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Video Game / Road of the Dead

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Road of the Dead is an Adobe Flash game on Newgrounds about John Creasman, a car mechanic who must escape a city currently suffering from a Zombie Apocalypse. He must also charge through military checkpoints that save his progress. It is playable here.

A sequel was released in August 2013, starring a pair of soldiers, Cocheta and Diane, attempting to escape the outbreak. The developers released Segway of the Dead earlier in the same year as an April Fools' Day joke; the makers later made a video composed of the angriest reviews they got.

It received a Gaiden Game titled Lab of the Dead.


This game contains examples of the following:

  • Action Duo: The core mechanic of the sequel, with the player controlling one soldier with the keyboard and another with the mouse simultaneously. Cocheta Solomon's more emotion-driven and idealistic (consequently he's not in a good place right now), and clumsier to handle, as he has superior firepower but reload times that've birthed many a game over. Diane Rosewood is less volatile.
  • All for Nothing: The nuke kills a lot of civilians in the city, only for it to fail to stop the zombies. Cocheta even points this out to General Sherman when he tells him that he "sacrificed them all for nothing."
  • All There in the Manual: If you play the Gaiden Game, you'll know how the zombies came to be.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Cocheta calls out General Sherman for choosing to nuke the city, and for initially refusing to help him and Diane by asking, "Are your medals and pins worth anything, sir, OR ARE YOU THE BIGGEST COWARD I'VE EVER MET IN MY LIFE?" Sherman then agrees to help the two soldiers.
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  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Rocket Launcher in the second game is touted as the strongest weapon available. However, it is practically useless in most situations. Crowds of zombies are far and few in most modes, so rockets often go to waste killing only a few zombies. Firing it while moving opens the risk of exposing the vehicle to a damaging explosion if the rocket blows up too close to the Humvee unless a Steroid is used. The most useful aspect of the rockets in regular gameplay seem to be clearing the road of vehicles, which can be easily done with the Mounted Machine Gun at the same cost with less risk and difficulty.
  • Badass Boast: John in the first game. "I'm not stopping! You hear me?! I'M NOT STOPPING!"
  • Badass Driver: The protagonists are this incarnate. John in particular is reliant almost entirely on his driving skills to get him out of Evans City alive.
  • Big "NO!": Cocheta can let out a particularly despair filled one if Diane is in the driver's seat when you take enough damage for someone to die.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • John escapes, but the nuke fails to stop the zombies. Not that it should be a surprise given the game's overall tone.
    • Played straight in the sequel. Despite escaping the city, the epidemic turns out to be on a global scale. With the entire military in disarray, the general, the protagonists and one lone unit are all that are left.
  • Boring, but Practical: The starting pistol in Road of the Dead 2. It's not much at the beginning of the game, and you'll want the other guns for the damage that they do. But the pistol has infinite ammo, cheap upgrades, and a pretty decent reload time right from the beginning. Dedicate enough grinding towards it, and before long, it'll get you through most situations, all without having to stop for ammo afterwards.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Natch. And of course, it makes you resilient against bullets in typical gameplay style.
  • Car Fu: Your main method of dealing damage. While you can acquire a pistol, it's only used to shoot down anything that clings onto the hood. It remains effective in the sequel despite the expanded arsenal available to the player.
  • Cool Car: The basis of the gameplay!
  • Darkest Hour: In the sequel, Cocheta realizes that the city is about to be nuked and starts desperately calling everyone he can to try and get a transport out, to no avail. The situation appears truly hopeless until he manages to get through to General Sherman.
  • Developers' Foresight: In the first game, when returning to the upgrade menu upon dying, Creasman will say lines relating to what caused his death, from zombies to helicopters to a nuke.
    • In the sequel, if the player reloads their weapon while a zombie is clinging to the hood, the character doing the reloading may swear or worriedly say things like "Come on, come on!".
    • Also in the sequel, dialogue for Diane and Cocheta will play from the proper sides for who's doing the shooting and driving, and if the player chooses to switch seats while a line of dialogue from either one plays, the audio will switch sides along with them.
  • Death by Transceiver: Oh, rest assured there's plenty to go around in these games. One checkpoint that John blasts through becomes filled with undead almost immediately and the soldier reporting it becomes overwhelmed in the middle of the call.
