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Blood Drive review: Where's my cookie?

Chris Plante

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Blood Drive is the poignant story of the men and women who drive fast cars and kill zombies for sport. There's an announcer, occasional verbal sparring and a bunch of climactic cut-scenes, but let's be honest, you're reading this review because it says "blood" in the title and below that is a picture of a car smashing a zombie so does this game let us smash zombies or what?

Yes. The sole purpose of Blood Drive is to smash zombies. Unfortunately, that's all it does and it doesn't even do that very well.

Wait, a bland zombie game? How did anyone whiff in the game genre equivalent of the tee-ball league? To be fair, Blood Drive provides the occasional glimpse of what could have been. But as it stands, the game is incomplete -- mind-numbingly incomplete. It's as if a gentle, loving hand crafted the game halfway, then the art teacher walked by, snatched it up and said, "Sorry students, we're all out of time."

Okay, let's grade this funky smash of unfinished clay.

Gallery: Blood Drive (Xbox 360/PS3) | 5 Photos

Finished Product Check List

Does [VIDEO GAME] have a save option?


The only way to save in Blood Drive is the auto-save, which initiates only after completing a cup. Not so bad for the first cup. It's 4 events long. About 4 minutes per event, that's 16 minutes of gameplay plus load times to the nearest save point.

But the final three cups comprise 14 events, 14 events and a whopping 30 events, respectively. 30 events at 4 minutes per event, you're looking at 2 hours. Plus load times. If you can stomach it, the bonus Hardcore Cup is another 30 events.

Does [VIDEO GAME] have local multiplayer?


Come on, how are we supposed to collectively and drunkenly massacre the undead without local multiplayer? And don't say online. It's car combat. Car combat!

Does [VIDEO GAME] have a fleck of originality?


When gamers say they'd like a game that combines Twisted Metal with Left 4 Dead, they don't mean that literally.

Play as the gothic pseudo-human, the quiet madman, the he-nurse or other budding Hot Topic models. Hop in their customized vehicles and fire their bland, often unresponsive special moves onto the undead hordes consisting of the clinging jumper, the charging hulk, the belching fatty. This should sound familiar.

Does [VIDEO GAME] provide competitor scores in deathmatch?

Yes, but not easily.

You get to know your place. 1st place, 5th place, last place. To see other racers score, you must press up on the D-pad and, in doing so, block your view. At no point does the game actually explain how to pull of this valuable maneuver.


It's as if the bottom of Blood Drive's checklist read, "If you have answered no to more than three of the questions ship it anyway and fix it with patches (MAYBE HAHAHAHA)."

Does Zombie Car-sorry, I mean Blood Drive-do anything well?

I'm glad you asked, because it does. The pause screen is fantastic. If there was a Pause Screen of the Year Award, Blood Drive would be a shoo-in. It's a soft acoustic twang. It's relaxing. And it's so necessary by Round 18 of the Blood Drive Championship.

Watch for yourself:

The controls are passable. The sound effects serve their purpose. And the graphics are OK. But who cares when the game's a burden to play? Blood Drive has its hills and valleys. The hill being the pause screen and the valley being everything else.

I imagine it's difficult to make a game called Blood Drive less fun than attending an actual blood drive, but, by golly, someone's done it. At least when you donate blood you get a cookie and juice at the end.

This review is based on the 360 retail version of Blood Drive provided by Activision. Chris Plante is a freelance writer living in New York. Learn more about his life, career and haunted apartment at his website.

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