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Edward 'Stubbs' Stubberfield was Born Unlucky: Barely eeking 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-futuristicutopian 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.