  • Determinator: John as seen above in Badass Boast, and Cocheta and Diane in the sequel.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: In the sequel, Cocheta and Diana at one point decide to go onto the highway. This is exclusively where the previous game took place, and feels (due to being a Drought Level of Doom) to be the finale. Nope, you're just 2/3rds in.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The Highway in the sequel. All that's up there are ammo refills and weapons crates, and wrecked vehicles are choking up a lot of the road. For those whose engines take critical damage, there are water barrels scattered across the stage, but they're rare.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The mutated zombies, who will always cling onto your car no matter how hard you hit them. You have to shoot them with your gun in order to get rid of them. This is oh-so-much-more-true in the sequel, where they actively chase after your vehicle, need multiple shots just to fend off (not kill), can grapple the driver or gunner to force them into a QTE, and frequently hunt in packs.
    • In the sequel, the mutants are also joined by the even tougher alpha mutants.
  • Elite Zombie:
    • The mutated zombies. They're extremely tough and will always cling to your car if you hit them in the first game. In the second game, they're capable of running faster than your humvee, shooting them enough when they cling onto your vehicle only deters them the first time (the second time kills them), and can even grapple a character by entering from the side window, forcing a QTE in order to remove. And then there's the Alpha mutants, which have even more health and have to be 'deterred' three times to be put down.
    • The second game introduces several more zombie types with special abilities. The Ravager, which can move faster than the regular zombies, the Brute, which is a muscular zombie with more health points, the Grub, which lies on the ground and latches onto your car if you hit it, and the zombie soldier, whose body armor protects it from your gunshots.
  • Enemy Chatter: Provides the player with ample warning for the military's attacks, as well as updates on their ill-fated attempts to repel the zombies.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Downplayed. Multiple collisions or massive firepower are required to blow up a car. Played straight with fuel trucks in the sequel, which will explode after even a few shots from a pistol.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Wrecked cars, soldiers, helicopters, bombs, and of course zombies all want you dead.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Present off screen, but averted in the original game itself. You hear the military fighting the zombies over the radio, but in the game itself the soldiers and zombies ignore each other and focus only on you.
    • Played somewhat straight in the sequel's FUBAR mode. Zombies will kill any soldier they bump into, and soldiers can kill zombies that wander into their line of fire. However, they still primarily focus on the player.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The mutated zombie suggest this is the case.
  • A Father to His Men: In direct opposition to the unnamed military commander, General Sherman cares about his troops far more. He orders his to fall back when positions become overrun whereas the previous commander is more 'stand your ground at all costs'. Even going so far as to as to tell his troops that rescue is on the way, even though there is no way for transports to get to them before the nuke hits. You can hear the emotion in his voice as he does so. In the sequel, he puts his own life on the line to save Diane and Cocheta (even if Cocheta has to convince him first.)
  • Fragile Speedster: John Creasman, in comparison to Diane and Cocheta. When he makes his Previous Player-Character Cameo in Road of the Dead 2, it quickly becomes apparent that their stock military Humvee has no hope of keeping pace with his custom sports car. However, he has very limited offenses (just a pistol with nine non-replenishable bullets and his own four wheels), and while his car can take a bump or two, John himself is rather fragile.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Two checkpoints in the first game reports being swamped by undead moments before (and for the latter, after) you arrive. When you get there, there's only a small smattering of undead, if even that, due to the random placement of enemies and obstacles.
    • Despite being pulled in favor of General Sherman in the first game, the unnamed commander can still be heard issuing commands to his soldiers.
    • John's car in the ending of the first game is shown completely clean and intact without a single upgrade on his bumper and a windshield without any cracks in it, something that's almost impossible to maintain in normal gameplay. His car in The Stinger of the sequel is noticeably more accurate to what the gameplay was like, having a fully upgraded and bloodied bumper with the broken windshield and windows.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The soldiers are this. Subverted with Cocheta, who wears the same mask, but is a protagonist in the second game. He only reveals his face at the end of the game.
  • General Failure: The unnamed military commander seems to have no plan for fighting the zombies besides setting up fences and shooting them, ordering his troops to hold their positions and "maintain current strategy", even as it becomes clear that "current strategy" isn't working. He gets worse as he gets increasingly frustrated by their failures to stop Creasman; at one point, he tries to order his men to fall back to a new position, only to be told that they just came from that location.
  • Gorn: No surprise, given who the animator is.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Diane loses hers early to a zombie attack and goes the whole game without it. Cocheta, however subverts it. He doesn't take his helmet or mask off until the last cutscene, although his helmet does seem to be different in design compared to other soldiers.
  • Hydrant Geyser: In the second part, shooting a hydrant and driving through the geyser is the preferred way of putting out a burning engine.
