Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

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Stubbs the Zombie
in Rebel Without a Pulse
Stubbsbox.jpg
Developer(s) Wideload
Publisher(s) Aspyr
Designer(s) Alex Seropian
Composer(s) Michael Salvatori
Engine Halo Engine[1]
Platform(s) Xbox, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Xbox
  • NA October 18, 2005
  • EU February 10, 2006
Mac OS X
  • NA November 17, 2005
Windows
  • NA November 21, 2005
  • EU February 10, 2006
Xbox 360
May 19, 2008[2]
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player, co-op multiplayer (Xbox version only)
Distribution DVD (1)
CD-ROM (3)

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse is a third-person action video game developed by Wideload Games and published by Aspyr Media, and built with the Halo engine. It was released on October 18, 2005 for the Xbox video game console, and was released for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in November that same year. The game was released on February 10, 2006 in Europe.[3] Later, the game was made available on Steam on May 17, 2007,[4] but was later removed.[citation needed] This title became available on Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace as an Xbox Originals on May 19, 2008 but was removed late 2012 due to technical issues.[5]

Plot[edit]

In 1933, Edward "Stubbs" Stubblefield is a poor traveling salesman during the Great Depression, who tries to make a living. He temporarily finds happiness with a girl named Maggie Monday, but he meets his unfortunate end when Otis, Maggie's father comes home, chases him outside, and shoots him, leaving him to die in the wilderness.

Years later in the fictional city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania at its opening ceremony in 1959, the city, founded by multi-billionaire playboy industrialist Andrew Monday, Maggie's son, has been built directly on top of Stubbs' not-so-final resting place. Stubbs rises from his grave as a zombie and decides to get his revenge by eating the brains of the inhabitants of Punchbowl, quickly creating his own army of the undead, causing increasing amounts of havoc as the zombies clash with the various militant factions of the area. During the chaos, Stubbs kills Otis Monday by blowing up his house after a brief reunion. Shortly before this, in a barn, an easter egg in a spoof of the war film Patton, Stubbs stands in front of an American flag hanging from a barn wall and gives a speech to his zombies. Though the speech consists only of the word "Brains" said in many tones with limited gestures his zombies apparently understand him well enough to let loose a cheer of "BRAINS!" before shuffling away.

Stubbs eventually reunites with Maggie and the two lovingly embrace - with Stubbs promptly eating her brain. Before her brain was eaten, Maggie revealed Stubbs was in fact Andrew's father. The angered Andrew tries to get his revenge on Stubbs by killing him from behind the force field, halfway destroying Punchbowl. Stubbs however, must destroy the force field and loom toward Andrew, but Maggie, now a zombie, convinces him to spare their son. The game ends with Stubbs and Maggie sailing off on a small rowboat, kissing as Andrew and all of Punchbowl are destroyed by a nuclear bomb to cleanse the undead infestation, and they both "live" happily ever after.

Setting[edit]

Punchbowl is a retro-futuristic city that resembles the future as portrayed by the media in 1950s. It includes hovercars, laser weaponry, a monorail, and robots. Punchbowl was envisioned and funded by Andrew Monday and created by his teams of scientists, led by former Nazi scientist Dr. Hermann Wye.

Gameplay[edit]

In Stubbs the Zombie the player plays as a zombie, and the primary goal is therefore to kill humans and devour their brains. Eating brains gives back a certain amount of lost health to the player as well as converting those humans into zombies, causing them to fight alongside the player. The player also has the option of beating an enemy to death with melee strikes to transform them into zombies.

Stubbs' zombie state prevents him from wielding any conventional weapons, and instead wields a variety of improvised weaponry and combat techniques, most of which are done using a specific body part as explosives or makeshift devices.

All of the aforementioned improvised weapons, excluding Stubbs' hand, have a chance of converting the humans they kill into zombies. Stubbs can herd zombies which are in range by whistling. Since there is a limit to how many zombies will follow him at a time, Stubbs can guide the rest by sending whole groups of zombies in a direction with a single shove. Stubbs' zombie followers can kill humans and eat their brains, just like Stubbs can, and any human killed by one of his minions will also turn into a zombie. An enemy that fires upon a zombie in a group will attract the attention of all the rest of the zombies. Crowds of zombies serve as a great shield when approaching enemies armed with ranged weapons and are needed for sowing the necessary chaos and confusion into a difficult melee.

Stubbs can also drive a wide variety of vehicles, such as cars, tractors and tanks.

