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Video Game / Judge Dredd vs. Zombies

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Judge Dredd vs. Zombies is a top-down shooter for iOS, made by Rebellion Developments using the Free2Play model. It was released in 2011 to promote the then-upcoming film reboot of the franchise. Unlike most licensed games, however, it has nothing to do with the film’s plot, taking place in some unnamed continuity where zombie virus outbreaks have occurred in several sectors and Judge Dredd is the only one capable enough to stop them. The game is frequently updated: at the moment, there are 30 main levels in three groups of 10, three arenas where the goal is to survive as long as possible and the Psi mission mechanic, which allow the player to obtain bonuses by being logged in at the right time.

Judge Dredd vs. Zombies features the following tropes:

  • Artificial Brilliance: The auto-targeting system. While in such games it often takes up to several seconds to lock on and can choose enemies that aren’t dangerous enough, here it works perfectly. Not only is it very fluid, but it can take both distance and different enemy types into account: if there an exploding zombie amongst the group of enemies, it will often be targeted first to catch them in the blast. You can target manually as well, but often there is no need to do so.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The grenade launcher. It's powerful, sure, but it has a very small magazine size, it can damage you at short range and you get it far too late into the game, when you would likely already have a mostly-upgraded shotgun. The pre-upgrade rifle allows you to one-shot zombies, but takes time to lock on and has a low ammo capacity, making it useless when rushed by groups of zombies.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Sniper rifle can do this on the zombies if you allow Dredd several seconds to lock onto them, resulting in a One-Hit Kill.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The shotgun. It has good magazine size, can be fired quickly and has great spread, allowing it to hit several zombies at once. Once you've upgraded it, it becomes awesome and practical, letting you one-shot entire groups of zombies.
    • The Lawgiver pistol. Excellent rate of fire and decent magazine size, as well as being cheaper to upgrade than other weapons.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. All weapons have limited magazine size and Dredd can only carry 5 ammo clips. It's entirely possible to run out of ammo if you don't refill at the ammo dumps.
  • Combos: There is a combo meter filled up by killing enemies and collecting Judge badges scattered around the levels and reset once you take damage from any source. The higher the meter, the greater your score multiplier, with the maximum of 4X. This is needed to get more credits from the Gameplay Grading system.
  • Continuity Nod: Even though this has nothing to do with the film’s plot, the game still does a reasonable job at recreating the atmosphere of the universe. The weapons and the locations have all been featured in the comics, you can increase the combo meter by collecting Judge badges and some levels have "Judges Only" written on the floor.
  • Crate Expectations: Levels often have crates and/or cardboard boxes scattered around them. These can be broken, either by shooting them or simply walking over them. Sometimes, they'll have the Judge badges, but they can be empty just as often.
  • Deadly Lunge: All zombie types besides the most basic one and the bloat love to do this. Usually they'll just run up to you, but the last zombie type encountered will jump a fair distance instead.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The bloated zombies do this at death, dealing extreme damage to Dredd if he's too close to them. On the bright side, zombies aren’t immune to it either.
  • Elite Zombie: There are five zombie variants in total: the weak, half-rotten grey zombie, "fresh" zombie with greater health and charge attack, slow, bloated zombie which explodes after one hit, extremely tough dark green zombie and a relatively fragile leaper zombie.
  • Exploding Barrels: The standard red variation. There is a twist on the formula, though: they will only explode outright if targeted directly. If they're hit by stray shotgun pellets or if a zombie is knocked back into one, they will burn for a few seconds first before exploding regardless. Due to the wave combat used, these barrels are something of a strategic asset, best conserved for later waves, especially if you’re fighting in the arena levels.
  • Follow the Money: Here, you pick up the Judge badges instead of money to increase the combo meter or simply to top it up to counter the decay.
  • Fragile Speedster: The last zombie type is this. Their health is at best the same as of the primary zombie type, but they compensate for this by leaping around like crazy to avoid your attacks.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted. The explosions from barrels and grenade launcher projectiles will damage you if you're standing to close. This works both ways, though, and zombies can be damaged or killed if a bloated zombie explodes near them.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of the mission, you will be rated from one to three stars. The rating takes into account whether you have taken any damage, whether you collected all Judge badges and how high your overall score was. If your rating is extremely high, you'll also obtain a Judge recommendation.
  • Limited Loadout: You can only carry one weapon on the mission and several clips to it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Shotgun blasts and barrel explosions often result in zombies being torn apart into chunks.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Like in comics, the weapon names. Lawgiver pistol, Widowmaker shotgun and Reaper rifle are nothing to laugh about. Disappointingly, the grenade launcher is "only" Hi-Ex.
  • No Scope: The sniper rifle technically can be fired without aiming it, but it is barely more powerful than a pistol in this way.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Psi missions and the area sweeps are this. They include Dredd stopping things like gang shoot-outs, catching drug traffickers, etc. but all of it happens offscreen.
  • RPG Elements: Each of the guns can have its damage, magazine size, reload speed and rate of fire upgraded up to four times for a price. The price is not fixed either, but varies for each gun depending on its stats: pistol has cheap upgrades to reload speed, but expensive ones to damage, sniper rifle's damage upgrades cost nothing but the magazine size will take a chunk out of your pocket, etc. There are also the one-off upgrades you can purchase before each mission. These include increased sight range, improved body armour or instant reloads.
  • Shock and Awe: In the arena levels, there are a few tiles on the floor with exposed wires, and more can be made by destroying the Exploding Barrels. These tiles spark every once in a while and they deal fair damage to both you and the zombies when it happens.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Zig-zagged. The shotgun is far more powerful up close and deals only a fraction of its damage at range. However, even at range the damage is decent and comparable to the pistol or the sniper rifle without zooming in.
  • Slow Motion: The camera often displays in slow-motion particularly awesome sights, like barrels taking out multiple zombies or a last zombie of the wave being blown apart.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Played with. There is a pistol, a shotgun and a sniper rifle, but instead of the usual submachine gun/assault rifle you get a rarer grenade launcher. Earlier builds of the game did have the submachine gun, but it was dropped after players complained that it was too generic and that the pistol already filled a similar function anyway.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Inverted with the Psi missions. You're shown a range of crimes predicted to occur in the few hours' time and the rewards expected for them. If you choose to take any of them up, all you have to do is be playing the game at that time (which can be anywhere from 4 to 72 hours) to be able to claim your reward.
    • Downplayed during the campaign – while it’s impossible to fail the level because you took too long, the combo meter drains with time, resulting in low score multiplier and thus barring you from earning maximum amount of credits.
  • Worm Sign: One will appear a few seconds before zombies themselves come out of the floor.