  • The Jaywalking Dead: The game is about a guy escaping a Zombie Apocalypse in his car, running over any that get in his way.
  • Let Them Die Happy:
    • With the nuclear detonation just two minutes away and troops still left in the city, General Sherman assures them that the choppers will be there to evacuate them soon, and that they have made him proud.
    • Sherman tries this on Cocheta in the sequel. He doesn't buy it.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Early in the second game, soldier zombies can be this. They have a random chance of ignoring a hit, and when you have low stats and only the weakest weapons a soldier happening to No-Sell two or three shots in a row is death sentence. It quits being this fairly quickly as you level up.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Part of the artist Sickdeathfiend's style.
  • Made of Iron: The player characters can survive being shot a few times by M-16s and the main weapon of the AH-64 Apache - a 30mm chaingun.
  • Meaningful Name: The city ends up in roughly the same condition that the last American city to be visited by a General named Sherman ended up in too.
  • Mighty Glacier: Diane and Cocheta are this compared to John. Their Humvee is far slower than his custom sports car, but they have eight guns between them and can repair their ride, heal themselves, and replenish their ammo at specific spots. This makes them far more durable and deadly than John could ever hope to be.
  • Mini-Boss: Apaches in the first game. Alpha Mutants in the sequel.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The helicopter is codenamed "Hellfire", and its missiles and chaingun gives it more than enough to back up its name. Though it loses some oomph since it keeps getting taken down after smacking into one too many signs. Repeatedly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's heavily implied, though never outright stated, that the main character's breaking through military checkpoints is responsible for the military falling to the zombies (though in all fairness, the military was already losing the battle at the start). In the sequel, however, it appears that the military was overrun days before John began his run. The sequel also reveals that the outbreak is occurring in many other cities at the same time.
  • Nominal Hero: John Creasman is a mechanic with a criminal record who'll risk life and limb to get out of the city before the bomb is dropped, even if it means unleashing the zombie plague on the rest of the country, or even the world.note  He also doesn't show a whole lot of remorse whenever he accidentally kills a civilian.
  • Nuke 'em: The military is forced to resort to this when the outbreak proves too much for them. It sadly doesn't work at all.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Creasman lets one off when he sees the military starting to become serious, usually in the form of Apache Helicopters.
    • In the sequel, whomever is driving will sound off with either this or You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! when they see a bombing run. The player is also likely to utter one when they hear three or four mutants cry out in succession.
  • One-Hit Kill: The pistol in the first game.
  • The Operators Must Be Crazy: In 2nd game after General Sherman's certain announcement, Cocheta realizes the city is about to be nuked. The protagonists try to call for evac using the radio, but the overburdened female dispatch's only response is a nervous "Please hold." Twice.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Most of them are pretty run-of-the-mill, except for the mutants, who are impossible to shake off. Or the super mutants.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Your final objective in both games is to escape before a nuclear warhead turns the city into rubble.
  • Outside Ride: If you don't hit somebody, dead or alive, hard enough, they cling onto your hood (except for civilians). Soldiers and zombies try to kill you, obviously.
  • Pop the Tires: Courtesy of the many spike strips scattered on the road. Damaged tires cause the car to steer off-center, but don't affect speed.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In the sequel, the chopper breaks down just as Diane and Cocheta arrive, forcing them to defend it from zombies as the mechanic makes repairs.
  • Plot Hole: After John is identified on the radio early on in the first game, it's established that the unnamed commander knows he is making his way towards the tunnel to exit the city and emphasizes that nobody is getting out, with even General Sherman trying to stop you after he takes command. Yet when John gets there,note  it's left completely unbarricaded, allowing him (and presumably other civilians) to escape with only a few seconds left to spare.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The second game takes place from the POV from two soldiers of the military that John Creasman has to fend off as he escapes.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Creasman has a brief one in the sequel's story when Cocheta and Diane go onto the highway and in the post-credits scene.
  • Puzzle Boss: In the first game, the only way to destroy the Apache Helicopters attacking you is to make them crash into road signs at the side of the road three times.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: General Sherman proves to be as reasonable as one could expect from a horrid situation they're in. Once he finds out that nuking the zombies is ineffective, he very quickly attempts to contact any remaining personnel, telling the few he gets in touch with to fall back immediately, and rendezvous with his chopper at a more defensible location.
