Review by Matt S.
Seed of the Dead was previously called “Rape of the Dead”. That should tell you all you need to know about the class of this game. Or, more specifically, its complete lack of class. It’s a game about a zombie plague and you, a dude, running around killing the said zombies with a team of three women. If the zombies hurt the women enough, they’ll rape them, but don’t worry, you can protect them by having sex with them to recover their (and your) health. As a consequence of the plague, the women will also periodically be overcome with lust and, when you’re not slaughtering hordes of the undead, you’ll be taking advantage of them in multiple positions.
So there you are, in the middle of a horde of zombies, tearing the clothes off one of your companions so you can bonk her a bit and carry on the good fight. And as a reward, after clearing away the horde of zombies, you get to bonk her a bit more, in a romantic location like a dirty alleyway, using a dumpster for support. I hear what you’re thinking! “None of this sounds hygienic”, and I would agree, but I guess if I was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and almost certainly going to die, I’d probably take what I could get wherever I could as well. There’s some visual novel-like story sections that, in theory, are meant to explain all of this, but in practice, the “story” is just a sequence of dialogue in which increasingly horny women tell you where they’d like for you to stick it… only to become very embarrassed after the act and once the disease-fuelled passion that they lose control of themselves to has abated.
When you’re not bonking or watching zombie rape, Seed of the Dead plays like a very standard wave shooter. Imagine Killing Floor, only done on the (very) cheap. You run around an environment between one stream of zombies (and, later, other ugly monsters), picking up weapons and ammunition, before dealing with another horde that come in from all directions. Thankfully the other three women with you will fire on the enemies as well, though to suggest that they’re programmed competently enough to exhibit “AI” would be an overstatement. They’ll sometimes kill something. Just as often they’ll need one of your special health-restoring bonkings to avoid becoming a zombie plaything.
You’ll do this over and over again across a series of utterly generic environments, though mercifully these levels are short, and the conclusion isn’t long past the beginning. What Seed of the Dead does have going for it is, trashy though it might be, it actually plays well enough. The guns work properly, the zombie hordes work properly, and the bugs are relatively minimal. It’s no slick action game like Killing Floor is. It’s not even close. But it’s workable.
What lets it down is that Seed of the Dead offers… nothing, really. Pedestrian-but-workable action was never going to be enough in itself, but if this game was meant to be titillating, it’s an abject failure. Yes, you have sex with the women in order to restore their health, and yes, those women nearly fit into the kind of anime fetishes that you’d expect to find in a sexy game – there’s the big boobs, the somewhat-smaller boobs and school uniform, and the small boobed lolita – but the minigame that you use to recover health is over very quickly (pardon the pun), because mechanically you need to get back into the combat. Furthermore, there are button presses and stuff to concentrate on during that minigame, so you’re not going to notice the sex at all.
You will be able to pay attention to the sex during the between-mission sex scenes (such as the root on the dumpster), as they are more languishing and because there’s no zombies to deal with you can focus on the sex. You even get multiple camera angles to work with and so can get a good 360-view of the action. However, these scenes are also so poorly animated and the character models are that cheap and uninspiring, that it comes across as an incredibly poor attempt to do what a dedicated sex simulator like Honey Select does far better. So, if you’re looking for an “erotic game”, Seed of the Dead does not cut it. Just go get Honey Select instead.
While you might go into Seed of the Dead expecting to have a laugh, note that the game fails there, too. The idea of stripping down for a quicky while a horde of zombies are surrounding you is silly enough, sure, but there’s absolutely nothing to the narrative, character designs, or setting to back up that silliness. What story is there mostly involves the girls either spitting out generic anime typecast stuff, or telling you how badly they want it. It’s not funny, and the rapey themes that run through the game aren’t exactly worth a chuckle either.
Insofar as humour goes, D3 Publisher’s School Girl / Zombie Hunter is a similarly-themed game which is executed so much better. It lacks the explicit sex scenes of course, but the way the game plays on underwear fetishes and satirises them by making the zombies brainlessly desperate to get at panties (George A Romero made his zombies a critique of capitalism and consumerism, School Girl / Zombie Hunter made it about perverts), was both well-executed and contextualised, and funny. Coupled with up plenty of self-aware, self-deprecating jokes through the narrative, that game is far more palatable than Seed of the Dead, which ends up coming across as quite earnest in its sleaze (despite the ridiculous concept) thanks to it having such poorly realised writing.
Finally, it should probably go without saying, but Seed of the Dead doesn’t make a greater point of its sex content. The screwing around doesn’t hold any thematic value, the game’s not a commentary on anything. There’s no Sadian greater purpose to the sexual violence either, and the sex doesn’t even add anything to the gameplay. None of the sex mini games in Seed of the Dead are so necessary that removing them, or replacing with a non-“erotic” minigame, would negatively impact on the game.
I’m all for adult games, and I’m all for the use of sex and sex themes within a game. Seed of the Dead could have been something really great; the idea of mixing the violence of Killing Floor with the sleazy, trashy humour and theme of a School Girl / Zombie Hunter, taken to the next level, could have made for something extreme and interesting. But Seed of the Dead doesn’t work on any level. It’s not erotic, it’s not exciting, it’s not interesting, and it’s only just playable. There are adult-themed games out there that are doing some really interesting stuff – last year’s Lust for Darkness is an excellent example. Seed of the Dead is not one such game.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld