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ups: fast action fighting, stellar graphics, smooth game play, great music, interesting online play
downs: shallow single player, imperfect multiplayer

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Infected Review
game: Infected
three star
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Majesco Games
developer: Planet Moon Studios
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ESRB rating: M (Mature)
date posted: 11:28 AM Fri Dec 16th, 2005
last revision: 01:01 PM Sat Dec 17th, 2005

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Click to read.Infected promises many exciting options--a great single-player game combined with an excellent multiplayer game, all wrapped within a humorous overall story. Unfortunately, these goals are overly ambitious and Infected fails to achieve greatness. Infected still manages to be a decent game; however, it simply isn\'t as good as it should be.

Infected has two primary modes, campaign for single player and multiplayer online or ad hoc. For both modes, Infected\'s visuals are great, as are the frame rate and the soundtrack. Other plusses include the fact that Infected allows players to customize their initial characters and to unlock additional characters like BloodRayne. Infected even comes with music videos for some of their soundtrack artists, and the soundtrack listings and variety are impressive in their own right. Despite the excellent underlying components, Infected still falters in developing into the full game it should be.

Infected\'s single player campaign mode begins with the player as a rookie cop when the Infected zombies begin terrorizing New York during the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The player, along with dozens of others, gets bitten. Unlike the others, you don\'t turn into a one of the Infected. Instead, your blood actually turns out to be the weapon for destroying the Infected. After a bit of experimenting, scientists create a weapon that allows you to shoot your blood into the Infected after they\'ve been weakened. The game begins with this kitschy background--in many ways akin to the humor in Stubbs the Zombie, and like Stubbs has a notable soundtrack --also like Stubbs, Infected ends far too quickly.

For the single player game, Infected\'s game play consists of the player running around different, small levels and shooting the Infected, and sometimes protecting others. In order to open additional levels and to earn new weapons, players must have medals which can be earned by completing levels within certain time limits. Given the number of enemies, and the fact that they have ranged attacks, this could be a difficult task. Instead, Infected\'s excellent lock-on targeting along with the combo attacks make this relatively simple. The basic game play develops with more similar levels, interspersed with clips that further the humorous storyline. Infected excels at fast handheld play given the quick levels. Despite the overly short and shallow single player mode, Infected\'s basic premise-running and killing-works quite well. For longer play Infected lacks needed depth; yet the multiplayer mode compensates somewhat for this lack.

The multiplayer mode can be played with pick up games for those in the area or over the internet for play across wider areas. The ad hoc, or pick up games, can be played as deathmatches or for multiplayer matches with a variety of games-protecting humans, fighting for control of a mad cow suit. The ad hoc mode supports up to eight players and is really quite interesting and useful. For online play, the gaming variety gets reduced to only one-on-one deathmatches. The deathmatches themselves are framed within a global Infected network where you can infect other players with your virus (or be infected by their viruses) and then track the viruses\' movement across the globe. While this a great concept, the small areas and lock-on targeting of the basic game play hinder these matches to the point that they aren\'t really very interesting or fun. Thus, while the movement of the virus is interesting, the method to get that virus to move isn\'t. In failing to make the basic player matches more interesting, the entire concept of tracking the virus also fails, which is a major shame considering the quality of the concept and of the tracking system in place.

Given all of these extras, Infected should be a great game. Infected just doesn\'t manage to bring together its story elements, design, and game play. The design is edgy (even dropping the F-bomb) and, for the zombie aficionados, Infected does offer a humorous look at the way zombie films and games incorporate news events. A modified version of Infected would make for mind-blowing cell phone gaming, but the PSP\'s large screen and Infected\'s beautiful graphics alone don\'t make for a full hand held game that needs to have both quick play and sustainable play. The multiplayer could complete the single-player mode, but sadly it doesn\'t. Overall Infected is a good game for short play, but Infected still isn\'t a killer app for the PSP. Infected does showcase some of the PSP\'s more impressive possibilities that hopefully will lead to the development of at least one game based on Infected\'s unrealized potential.

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