  • Rogue Soldier: In F.U.B.A.R. Mode, Cocheta and Diane are declared fugitives and thus will be ambushed by other soldiers.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: If a zombie manages to get into your car before you can shake or shoot it off, the screen turns to black and you hear some very unpleasant screaming, followed by the sounds of a certain something chewing on a certain someone's flesh. In the sequel, the background turns red if you die (unless it's a explosion that kills the person driving; then the screen turns black).
  • Sequel Hook: The second game ends with Diane, Cocheta and Sherman heading off to regroup with a unit at a defensible location, with Sherman swearing to continue the fight. It even ends with "To Be Continued".
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The sequel's timespan is much greater which means there are several discrepancies in the event order. General Sherman takes command quite early - long before Cocheta and Diane get on the highway where John happens to overtake them. Also in the final stand aboard Sherman's chopper, he has none of the lines he had in the first game shortly before the city was nuked.
    • In the post-credits scene in the sequel, John has brown hair, where as in the first game he has black hair.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In the sequel you can save many civilians by transporting them to safehouses built from churches and police stations. They all almost certainly die anyway when the city is nuked since the zombies keep spreading - unless you bring them with you to General Sherman's chopper, which earns you an achievement. However, they don't appear in the chopper with the main characters in the end scene.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first game, if Creasman runs over a civilian, he'll call them a "bunch of yo-yos".
    • The achievement for getting rid of the helicopter the first time is Road Warrior.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: In both games, a high-pitched horrible screech marks the appearance of a mutated zombie. And if you hear more than one...
  • The Stinger: A brief one in RoTD 2 showing the mechanic from the first game leaving in his car... Being unknowingly followed by several mutants. While one jumps at the camera.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: When you reach the helicopter at the end of the sequel, there's an ammo crate present that you can use to replenish all of your weapons. You're going to need that ammo for the Hold the Line sequence.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Apaches are defeated by making them smash into highway signs. Apparently the pilot is not looking at where he is going, but then again he is flying backwards.
  • Threat Backfire: Played with one certain threat the Hellfire pilot yells at you in the first game. Considering John is going to die anyway if his escape fails, he doesn't care much if his vehicle will be intact after his demise:
    Hellfire pilot: "STOP or your vehicle will be DESTROYED!!"
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The military gets more and more desperate to keep your possibly-infected body from leaving, up to and including carpet bombing the highway repeatedly.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Both games feature a Challenge Mode that pits the player against the clock, tasking him to rack up points to extend the given time.
    • Near the end of the first game's story mode, the clock will start ticking as you try to escape the nuke.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The civilians. They keep running in front of your car or in your line of fire. Using your horn helps sometimes, but not always. (Anyhow, why they hear your horn, but not your machine gun, is beyond anyone's guess). They are even too stupid to enter a safehouse if they are right in front of it. You have to stop to get them in your car, and then in the safehouse. The civilian drivers are worst. You might think it is a good idea to stop if a military Humvee firing a roof mounted machine gun crosses your road, but they prefer to ram it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The zombies. In the first game they almost never manage to grapple the car (aside from mutants), even mutants moved at a slow gait, and all zombies died from a single headshot. Notably, John had only a small pistol with a few rounds for the entirety of the game. In the sequel, the soldiers are packing a wide array of powerful firearms, zombies now grapple the car all the time and they require many headshots to dispose of. Mutants, who died to a single headshot before, now take an entire magazine to kill and can easily outrun the Humvee.
  • Undeathly Pallor: In these games, zombies are portrayed as having either bluish or greenish skins.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In the sequel. What's that, you've made it to the last stretch and finally have a chance to get out of Evans City? Here, have a Hold the Line sequence while the helicopter pilot fixes a pressure valve, sucker.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • The player may choose to actually use and upgrade his car's horn, reducing civilian fatalities.
    • In the sequel, the player can pick up the civilians and drop them off at safe zones for bonus points. They almost certainly die anyways from the nuke, but points for trying.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The player may choose to intentionally hit civilians (you lose RP for doing that).
  • Villainous Breakdown: The unnamed military commander trying to stop you loses it the further you get towards the tunnel. Eventually he breaks completely, and gets pulled in favor of General Sherman.
  • Weaponized Car: It doesn't have missiles or machine guns, but in the end after you've upgraded all your equipment, it's basically a tank that goes over 100 MPH. In Road of The Dead 2, however, you do. Except you can only have one at a time. And you have to repurchase it every time you run out of ammo.
  • You Got Guts: After Cocheta calls him out, Sherman tells the soldier he's "got a lot of heart".
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Naturally.