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Undead Knights Review

These days, if you want to create instant fun, it seems as if the solution is to "just add zombies." Undead Knights for the PSP, from publisher Tecmo, takes this philosophy and runs with it by injecting a healthy dose of reanimated rotting corpses into mundane, screen-filling hack-and-slash action. The idea of transforming hordes of enemies into your own personal army of shambling doom is an intriguing one, but in the case of Undead Knights, the end result is little more than a Dynasty Warriors-style game sauteed in extra zombies.

You play as one of three pallid, undead warriors hell-bent on revenge. They were once loyal knights serving under King Gradis in the kingdom of Cavalier, but because the knights suspected the king's beautiful (and overly buxom) new queen of foul play and witchery, they are murdered at the behest of the king. After their deaths, a mysterious being known as "The Beast" offers to revive them as undead and grant them the power to turn their enemies into zombies under their control. Though there's a twist or two thrown in for good measure, the plot mostly serves as a straightforward excuse to make a soldier-slaying and zombie-making mess.

Undead Knights offers you three difficulty levels from the start, allowing you to go through any of its 20 chapters on "Hell" difficulty if they get too boring. It also has its own list of achievements (dubbed Revenge Titles) that unlock for such things as throwing a certain number of zombies, turning a certain number of soldiers or larger characters into zombies, destroying a certain number of structures, and the like. They've been given amusing names, too, with some favorites being "Boom Goes the Dynamite", "Tenacious Z" and "World's Greatest Boss" among others. The game allows you to revisit any chapter to improve your rankings and throws in three multiplayer modes for good measure as well. These are actually more interesting than the main game: One mode has you throwing zombies at a second player to see who can score the most hits; another has you racing through several areas before fighting to the death; and the last one is a token Survival mode. The amusement of chucking corpses at each other or pummeling each other after a race isn't necessarily worth playing through six hours of the single-player game just to unlock every multiplayer map, but it's nice to have these options.

There's nothing entirely terrible about Undead Knights, except for maybe the soldiers that infinitely spawn out of nowhere. It's just disappointing that the action remains so simple and unremarkable when many similar games exist for the PSP. This is especially true when you consider that creating a zombie army--its one leg up on such games as Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi--doesn't let you do anything much more exciting than demolish an iron gate.



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