pennsylvania.

Some twenty years later, Stubbs' lonely grave is now the site of a retro-futuristic utopian city called Punchbowl, founded by millionare-industrialist Andrew Monday. The city is clean, high-tech, and safe... until Stubbs suddenly rises from the earth with a burning desire to eat human brains.

Stubbs the Zombie in: Rebel Without A Pulse is a 2005 Zombie Apocalypse third-person action game for Xbox, PC and Mac with a twist - rather than playing as a human survivor, you are the first zombie, and the entire game basically consists of you lurching around eating brains and expanding the extent of the zombie outbreak. Was made by the same development team responsible for Halo: Combat Evolved, and uses the same Game Engine.


This game provides examples of:

  • Action Commands : Used during the dance-battle against the police chief.
  • Affectionate Parody : Of the Zombie Apocalypse genre, obviously.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Andrew Monday to Stubbs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking : When describing Stubbs:
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The "bad guy" here being Stubbs himself, a brain-hungry superzombie who ends up causing the complete annihilation of the world's most advanced city while he happily sails off with his zombified girlfriend.
  • Big Bad: Andrew Monday, the mayor and founder of Punchbowl City.
  • Black Comedy : Everywhere. From the terrified cries of your human victims, to dismantling your own body for special attacks.
  • Blood Knight : A good deal of human enemies come across as this, based on the Enemy Chatter.
    • The scientists are a notable example:
    Scientist : "Oh, to hell with science! KILL!! KILL!! KILL!!"
  • Boss in Mook Clothing : The huge, chainsaw-swinging rednecks. They can eviscerate your zombie minions easily and never panic, and you have to rip off one of their arms before you can eat their brains. The first one you encounter in Punchbowl Mall is even treated like a boss encounter.
  • Bottomless Magazines : Zigzagged. Magazines run out, requiring reload, but weapons never run out of replacement clips.
  • Bullying a Dragon : Ted, the guy who throws a tantrum when Stubbs steals his hot dog as he rises from the grave. Needless to say, he's the first human you get to kill.
  • Chekhov's Gunman : The Pumpbot returns just in time to catch Dr. Wye's final attack.
  • Conspiracy Theorist : Otis Monday is clearly a parody of this mindset.
  • Dirty Communists : Otis' perceived cause of the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The Dragon : Mr. Skegness, the head of the Mayor's personal bodyguards.
  • Elite Mooks : Andrew Monday's bodyguards are tougher than military troops, wield powered up rayguns and ray-bazookas, and occasionally show up with jetpacks. They're also dressed up as barbershop quartet singers and even act the part, apparently for the purpose of appearing 'inconspicuous'.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Downplayed. The Big Bad Andrew Monday's not exactly a villain per say, but he is heavily implied to be incredibly greedy, only seems to care about his city in the sense that being the mayor means he's the richest man in the city, treats the city like it's his play-place, and cares more about property damage than the death-toll Stubbs is causing, leaving him as a Nominal Hero at best. The Dragon Mr. Skegness only seems to care about getting it on with Maggie Monday, which lands him on the Nominal Hero category as well. Evil Genius Dr. Wye does not care that he accidentally started the zombie outbreak, and sees everyone else except for himself and his fellow scientists as expendable in the name of science, leaving him as an Anti-Villain at worst. Last but not least, The Brute Chief Masters seems to only care about protecting the citizens to keep Andrew Monday happy, and seems to be almost blindly loyal to Andrew, which qualifies him for Nominal Hero too. And poor Maggie Monday (the closest thing this band gets to a Dark Chick) is apparently oblivious of the corruption of her five allies, aside from Skegness' perviness, which she somehow tolerates to an extent. And Stubbs himself, the enemy of this Five-Bad Band, is arguable a Vengeful Anti-Villain who wants revenge in the town for being shot to death in life.
  • Fartillery : Stubbs' first special attack, which lets him stun surrounding enemies and eat their brains while they're doubled over and vomiting.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • From Nobody to Nightmare : Stubbs. In life, he was a down-on-his-luck travelling salesman who ended up being killed and buried in an unmarked grave. Now he's a brain-eating monster out to bring civilization to its knees.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar : There are quite a few innuendos in the game, one of the most glaring (and earliest) being the way a pump-bot, ahem... Refuels a police car and asks if it can look "under the hood".
  • Godzilla Threshold / Nuclear Option : In the finale, when it becomes clear that Punchbowl is beyond saving, the U.S military drops an atomic bomb on the city to prevent the Zombie Apocalypse from spreading further.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: The gaping hole in the left leg of Stubb's pants reveals that he's wearing the classic "white shorts with red hearts" variety.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body : The majority of Stubb's special attacks involve ripping off parts of his own body. Luckily, he seems to be capable of regenerating the missing pieces instantly.
  • Luke, You Are My Father : Stubbs is actually Andrew Monday's illegitimate father.
  • Mad Scientist : Dr. Hermann Wye. He and his army of scientists developed the Raygun Gothic technology that makes Punchbowl function. He also created the Agro-Gro fertilizer, which brought Stubbs back to life in the first place.
  • Meaningful Name: Punchbowl, Pennsylvania. The city's the punchbowl; Stubbs is the proverbial turd.
  • Mythology Gag : A zombie outbreak in Pennsylvania.
  • Night of the Living Mooks : Your zombie minions.
  • Oh Crap! : Many enemies will jump in fright upon seeing you round the corner, and will sometimes even panic during combat - running around in small circles and flailing their arms over their heads madly.
    • Otis Monday, when he figures out who Stubbs really is.
    • Stubbs himself, upon realizing the Punchbowl Dam is going to collapse on top of him.
  • Our Zombies Are Different : Stubbs himself is a somewhat-intelligent superzombie. The many zombie Mooks you create avert the big zombie rule by being able to keep fighting even after they've gotten their heads blown off.
  • Patient Zero : Stubbs.
  • Patriotic Fervor : Otis Monday, fitting with his communist-conspiracy worldview.
    • The U.S. military gets into this too:
    Soldier : "Taste my hot Yankee lead!!"
  • Raygun Gothic : In 1959, millionaire-industrialist Andrew Monday founds the city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania; THE CITY OF TOMORROW! and the setting for the game.
  • Regenerating Health : The most basic way of regaining life, complete with a thick, gurgling sound effect as your health-meter slowly fills back up. If you're busy fighting, however, munching on a brain will give you a quick boost.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain : Averted. Zombies will keep fighting after losing their heads (though they obviously lose the ability to eat brains), and Stubbs can even remove his own head to use as an explosive bowling-ball, regenerating it immediately afterwords.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Otis Monday murdered Stubbs and buried him a shallow grave. Now Stubbs is back to have his revenge on Otis, his grandson Andrew, and his whole damn town.
  • Running Gag : Stubbs' ugly necktie is repeatedly referred to whenever someone needs to describe his appearance. It's also how Maggie recognizes him as the father of her son.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook : S.W.A.T. officers carry riot shields and wear helmets that protect against possession.
  • Shout-Out : At one point, Stubbs stands in front of a large American flag giving a rousing speech to his zombie minions in a manner reminiscent of any number of war movies, but especially the famous scene from Patton. (Incidentally, the entire speech consists of him saying "braaainss..."; albeit in a very inspiring way.)
    • Also, the chief of police is named Chief Masters. Unsurprisingly, the games are made by the same people.
    • Some police officers wear a gauntlet on their left forearm, which is a very obvious nod to Fallout's iconic Pip-Boy. The retro-futuristic 1950's vibe of the game only makes it all the more noticeable.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance : The music choice during a Zombie Apocalypse is ...interesting. It does fit the Raygun Gothic setting though.
    • The tunes include "Earth Angel", "My Boyfriend's Back", "Mr. Sandman", "If I Only Had a Brain" and others, covered by current alt bands. The trope is played entirely straight with such upbeat tunes playing while you eat peoples' brains and turn them into mindless zombie minions. Subverted in that, if you notice, all of the song titles and lyrics could have alternate, ominous meanings in the context of the game. Further subverted in the the whole point of the game is to be an Affectionate Parody of the zombie genre and the Soundtrack Dissonance helps make it all the more silly.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Punchbowl provides an apparently idyllic lifestyle for its inhabitants, built on rampant consumerism and an unchecked, trigger-happy political/scientific elite. The pollution from the citizens' decadence is pumped out for the rest of the world to deal with. The developers compare Punchbowl to the abbey from "The Masque of the Red Death", with Stubbs as the Red Death.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table : Briefly, when Stubbs is captured by the police department. The tutorial for the Hand involves rescuing him.
  • Stuff Blowing Up : Stubbs' head and internal organs are somehow capable of detonating with the force of a grenade. In the story, we have the destruction of the P.P.D. Headquarters, Otis Monday's house and the Punchbowl Dam.
    • Robots will violently explode after taking enough damage.
    • In the Punchbowl Dam, one segment requires activating a console in a locked room to open the door to the next area. One solution is to fight your way to an upper balcony and press a button - whereupon all the consoles in the locked room will spontaneously explode, opening the door.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy : When controlling an NPC with the Hand, your host will be walking around with a severed zombie forearm latched onto his cranium, rigid in the air like a flagpole. No-one will bat an eyelash until you actually ready a weapon or do anything more complicated than walking.
    Cop : "What's that awful smell?"
  • Those Wacky Nazis : Dr. Wye was one, apparently, but he defected to the Allies after the end of World War II.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change : You fight the Chief of Police in a DDR-lite minigame. And no, it isn't a case of 'using rhythm mechanics to control combat'; Stubbs and the Chief actually have a dancing competition, complete with lights, music and a crowd of zombies and policemen cheering them on.
    Chief Masters : "I said I would dance on your grave, and I meant it!"
  • The Undead
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment : Subverted. While Stubbs lacks the dexterity to use conventional weapons himself, he can use the Hand to possess enemies and use whatever weapons they happen to be holding at the time. However, you still can't pick up new weapons.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight : Played with. While the humans quickly sound the alarm once the Zombie Apocalypse starts, the robots aren't concerned at all, and apparently can't tell the difference between the living and the undead - only becoming hostile if directly attacked.
    • Specifically, Guidebot's reactions to Stubbs' appearance and abilities. When she notices the gaping hole in his stomach, she offhandedly offers a visit to Punchbowl Medical.
      • Upon unlocking and trying out the Gut Grenades:
      Guidebot : "Wasn't that your pancreas? Oh well, suit yourself."
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential : You're a zombie. You eat brains. Before you chow down on someone's head, they will hilariously beg for their life. Not like that will stop you from eating their brains anyway.
  • Villain Protagonist : Stubbs. Granted, Andrew Monday is heavily implied to be not much better.
  • The Virus : Interestingly, it's not always transmitted through a bite. You can simply beat humans to death with your bare hands, and they'll still turn into zombies.
  • Zombie Apocalypse : And guess who gets to cause it all?
  • Zombie Puke Attack: Zombie Sputum and Gut Grenades, although the latter is an adhesive capsule of the former.
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