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Video Game / Zombie Driver

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Zombie Driver is a PC Driving Game developed by Polish developer EXOR studios in 2009 and distributed through Valve's Steam platform, in which you attempt to build up large Combos running over zombies with a car. The game features an Isometric third-person chase cam and driving feels not unlike that of Grand Theft Auto 2, except with more physics and much-improved graphics.

An explosion at a chemical plant run by a Mega-Corp has set loose a plague of the living dead on an unspecified city. You play the role of an unnamed taxi driver who has managed to survive the initial outbreak. A general hires you to go back into the city with your car and rescue survivors, and the mayor is paying you by the dollar for every zombie you kill. You can build up your combo meter by running over zombies and shooting them with a number of weapons. The better your combo, the more money you get, which can then be used to buy better weapons and upgrades for your car.

Besides the story mode, there is Slaughter Mode, which challenges you to stay alive for as long as possible on several different maps while Scoring Points. Bronze, Silver and Gold medals are awarded for reaching certain point threshholds. Added in a November 2010 update is the Blood Race, a mode that pits you against other AI-controlled drivers in a series of violent, zombie-infested events, grouped into a handful of tournaments.

An Updated Re-release entitled Zombie Driver HD was released on October 17th, 2012. In addition to a graphical overhaul, it added features such as rechargeable turbo, boss fights, additional story mode missions, and a guest vehicle: The van from Left 4 Dead's Crash Course campaign.

