When you think about it, zombies have a pretty limited skill set. But the things they choose to get themselves into they're usually really, really good at. Take eating brains, for example. Zombies eat brains like no one else can. It's like they were born to eat brains. Eating brains is the primary activity in Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pause, a third-person-perspective brain-eating-zombie simulator. And the thing you'll quickly learn upon firing up Stubbs is that eating the brains of the living to form a massive army of the undead is extremely satisfying, often hilarious, and, unfortunately, almost painfully brief.
Stubbs is always smoking. Doesn't he know those things will kill you?
The game's manual will give you a slight bit of backstory into how Stubbs came to exist in his undead form, but it's far more interesting to learn these bits of info from the game itself. The game metes out its story in tiny, measured doses that don't truly take shape until the game's final confrontation. This works well, because the game starts with little to no point or direction beyond eating the brains of cops, scientists, and civilians. The game takes place in a retro-futuristic take on the 1950s, mixing social Puritanism with a city of the future, complete with hovering cars, robot assistants, and laser blasters.
Also, Stubbs is an absolutely hilarious game. This is a particularly important achievement because, really, most games aren't funny. The games that attempt humor are usually the ones that fail the hardest. But Stubbs manages to work its concepts into a variety of fantastic situations. Watching a zombie give a military-style pep talk to a group of zombies in the style of Patton is especially hysterical, considering the only word zombies can say with any clarity is "brains."
The gameplay in Stubbs the Zombie is extremely satisfying but ultimately comes off as a little shallow. You start the game with no zombie powers, so you're pretty much limited to eating the brains of humans and slapping them silly until they're dead. Any method of death-by-zombie will turn your target into a zombie, eventually giving you quite a little posse of troublemakers. But your control over the other undead is quite limited. You can shove them around, which comes in handy, since you can just use other zombies as bullet shields while you attempt to get close enough to do some serious mind sucking. You can also whistle to your zombies to get them to head in your direction...at least most of the time. Who said zombies were supposed to be reliable? Besides, your undead crew is expendable, since you're always making more. So you'll rarely need a heavy set of them in any situation, and it's no big deal when your brain-feasting boppers get wasted. Though in the higher difficulty settings, having a lot of zombies between you and the armed humans on the other side really helps.
Build your zombie armada!
As you progress through the game, you'll earn four special moves. The first is a gaseous blast that stuns everyone around you, making them easy targets. Then you'll get the ability to throw (and regrow) your pancreas. This is done with the L trigger, and a second press causes it to explode, which is handy. It's really a hand grenade that you can use to zombify humans from a distance. You'll also learn how to remove your arm, which plops to the floor and gives you control. You can scoot your arm along on the ground, climb up walls, and hop onto the heads of humans, which possesses them and puts you in control. This lets you use humans to flip switches or use their firearms to eliminate a bunch of other humans by remote. The final power lets you take off your head and bowl it on the ground, which takes out anything it hits and explodes, similar to the pancreas move. Each attack is governed by a meter, and eating brains partially refills all four of them.