Review friv game of Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse - A masterpiece from the past

In 2005 the third-person action online game from the developer Friv2Online Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse was released - quite an original game, as here we are offered to play as zombies and eat the brains of panicked people that live in the idealized town of Punchbowl. The game was loved by both gamers and critics, and to everyone's surprise (and regret at the same time) its ideas were not developed into something more. In 2021, the world had the opportunity to remember this little masterpiece, which received a remaster. We ourselves did not miss it and we do not advise you to miss it.

The year 2005 gave the world a lot of good games, which I personally still remember with warmth in my heart. Judge for yourself: it was the time when the legendary Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the frightening horror shooter F.E.A.R., the unforgettable interactive movie Fahrenheit... were released.
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse was lost among these high-profile projects. Although it didn't become successful, it proved that playing as monsters is even more fun than playing as heroes. What this game is about, and why its re-release after 16 years didn't go unnoticed and attracts new gamers - find out right now.

So, Stubbs the Zombie is an action-adventure friv game about zombie apocalypse that will be created by our hands. The story begins in the quiet retro-futuristic town of Punchbowl in the 1960s, recreated according to real predictions of the US media of that time. Here all the work, whether it is a tour of the city or refueling a car, is done by robots, cars float in the air, and tall but stylish buildings complete the entourage of the future. People don't know what grief and misery are.

One sunny day, in a clearing where the lovers are nestled, a hand appears from the ground, and behind it - our protagonist Edward "Stubbs" Stubblefield in the guise of a zombie. In shabby clothes from the 30's, a hat and with a cigarette in his teeth, he without delay begins to follow his essence of a monster, eating the brains of a poor guy, and then - the police, and a little later - the naive townspeople... From this moment in Punchbowl begins a zombie epidemic, and you will do your best to spread it.
The remaster added support for modern resolution, slightly improved controls, an achievement system, and a local co-op mode. All the things that worked well were left in place, and even the bad - bugs were left untouched.
I got acquainted with this friv game back in my childhood, and back then it was a fun and original action game for me. Now I understand that the game is not only about zombies - there is too much satire, humor and ridicule in it.
For example, the guy at the beginning didn't even realize Stubbs was a danger and started charging him for ruining his picnic. Tour guide robot also did not recognize the enemy in the dead man and began to guide him around the neighborhood, familiarizing him with the sights and inhabitants (and the latter did not mind). And Punchbowl was founded by a Nazi scientist who defeated hunger. And all of this really does bring a smile, if not a laugh, then a smile.
The story of Stubbs is not as simple as at first glance. The dead traveling salesman only wanders aimlessly through the streets and eats brains at first, but very soon his adventures take on meaning, and themes of love and revenge begin to figure in the plot. In the end, apocalypse becomes a background theme, which is a very good thing - after all, sooner or later you get bored of just eating brains.

The gameplay is a third-person action game - controlling Stubbs, we go through linear story levels.
It's not hard to guess that our hero prefers close combat, but not everything is so simple - in his arsenal there are killing "means" to destroy enemies. They are a gas bomb that appears due to indigestion, pieces of intestines that replace explosives, a torn off arm that can control the mind of enemies, as well as his own head aka bowling ball. As you can see, the salesman is not exactly a simple zombie.
This game is not for kids at all, and not just because we play as zombies. Liters of blood, dismemberment, brain-eating - this accompanies almost every altercation. Although, who am I kidding, I went through it myself as a schoolboy.
You won't have to spread the infection on Punchbowl alone - the friv game boasts one of the most interesting mechanics, and it's connected with zombies. People who died at the hands of Stubbs get up again, but already rotten and shabby, and begin to hunt for a "treat".
Thus, the army of the dead is constantly growing, and even though it will never be large, the "dummies" will help in battle, because alone against armed fighters will not be able to stand even at normal difficulty level. Although the AI of subordinates leaves much to be desired.
It is pleasantly surprising that the developers dilute gameplay with comical situations and mini-games, because just walking along the streets and eating brains will quickly get boring.
Already on the second level we are given to control a mud truck that shoots... pieces of mud, and on the third level we will have a confrontation in the police station, the chief of which promises to dance on the hero's grave and really fulfills his promise, calling the protagonist to a dance duel. It is both funny and original, and as a result, the passage does not let go until the credits.
Locations, by the way, are not corridor - you can walk around the labyrinths of the police station and secret laboratories, city streets and other places. There is nothing to do on the open territory, but it's nice that the authors didn't limit themselves to narrow spaces, carefully recreating the look of Punchbowl.

Even in 2021, the picture of 2005 looks acceptable - yes, the textures do not boast high resolution, but the visual style perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the past, and various effects and even create the feeling that we are watching an old movie shot on film. It is noteworthy that the developers did not touch the graphics, but only tightened the resolution.
That's how games were in 2005, and in 2021 Stubbs the Zombie was welcomed with open arms - even if it's not a novelty, but such projects are not enough against the background of online friv games that eclipsed single-player games not because of quality, but because they are simpler and bring much more money.
Bold and simple, satirical and serious, it will forever remain in my memory and will be associated with childhood, although it is not intended for children. I hope that the friv game will give you the same emotions.