Zombie Driver provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: The player character would appear to be this. In the intro, he is shown killing a few zombies with a handgun while making a mad dash for his cab, peeling out and splattering a few zombies along the way. You also meet some cops and firemen who were apparently holding their own against the zombies.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: It's the Zombie Apocalypse - but instead of just getting upgrades for free, you have to earn money to buy them with. Definitely an acceptable break from reality.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Every mission objective point has at least one weapon and health pickup nearby.
    • Points where you need to rescue civilians will have the civilians armed and picking off zombies (albeit at a rate of about one zombie every few seconds) to make it easier to take out the last remaining stragglers surrounding the building.
    • Destroying zombie spawners causes a huge explosion that takes out any nearby zombies, but unlike fat zombie explosions it won't harm the player.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The military supercar, acquired late in the story mode, has excellent ratings in all three areas, but is less useful in rescue missions since it can only carry four survivors- a lot less then you'll need to rescue at that point in the game. Get ready to make some round-trips. It's more useful in the other modes, though in Blood Race it comes at a high base cost.
  • Badass Driver: Your character obviously becomes this as the zombie corpses start piling up.
  • Big Badass Rig: The HD edition's Left 4 Dead van can attain this status, if it cannot be said to have it period. The city bus might also count, once upgraded.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Your main objective in each mission is to rescue a certain number of survivors holed up in different areas of the city. Doubtless they see you as this.
  • Boring, but Practical: The bus isn't fast, but its armor and ramming ratings are as good as the Supercar's, and its capacity is more than enough to rescue all the survivors in any level in one go.
  • The Cameo:
    • The military supercar previously appeared as one of the drivable vehicles in DIPRIP'', a car-based multiplayer shooter using the Source Engine, also made by EXOR studios.
    • The HD version also features the modified van from Left 4 Dead's Crash Course campaign.
  • Car Fu: Your primary weapon is your car itself. In the HD version missions where you must drive a military half-ton truck or a power shovel rig, it is also your only weapon.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: In addition to causing a Zombie Apocalypse, we have chemistry to thank for an unspecified chemical agent that while harmless to humans, destroys zombies on contact. A few of the HD edition's story missions require you to bring a device designed to dispense this chemical to specified locations, and then defend it from zeds while it does its work. In a small bit of Gameplay and Story Integration, these chemical pools remain in subsequent missions. It doesn't quite work on mutated plant life, however...
  • Combos: Run over zombies to get cash. Run over a lot of them, hit them with different sides of your car and use different weapons to increase your multiplier.
  • Competitive Balance: Out of all the main story mode vehicles
    • Jack of All Stats: The Taxi and Police Car, though the former falls into Master of None territory compared to the rest of the vehicles.
    • Fragile Speedster: The Sports Car. Highest starting speed in the game, worst armor, ramming power and passenger space
    • Stone Wall: The Limo, with high armor and passenger space.
    • Glass Cannon: The Ambulance, with high ramming power but very low armor.
    • Mighty Glacier: The Bus. Absolutely stellar armor and ramming power, but the worst speed in the game and handles like a brick. Also has an absurd amount of passenger space, more then you could ever need to rescue every survivor in any rescue mission in one round trip.
    • Lightning Bruiser: The Supercar, which excels in everything but passenger space.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Your car will begin to lose bits of its armor and emit smoke and fire as it takes damage.
  • Dead Weight: Beware the fat zombies. They explode when you hit them, dealing massive damage to your car. The solution is to drive near them, which sets them off but not in time to damage you, and likely killing lesser zombies in the area (or just shooting them from a distance.) They are also very, very large.
  • Determinator: You, especially after it comes to pass that you're infected as well. You're getting sicker and sicker, but that's not going to stop you from rescuing people.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A meta-example: The achievement name for your first kill in the Blood Race? "Don't you ever scratch my paint again!"
  • DLC: The "Summer of Slaughter" pack, which added a new island-flavored Slaughter map. It's included in the HD version.
  • Downer Ending: Midway through the game, the driver is scratched by a zombified cat. As you progress, survivors mention that you look ill. At the end of the game, the driver narrowly escapes the city as it is lit up by a nuclear bomb only to crash his car on a rock outcropping. He apparently dies in the crash, only to reanimate. You then receive the Zombie Driver achievement.
    • From a story perspective in general, this applies: the ending has the reanimated Driver attacking someone else, so it seems that the infection hasn't been stopped.
  • Endless Game: Slaughter Mode, and also Endurance events in the Blood Race. Slaughter lasts until your car is destroyed by the zombies, and you can prolong this considerably by avoiding the fat zombies and being quick to nab repair pickups. Endurance tends not to last nearly as long, wherin the point is to hit zombies and destroy objects to extend the timer.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Lightly tapping another car will cause it to explode. The cars the player drives on the other hand can survive a lot of damage.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • From the Destructoid review: "The review will tell you, in my opinion, whether or not the act of running over and killing zombies with a car is an entertaining as it should be. If you need to know more than that in order to hit the jump and read the review, you obviously did not notice that the name of the game is Zombie Driver."
    • The name of the game takes on another meaning when you get infected in Story Mode and spend the rest of the game slowly turning into a literal zombie driver.
  • Excuse Plot: At first it looks like this: zombies have overrun the city, you have a car, go run over the zombies. Then, halfway through the game, Ominous Implications start coming up.
  • Fragile Speedster: The sports car has little armor, but goes like a Corvette on nitrous.
  • Gatling Good: Though labeled machine guns, said weapons when mounted on your car are clearly gatling guns. They chew through groups of zombies at a respectable pace.
  • General Ripper: General Blofeld really seems to enjoy sending you hurtling into the undead hordes. In fairness, he IS sending you into the city to rescue civilians, so he can't be that bad.
  • Kill It with Fire: The flamethrower cooks large groups of zombies with extra-crispy effectiveness. It's painfully short range can be offset with upgrades.
  • Made of Explodium: Parked cars explode from merely being bumped into.
  • Made of Plasticine: The zombies.
  • Militaries Are Useless: A lone taxi driver with a Weaponized Car is more effective in quelling a zombie outbreak than the entire military. Somewhat justified early on them with them having their hands tied with red tape, while cutting deals under the table with a lone agent who's technically not a soldier allows them to get more done. The military also may or may not be killing survivors themselves and covering it up.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: We have regular zombies, dog zombies, tough zombies, zombies that throw garbage at you and fat zombies that explode.
  • Nitro Boost: In addition to increasing your speed, nitro pickups also let you plow through zombies more effectively. It slowly recharges in the HD version, allowing you to use it much more frequently. It even burns zombies behind you!
  • Not My Driver: Averted, as you're the only driver left.
  • One-Hit Kill: Both the rockets and the railgun kill zombies in one hit. The rockets explode on impact and take out a bunch of zombies in a group, while the railgun gibs every zombie from your car to the top of the screen. Both have fairly limited ammo.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The final mission of the Story Mode has no survivors to rescue. Your only objective is to get the hell out of dodge, as the city is about to get nuked.
  • Palette Swap: The Blood Race offers alternate color schemes for your cars as rewards.
  • Pimped-Out Car: The game lampshades this by giving you the "Pimped Car" achievement for fully upgrading any one car in the Story Mode.
  • Scoring Points: Though in Story Mode and the Blood Race this gives you money, in Slaughter Mode they are just points.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The final mission, which requires you to outrun the nuclear blast that's about to destroy the city. Problem is, it's abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that you're infected and slowly becoming a zombie yourself, so even if you escape you're still a dead man (worse, you'll be spreading the infection outside the quarantine zone.) Really, the only good ending to this scenario is to just park yourself at the starting point and Face Death with Dignity.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
  • Suddenly Voiced: A December 2010 update added full voice-overs to the Story Mode.
  • Tank Goodness: Two missions in the HD version's Story Mode allow you the use of what appears to be a T-80 battle tank. In addition to suffering zero slowdown from hitting zombies, it has a generous health pool and unlimited rounds for it's main gun. You will wish you could use it more often.
  • The Taxi: Your starting car, with all-round performance.
  • Vehicular Combat: In the Blood Race. This is the entire point of "Eliminator" events.
  • Voodoo Shark: The mayor telling you that he'll give you money for killing the zombies that are destroying his city, which raises the question: who's paying you for destroying the city? May actually be averted. See Fridge Brilliance on the YMMV page.
  • Weaponized Car: Your cars start out looking normal, but acquire spikes, weapons and armor plating as you upgrade them.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: It's possible, though immensely impractical, to ignite zombies behind you with your nitro exhaust.
  • Wham Episode: Mission 19: Operation Dead Cat, where you end up scratched by a zombified cat and spend the rest of the game Secretly Dying.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: The entire plot thread about the military possibly colluding with the Mega-Corp to cover up the outbreak (with lethal force if necessary) is hinted at but never really goes anywhere, other than maybe the final mission, where it's left ambiguous whether or not General Blofeld know about the escape route you're going to be taking to get out of the city before the nuke blows, or if he's just leaving you to die.
  • You Break It, You Profit: Every single destructible object pays out for destroying it.
  • Zerg Rush: Keep on the move, or the zombies will swarm you, bogging you down and sapping away your armor.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Is there any other kind of zombie event? This one appears to be contained to just the city you're in.
  • Zombie Gait: Most of the zombies obey this, save the dogs. This can make them dangerous in large groups.