Cry of the Infected Review (PC)

The second game from indie developer Cyborg Arm, Cry of the Infected is a survival horror FPS with a twist: the player takes control of a zombie being hunted by the military. Following a biological experiment gone awry, the mysterious 'mindwipe' created a horde of brain-hungry zombies and martial law appears to have been declared in the unnamed city.  As a member of the infected, central character Robert must confront the patrolling soldiers as he searches for his missing girlfriend, Amy.  

Fingerless gloves? Probably listens to the Cure as well.
Errr...sure, you look good buddy. A million dollars.

What this boils down to in gameplay terms, is a pretty basic first-person-shooter. At his disposal, Robert has a nasty pair of zombie hands with which he can claw at enemies (in pretty comical fashion). However, it's not an ideal attack method given that the vast majority of enemies carry guns and will make Swiss cheese out of you from a distance. So guns are a must, but you'll need to find them first. Initially, Robert can't pick up weapons from fallen enemies because his zombified brain can't understand how to use them. Luckily, however, he finds a laser rifle with scope and seems to manage fine with that. Because we all know zombies love a laser blaster.

In general the game seems a little like a Half Life mod. Textures are flat and muddy, the shooting mechanics feel archaic (no recoil, ragdolls or sense of weight to anything) and the AI is woeful. This reviewer couldn't even entice an enemy soldier to follow him around a corner. It's very much stand and shoot only in Cry of the Infected. And yet the main problem is that whilst the role-reversal premise is a good idea, in practice the game is simply a dated FPS from the perspective of a zombie.

Yup, that's a warehouse. Rarely seen in shooters
Robert's a dab hand with a blade.

However, there are some positives to Cry of the Infected. The story isn't bad for an amateur effort and, provided you can get past the shonky voice acting, raises the odd smile. Robert has the most irritating voice (he sounds like Bollo from the Mighty Boosh as he repeatedly moans “Aaaaaaamy”) and before long you'll want to find Amy as quickly as possible, if only to shut him up. But you can't expect an all-star voice cast on an indie development like Cry,  so as it stands it's perfectly acceptable, albeit occasionally annoying. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is much better. Filled with spooky synths and chilling voices it begins to create a sense of atmosphere and the game really picks up around level six. Having been shot by what looks like a tranquillizer dart, Robert awakens into a surreal nightmare, guided by a ghostly apparition of Amy. It's definitely the highlight of the game, and the developer has created a genuinely interesting moment.

A dead Infected. The best kind...
Robert must survive against the soldiers.

Clocking in at between one and two hours, Cry of the Infected is available for download at a price of $4 and Cyborg Arm has included and alternate ending and unlockable weapon for those brave enough to play through it again. However, as cheap as it is, the game is just too unstable to recommend. There are some colossal load times (even with 2GB of RAM), persistent crash-to-desktop issues, and many, many occasions when you'll need to reload your last save game due to bugs. For those tempted by the play-as-a-zombie premise, check out the demo on the Cyborg Arm website or alternatively wait until Left 4 Dead turns up later this year.  

Top Gaming Moment: The post-tranq nightmare level. 

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By Kres (SI Elite) on May 01, 2008
Looks like a smashing hit. But yeah, they still had to work loads of hours on it.
By JamieSI (SI Core) on May 02, 2008
The screenshots do make it appear like a HL2 mod, perhaps I&#039;ll go it a go soon, the demo that is, and see what it&#039;s like.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 03, 2008
Don&#039;t know about a HL2 Mod (maybe HL1), but the online Mod for CoD2 allowing you to play as a Nazi Zombie even looks better. Makes &quot;House of the Dead 3&quot; look like Crysis. I&#039;ll wait for Alone In The Dark for my Horror-fix I think.