Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

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Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
Designer(s)Alex Seropian
Composer(s)Michael Salvatori
Platform(s)Xbox, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • NA: October 18, 2005
  • EU: February 10, 2006
Mac OS X
  • NA: November 17, 2005
  • NA: November 21, 2005
  • EU: February 10, 2006
Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • WW: March 16, 2021
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse is a third-person action video game developed by Wideload Games and published by Aspyr Media. 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.[1] The game was made available on Steam on May 17, 2007[2] and was later removed, but it became available for purchase again in March 2021 following an update which fixed several major compatibility and stability issues.[3] It 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.[4]

The game was a moderate success garnering favorable reviews and sales for the Xbox version. A sequel was planned, but since Wideload's closing in 2014, it has been since declared canceled.[5]

On March 16, 2021, a remastered version of the game was released for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, featuring modernized controls and achievements/trophies.[6][7][8] An "I Love Stubbs" Collector's Edition, featuring a severed Stubbs statue and exclusive vinyl, is available as of July 2021 with a shipping date of Q4 2021.[9]


In Stubbs the Zombie the player plays as a zombie, and the primary goal is 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 has the option of beating an enemy to death with melee strikes or 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. Stubbs can drive a wide variety of vehicles, such as cars, tractors and tanks. All of the aforementioned improvised weapons, excluding Stubbs' hand, will convert enemies 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.


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.


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, and kills him, dumping his body in the wilderness.

26 years later, the city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania, founded by multi-billionaire playboy industrialist Andrew Monday, Maggie's son, has been built directly on top of Stubbs' not-so-final resting place. At its opening ceremony in 1959, 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. Beforehand, Stubbs heads to the Punchbowl Police Station where he is captured and the police chief is planning on dancing on Stubbs' grave, but he escapes by ripping his arm off and using it to control a scientist to release his restraints. Stubbs makes his way to the chief's office where they have a dance-off before the chief dances to the armory, unaware he has Stubbs' pancreas on him which explodes, killing him.

As he makes his way, eating brains of the civilians, Stubbs kills Otis Monday by blowing up his house after a brief reunion. Shortly before this, in a barn (spoofing 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 soon goes to the dam where he decided to contaminate the water by urinating in it and having some zombies complete electric circuitry to blow up the dam.

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, who got Maggie pregnant prior to his death. The angered Andrew tries to get his revenge on Stubbs by killing him from behind the force field, halfway destroying Punchbowl. Stubbs, however, destroys the force field and looms 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 as Andrew and all of Punchbowl are destroyed by a nuclear bomb to cleanse the undead infestation, and they both "live" happily ever after. During the credits, photos of things that happened during the events of the game are shown on the left.


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.[10] 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.[10] 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.[10] 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.[11][10] 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.[10]

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 with" and turn it "upside down."[12] 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.[12] 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".[12] 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.[12]


Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedOctober 18, 2005
GenreRock and roll, Pop

The soundtrack to Stubbs features covers of 30s, 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
1."Lollipop"Ben Kweller2:15
2."My Boyfriend's Back"The Raveonettes2:38
3."Earth Angel"Death Cab for Cutie3:16
4."Shakin' All Over"Rose Hill Drive2:52
5."Strangers in the Night"Cake2:51
6."There Goes My Baby"The Walkmen2:16
7."Everyday"Rogue Wave3:40
8."All I Have to Do Is Dream"The Dandy Warhols2:39
9."Mr. Sandman"Oranger3:02
10."If I Only Had a Brain"The Flaming Lips2:16
11."Tears on My Pillow"Clem Snide4:01
12."Lonesome Town"Milton Mapes3:07
13."The Living Dead"Phantom Planet3:26


The Xbox version received "generally favorable reviews", while the PC version received "average" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[32][31] Eurogamer claimed that the Xbox version had "lots of reasonable ideas that don't quite work" and "a general lack of cohesion".[15]

The game was perceived as "painfully short" and "linear", but "never boring".[20][24] 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."[20] 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.[24]

Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version a score of all four stars, saying, "The chaos that ensues is as lighthearted as a blood-soaked zombiefest can be."[27] CiN Weekly gave the same version a score of 78% and said, "Sure, it's not the most action-packed or finely tuned game, but there are enough clever attacks and humorous elements in Pulse to keep you playing through to see what other goodies - or appendages - they'll toss your way."[32] However, The Sydney Morning Herald gave the game three-and-a-half stars out of five and called it "a brief ride and the action can become repetitive, but the sharp humour keeps you smiling."[28]

Stubbs the character was ranked second on EGM's Top Ten Badass Undead.[33]

The editors of Computer Games Magazine presented Stubbs the Zombie with their 2005 "Best Soundtrack" award.[34]

Cannibalism controversy[edit]

Stubbs the Zombie, along with F.E.A.R., encountered controversy in November 2005 regarding cannibalism in games.[35] 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 that Stubbs is a zombie, not a human cannibal.[36] GamePolitics also chided the report, calling it "ridiculous" and citing 36 mainstream news outlets had picked the story immediately after the NIMF report.[37]


  1. ^ "Wideload Press quote". Archived from the original on August 9, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2006.
  2. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie Invades Steam". Steam. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  3. ^ "From the Desk of Stubbs". March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  4. ^ "Xbox Originals 'Stubbs' and 'Gauntlet' are now available". May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie will rise from the grave again for a sequel". January 25, 2008.
  6. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie is Coming Back From the Dead". Game Rant. February 18, 2021. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  7. ^ Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse Announced for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch - IGN, retrieved July 29, 2021
  8. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse". Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie". Stubbs the Zombie. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e Brendan Sinclair (March 25, 2006). "GDC 06: Dissecting a zombie". GameSpot. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  11. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel without a Pulse"". Aspyr Media. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d Matt Leone (April 1, 2005). "Feature: Stubbs the Zombie". Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Edge staff (December 25, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox)". Edge. No. 157. p. 102.
  14. ^ EGM staff (January 2006). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox)". Electronic Gaming Monthly (199): 124.
  15. ^ a b James Price (December 23, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse (Xbox)". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  16. ^ Jeremy Zoss (December 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in 'Rebel Without A Pulse' (Xbox)". Game Informer. No. 152. p. 180.
  17. ^ Rice Burner (October 18, 2005). "Review: Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox)". GamePro. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  18. ^ Zombie Duke (October 21, 2005). "Stubbs The Zombie Review (Xbox)". Game Revolution. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  19. ^ Jeff Gerstmann (December 1, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pause [sic] Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Jeff Gerstmann (October 20, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse Review (Xbox)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  21. ^ Bryan Stratton (October 25, 2005). "GameSpy: Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on January 5, 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  22. ^ Aceinet (November 7, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie - XB - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  23. ^ Charles Onyett (December 2, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (PC)". IGN. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Charles Onyett (October 24, 2005). "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  25. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse". Official Xbox Magazine: 78. December 25, 2005.
  26. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse". PC Gamer. February 2006. p. 86.
  27. ^ a b Ryan Huschka; Craig Campbell (November 6, 2005). "RECENT RELEASES ('Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse')". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  28. ^ a b c Jason Hill (January 21, 2006). "Stubbs the Zombie [in Rebel Without a Pulse]". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  29. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  30. ^ "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  31. ^ a b "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  32. ^ a b c "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  33. ^ Scott Sharkey (October 2008). "EGM's Top Ten Badass Undead: Thriller Night". Electronic Gaming Monthly (233): 106.
  34. ^ Staff (March 2006). "The Best (and Worst) of 2005; The 15th Annual Computer Games Awards". Computer Games Magazine (184): 42–47.
  35. ^ "Video game critics take aim at cannibalism". MSNBC. November 29, 2005.
  36. ^ "Setting the Record Straight". Wideload Games. Archived from the original on December 7, 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  37. ^ McCauley, Dennis (November 30, 2005). "Gamer as Cannibal". GamePolitics. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.

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