Development[edit]

Stubbs the Zombie was Wideload Games' first game after its founding. The company's founder, Alex Seropian had previously co-founded and worked with Bungie and used the production as an experiment to determine how he would run an independent studio.[6] The game's development began with a team of twelve, but Seropian decided to use contractors which raised the number to sixty. This decision brought difficulties when the hiring process wasn't properly overseen, leaving the team with a shortage of producers and lack of cohesion.[6] A game development model was developed, with 12 full-time employees overseeing pre and post production phases, while independent contractors worked with the remaining content.[6] Using the Halo engine provided some problem in the early stages. The engine was completely developed by Bungie and it lacked notes from them or peer reviews that would emphasize possible programming problems.[6] Due to this, an excessive amount of time was spent determining which contractors would require training to use the engine, as well as how long they would receive instruction.[6]

From the onset, the game's concept intended to innovate the horror genre by letting the player play as a zombie. Seropian claims that the team intended to take "something that people are familiar" and turn "it upside down."[7] The game was intended to contrast with what was regarded as the general idea of zombie games, changing the "straightforward good guys versus zombies" format found in games like Resident Evil.[7] Humor became a key aspect during the developmental stage, with Seropian claiming that the team wanted to go "beyond just amusing dialogue in a cut-scene".[7] Character dialogue and game mechanics were designed so that "funny results" are directly based on the player's action, preventing them from becoming repetitive or stale.[7]

Reception[edit]

Stubbs the Zombie received a generally positive reception in North America, with IGN giving it 8.1 out of 10.0, GameSpot 7.8 out of ten and GamePro 3.5 out of 5.[8][9][10] However its reception in Europe was lukewarm, with Eurogamer giving it a score of 4/10, claiming that it has "lots of reasonable ideas that don't quite work" and "a general lack of cohesion".[11] Metacritic gave the Xbox version of the game a score of 75/100. The Windows PC version earned a score of 72/100.

The game was perceived as "painfully short" and "linear", but "never boring".[8][9] The game's environments were described as "nicely varied", noting that "places like Punchbowl, the city of the future, are extremely well designed and appropriately cool looking."[9] The game's soundtrack received predominantly positive reviews. The character's voice acting was described as the element that "set the game apart", to the point of claiming that "Never before have the sounds of zombie moaning been done so well in a game." IGN emphasized the "futile cries from civilians and armed foes" and "squishy, scalp-munching sound effects." as elements contributing to a higher quality than the game's visuals.[8]

Stubbs the character was ranked second on EGM's Top Ten Badass Undead.[12]

Cannibalism controversy[edit]

Stubbs the Zombie, along with F.E.A.R., encountered controversy in November 2005 regarding cannibalism in games.[13] NIMF's David Walsh and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman also criticized the game as "cannibalistic" and harmful to underage children. Senator Lieberman stated "It's just the worst kind of message to kids, and furthermore it can harm the entirety of America's youth".

Wideload Games responded by saying:

GamePolitics also chided the report, calling it "ridiculous" and citing 36 mainstream news outlets had picked the story immediately after the NIMF report.[15]

Soundtrack[edit]

Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released October 18, 2005
Length 38:19
Label Aspyr

The soundtrack to Stubbs features covers of 50s and 60s-era songs, as well as the original track "The Living Dead", all performed by modern-day artists.

Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Lollipop"   Ben Kweller 2:15
2. "My Boyfriend's Back"   The Raveonettes 2:38
3. "Earth Angel"   Death Cab for Cutie 3:16
4. "Shakin' All Over"   Rose Hill Drive 2:52
5. "Strangers in the Night"   Cake 2:51
6. "There Goes My Baby"   The Walkmen 2:16
7. "Everyday"   Rogue Wave 3:40
8. "All I Have to Do Is Dream"   The Dandy Warhols 2:39
9. "Mr. Sandman"   Oranger 3:02
10. "If I Only Had a Brain"   The Flaming Lips 2:16
11. "Tears on My Pillow"   Clem Snide 4:01
12. "Lonesome Town"   Milton Mapes 3:07
13. "The Living Dead"   Phantom Planet 3:26

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel without a Pulse" - PC - GameSpy". Aspyr Media. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  2. ^ Pigna, Kris (2008-05-14). "Xbox Originals: Stubbs the Zombie, Gauntlet: News from". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  3. ^ "Wideload Press quote". Wideload.com. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  4. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie invades stream". steampowered.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  5. ^ "Xbox Originals 'Stubbs' and 'Gauntlet' are now available". 2008-05-19. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Brendan Sinclair (2006-03-25). "GDC 06: Dissecting a zombie". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d Matt Leone (2005-04-01). "Feature: Stubbs the Zombie". 1up.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  8. ^ a b c Charles Onyett (2005-10-24). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse". IGN. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  9. ^ a b c Jeff Gerstmann (2008-10-20). "Reviews: Stubbs the Zombie". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  10. ^ Rice Burner (2005-10-18). "Review: Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2005-10-23. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  11. ^ James Price (2005-12-23). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  12. ^ Scott Sharkey, "EGM's Top Ten Badass Undead: Thriller Night," Electronic Gaming Monthly 233 (October 2008): 106.
  13. ^ "Video game critics take aim at cannibalism". MSNBC. November 29, 2005. 
  14. ^ "Setting the Record Straight". Wideload Games. Archived from the original on 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  15. ^ McCauley, Dennis (2005-11-30). "Gamer as Cannibal". GamePolitics. 

External links[edit]