Zombies in the Navy: Don't ask, don't tell.
The life of a zombie must really suck. I mean, your body is constantly decomposing and parts of you are falling off left and right. On top of that, everyone you meet either runs from you or blasts your head off with a shotgun, making for a really tough social life. Yup, being one of the undead definitely sucks.
Jaleco has unleashed a new breed of zombie with their latest horror adventure title, Carrier. The game takes place aboard the Heimdal, an aircraft carrier that has picked up a mysterious prehistoric organism know only as ARK. Unfortunately, ARK breaks loose and begins to infect the crew, turning them into tentacle headed zombies and other creatures of the dark. Players initially take on the role of Jack Ingles, member of an elite combat team sent to find out what's going on. After completing Jack's scenario, players get to experience a slightly different game from his partner, Jessifer's viewpoint. [Jessifer? ~Ed]
Carrier's basic design is similar to that of Resident Evil, so you gamers should have no problem jumping right in. What separates Carrier from other survival horror titles is the use of the BEM-T3 scope. Since some of the infected crew members still look human, this handy scope gives you the power to distinguish between who's safe and who's about to rip your head off. The scope also gives you the ability to see in the dark. Trust me, you'll be using this handy little toy a lot. While the concept is pretty cool, you don't really need the scope to tell you who's a zombie and who's not. Most zombies stumble toward you at top zombie-speed and can't wait to take a bite out of your precious hide. The humans just kind of stand there like cows in a pasture. With this in mind, the scope just becomes a tool for seeing in the ever present dark. Still, pretty cool though.
Carrier's atmosphere is definitely done right. The game is complete with your scary ambient sounds and that eerie music that just screams "There's a zombie around the corner!!!" The backgrounds of the game are crisp and clean. It's also dark and I do mean pitch black. There is even one point in the game where the whole screen goes completely black. While the darkness does add greatly to the scare factor, I found it to be annoying when the main character was barely visible. Too bad you can't move with your super scope on. One definite problem was that the zombies really aren't that scary. Don't expect to freak out any of your friends with this one, boys and girls.
The control system of Carrier is actually a pleasant surprise. Movement is easy and combat isn't a chore. While aiming your weapon, characters have a full range of motion and can actually target various body parts of enemies. Hmmm... Decisions, decisions.
Carrier is a generally linear game that doesn't really keep sending you back to places already visited. This setup keeps things simple and keeps the game from becoming repetitive. Also, the puzzles that must be solved aren't overly complex, making the game fun instead of frustrating.
The cut scenes aren't bad and help move the story along nicely. Each time you happen upon a friendly face, the video kicks in and updates the situation. Nothing spectacular, but still helps the gaming experience. A funny thing about the cut scenes is the difference between the speech and mouth movements. If you've ever watched those dubbed, old-school Chinese kung-fu movies like Super Ninjas or Wu Tang you know exactly what I mean. The voice acting isn't the greatest, but it does get the job done without making the characters sound too stupid.
One small complaint I have is the lack of variety with weapons and other items. Action adventure games usually provide a large assortment of weapons to unleash upon the forces of evil. A flame thrower to light up the dark and cook some zombie burgers would have been nice, but alas, plain handguns and machine guns will have to do.
Some people may call Carrier just a Resident Evil wannabe, but in truth, Jaleco's latest has just enough originality in it to stand on its own. While it is definitely no RE, the Carrier experience is a good one that will tide you horror adventure fans over until Codename Veronica drops.