Video Game Hall of Fame: Plants vs. Zombies
We don't want zombies on the lawn.."
Plants vs. Zombies is not your typical video game. If the gameplay and graphics don't do it for you then maybe their official music video will. Yes, that's right: the game has it's own music video! The lyrics above are some of the first lines to the song featured in the Plants vs. Zombies music video that the zombies treat you with after you've successfully pillaged through all of the levels in the game. That might be jumping the gun a little, so let's go back and review the basics of the game, shall we?
Plants vs. Zombies was first released for the PC in May of 2009 and the game gained such a huge following that its developer, PopCap Games, eventually released versions of the game for the iOS, Xbox, Playstation, iPod, and iPad. I was first introduced to the game by a friend of mine after we had a meeting to discuss our college thesis. I breezed through the first few levels on her laptop and had so much fun that I didn't notice that half an hour had already gone by. I knew that I just had to get the game for myself when I got home that night. So I did.
Begin your adventure.
In the Adventure mode of the Plants vs. Zombies video game, the zombies are hungry for your brains and they're attempting a brazen invasion in broad daylight. Not to worry though, because the plants are on your side and they're ready to help you launch your counter-attack against the zombies.
The first few levels serve as integretated tutorials to introduce you to the basic premise of the game. You start out with only one patch of grass and 150 suns in your arsenal. You need a specific number of suns to plant your seeds, so make sure you click on the bits of sun that drop down regularly from the sky. You can only plant Peashooters in the first level, but the kind of plants and the number of lanes of grass on your lawn will eventually increase. If you haven't already figured it out yourself, Peashooters are plants that shoot peas to attack the approaching zombies.
You pick up a new seed at the end of each level when you successfully defend your lawn (and brains) from the zombies. The seed slot is the brown rectangular bar at the top of the screen which shows you which seeds you can plant in a particular level. Eventually, the number of seeds that you will be able to accumulate will exceed the seed slots you have, which is only a meager 6 at the beginning of the game. Luckily, Crazy Dave will come along and save the day by selling you an extra seed slot in exchange for some money. He's actually peddling some pretty good stuff stored in the trunk of his car when he's not going around acting all–well, crazy.
It doesn't take long before the zombies realize that they can't get past the arsenal of foliage in your lawn. So what do they do next?
It's a sneak attack!
They attack in the dead of night, that's what! Your next challenge would then be figuring out how to get some sun for your plants because there's no sun at night! Luckily you have some "freebie plants" like the Puff-shroom which don't require any sun in order for you to plant them. These shrooms also recharge so you can plant as many of them as you want as soon as they're all charged up again. You will also have your trusty Sun-shrooms that cough up bits of sun as they grow.
The most adorable plant in the entire game for me is the Fume-shroom. It's actually a mushroom of gigantic proportions that puffs out periodic bursts of poisonous fumes that especially targets the zombies that are using unhinged screen doors as shields.
It gets trickier in the water.
The zombie war becomes a bit more trickier when the zombies decide to be sneaky and try to enter your house through the backyard instead. You actually have a little pond back there so you get to work with a fine bunch of aquatic plants to keep the zombies out. Here's a little piece of advice: the Tangle Kelp is really helpful in bringing down the snorkeling zombies and the Squash is really good for those instant kills, so it would be wise to give those two plants some permanent space in your seed slots.
The fog is on their side.
Eventually night time rolls around once again but this time you find your backyard only partially visible amidst a dense and heavy fog. You still have those trusty shrooms to rely on but you've got some new nocturnal additions like the valiant Sea-shroom that puffs away at your unseen enemies in the pool. You could also take advantage of these two plants so you can see what you're up against better: the Blover, which will blow away the fog to clear the air for a short period of time, or the Plantern, which will provide some decent lighting in its immediate surroundings.
The roof becomes a battefield.
The zombies try to enter your house from the roof as a last resort. Things start to get complicated because the inclination of the roof makes hitting the zombies a lot harder. Your Peashooter's peas can't get to them anymore, so it's time to pelt those suckers with cabbage bombs and corn kernels with the occasional sticks of butter care of the Cabbage-pult and the Kernel-put.
When the zombies realize that they can't defeat you on their own, they call on their big boss, Dr. Edgar George Zomboss, to help them defeat your green army. I'd tell you what the game's final boss is capable of doing, but where's the fun in letting you know way ahead of time?
Know your Zombies.
It's also important to know what you're up against so here's a closer look at the zombies that you will be encountering in the game. The first zombies that you will be facing are actually the weakest of the bunch and they're usually dead (or is it twice-dead?) after a few shots from your Peashooter. Eventually you will come across zombies that are tougher and harder to kill, like the Buckethead Zombie and the Football Zombie. Get ready to have a few wistful chuckles when you encounter the Disco Zombie (who resembles a well-known pop musician in the earlier versions of the game) as he dances up a storm and summons four Backup Dancer Zombies as he advances toward your house.
More ways get your Zombie fix!
After you finish the entire Adventure, get ready for more zombie fun with the other modes of gameplay that will be unlocked once you defeat Dr. Zomboss. Choose from a selection of Mini Games or get ready to do some quick thinking in the Puzzle mode. You will also become the caretaker of your very own Tree of Wisdom and become the proud owner of a Zen Garden so you can start growing your own seedlings for extra money. The game is peppered with small inside jokes and you will receive quite a handful of handwritten notes from the zombies along the way, like this one:
If you haven't played Plants vs. Zombies yet then I highly recommend that you drop whatever you're doing right now and get the game stat. It's an addictive game with wonderful graphics and well thought out features that make the game such a joy to play with–even the extras alone are worth getting the game!