The Big Steam Amnesty: Nation Red

Written by Harry Butler

June 25, 2012 | 08:52

Tags: #zombies

Companies: #bit-gamer #steam

With this year's big Steam summer sale a few weeks away, we're challenging you and our writers to pick up and play the many games you may have picked up on a whim, and never got around to playing. Kicking off our big Steam amnesty, then, is Mr Harry Butler, and he's been playing Nation Red. Join in the Amnesty in the forum...

Nation Red

The Big Steam Amnesty: Nation Red Steam Amnesty: Nation Red

I picked up Nation Red almost on a whim a while back; I don’t even remember buying it, let alone splurging on the four-pack and sending it to a few friends.

On one level, Nation Red is an almost comically simple game; a top-down zombie shooter with no single player campaign, a handful of basic levels and fewer than ten enemy types, you’d think it would get old quicker than arrow-in-the-knee jokes.

What Nation Red it lacks in ambition though, it more than makes up for in sheer quantity of enemies. Zombies arrive in ever increasing waves; starting off with facing a few dozen, after twenty minutes you’re mowing down hordes of zombies big enough to give Left 4 Dead veterans nightmares. They run into the hundreds and the level of zombie-splattering is insane.

It’s not just a case of holding down the trigger though; with just two alternating weapons slots your success is dependent on your perk build and powerups. As you kill more zombies, you gain XP. Level up and you can select a perk, from faster reloads to launching spinning circular saws of doom. Picking the right combination to suit your play style is vital; do you want to tech up your gun’s firepower and re-load time, or focus on special abilities or improving power-ups?

15 minutes into a game and things are getting frantic. I’ve managed to collect my favourite weapon combination of grenade launcher and AA-12 shotgun, but just as I’m finishing off a wave, an armoured Brawler boss zombie arrives; he absorbs a huge amount of punishment and I’m struggling to thin the tide of regular zombies around him whilst dodging his strikes. Out of ammo, I retreat behind the pair of sentry turrets provided as a fall-back point, but after 15 minutes of assault A and B gun are low on ammo. They thin the herd, but soon run dry; I know the end is near.

Wading into a pile of zombies AA-12 blazing, I set off my last grenade. As they fall around me, one drops a power-up; one I’ve been building up with my perks the whole game – ‘ghost’. As I grab it, three mirror images of me, each equipped with an AA-12 appear and begin tearing the horde apart. The Brawler goes down and drops a ‘no-reload’ power up of his own; I switch to the grenade launcher and obliterate the remnants of the wave in a chain of explosions as my ghostly friends evaporate. The wave counter ticks up one. Incoming count: 350. Bring it on.

Was it worth it?
Unequivocally yes. Big, dumb and fun, Nation Red is great.
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