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Freeware Garden: The Running Dead

If you squint, this guy *is* Rick!

The Running Dead is Rick Dangerous turned into an (essentially) endless runner. With zombies. And though I still have traumatic memories of both Rick games and never really understood what the fuss with Canabalt was all about, I am deeply enjoying it. Yes, despite also being mortally bored of zombies.

Must be the fact that its content isn’t procedurally produced and that each and every screen/day of the thing helps tell a story. A story about trial and error during the zombie apocalypse to be precise, that has you double-jumping on the first two screens just to make sure, then douple-jumping and carefully single jumping, then shooting and jumping and then hoping to collect some extra ammo, which – after three hours of play – I can assure you exists.

I actually saw a bullet lying on the ground just waiting to be picked up in my final, triumphant attempt at The Running Dead that had me reach the lofty heights of its twelfth screen. So, yeah, it’s a tough game and it does require you remember what you did wrong during your previous playthroughs, but it almost, somehow feels fair.

Some screens can be successfully tackled in your first attempt, whereas all others feel like something you should have been able to clear if only you were a bit faster. Or more observant. And then you try again for now you know The Running Dead is brutal and well designed and I really want to see how it ends.

Speaking of which, should you actually reach that elusive ending, please do post a video of your run. I’d really love to see it without obsessively pouring more hours into the thing, enjoyable as it may be. Please?

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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