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Judge Dredd, or rather 2000 AD, has always been a pretty awesome and over the top comic series, and now that series has an iOS game. Judge Dredd vs. Zombies is a new dual stick shooter from Rebellion Development and Fuse. It has some good things going for it, but unfortunately, the game is very weak overall and focuses on in-app purchases more than anything else.
Without any explanation, a zombie virus has broken out in some undisclosed part of Mega-City One, and our titular hero has been sent in to things clean up. I'm not sure why they would dispense a walking, talking combination of judge, jury, and executioner to take care of a zombie infestation, as zombies aren't exactly law breakers, but whatever, let's roll with it. Armed with your trusty Lawgiver pistol and a bevy of repetitive one-liners, you set off to take care of business.
This dual stick shooter isn't really dual stick at all, and uses a fairly well done auto-targeting system. You only have to worry about avoiding enemies really. Each level consists of several generic looking rooms filled with zombies, exploding barrels, ammo pickups, and collectible badges. After wiping out the undead hordes, you simply walk to the newly unlocked level exit and move on. You are rated out of three stars on each level based on your score, and can even receive a special commendation somehow. The way you nab that three star high score is by keeping your score multiplier up. Each enemy you kill adds to the multiplier, and the collectible badges replenish the multiplier, keeping it high when no enemies are around. I have absolutely no clue what the prerequisites are for earning a commendation though. As I said, the game is a bit light on information.
In between levels, you'll have a chance to upgrade your iconic pistol or the other three guns that are eventually added to your arsenal, including a shotgun, sniper, and grenade launcher. You can only take one weapon into a level with you, so you've got to choose carefully. The pistol is easily the most versatile weapon, and easiest to keep your multiplier up with. The sniper rifle uses a really cool timed targeting system and is massively powerful when used correctly, but it's hard to keep the multiplier up with due to slow reload times. The Shotgun has a very wide spread and does shockingly little damage. Waves of enemies are pushed back and kept away from you but take several shots to kill, and once again, we have multiplier troubles.
The real weakness of this game comes from the upgrading. Even if you get three stars on every level, you will not have enough points to keep your upgrades high. You can equip several optional pieces of equipment which grant bonuses, but these must be re-purchased for every single use, and they are ridiculously expensive. The difficulty scales in the enemies favor very quickly, and you die in only a few hits. What's worse, is that you can run out of ammo and have no way of defending yourself. You can argue that it's part of the strategy to constantly seek out ammo refills, but this is easier said than done. Of course, you can purchase more upgrade credits in-app, but don't. It's not worth it. This is a very weakly designed game, with repetitive and frustrating levels, all crafted to tempt you with IAP.
The visuals are decent, but nothing special. The music is underwhelming, and the one-liners that Dredd constantly throws out make him sound like Duke Nukem, but in a bad way. I kind of wish they just used sound bites from Stallone's hilarious depiction of Dredd from that ridiculous live action movie. It would have been far more entertaining that way. Game Center leaderboards and achievements are supported. You can download this iOS Universal game for one dollar, but I really wouldn't recommend it.