What is it with things coming in pairs? From volcano movies, to reality singing shows, to retired NBA centers starring in their own iOS titles ... you can set your watch to this kind of stuff. That's right, hot on the heels of Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World (thanks Old Spice!) comes Shaquille O'Neal's latest video game masterpiece -- ShaqDown!
ShaqDown is everything I expected it to be. By that, I mean that it's a cheesy video game starring Shaq. But unlike ShaqFu, this is an endless running title. ShaqDown also seems to be aware of what it is. For that, I gotta give it some props. Actually, more like a small handful of props. Though I must admit, it's pretty cool that Hiptic Games put in Shaq's voice. It's almost worth it just for when he bellows the name of the game at the title screen.
Really though, this game is ridiculous. The action starts in Yemen, of all places. Yemen! Oooh ... topical? I'm not sure. But for some reason, that seems to be where a lot of action is going down in the Mutant Zombie Apocalypse future. During the introduction, a few comic panels flash by as we are treated some hilariously over the top "serious narration" by a little girl who's clearly seen a lot in this terrible future humanity has wrought upon itself.
Then we are finally treated to the Big Diesel himself:
I mean, that's hilarious any way you slice it. After the context for throwing basketballs at mutant zombies has been established, Shaq takes to the mean streets of Yemen, which apparently consist of one giant three-floored structure. There's a quick primer of instructions that you have to process, but that's about it. Then its game time! Sorta.
It's not like you really need any instructions in this game to begin with. You just sorta get things started and bull rush your way through things, figuring it out as you go. And there's not a lot to figure out here.
Being an endless runner game, what you're supposed to do here is pretty much last as long as you can while going through the game's three levels. You can dodge enemies, punch through them, or hurl a projectile. As you go along, you will accumulate Shaqra points, which you can use to purchase upgrades and special moves. Shaqra!
It's all fun and goofy, but only for a little while. You can accomplish just about everything that ShaqDown has to offer in a few minutes. I liked hearing Shaq announce all of his moves as he did them, but it could have used a little more meat. Big surprise everyone -- Shaqdown gets a little monotonous.
But hats off to any game that gets away with naming an enemy Ricardo Montalbomb. That is such an ancient reference, I can't believe they put it in a game that's targeted at ... kids? I honestly can't tell. ShaqDown is such a hodgepodge of weirdness that I'm just mystified.
One the one hand, it's blatantly cashing in on the zombie trend. On the other hand, ShaqDown is also kind of making fun of it (not to mention itself). I mean come on -- Shaquille O'Neal vs. Mutant Zombies in the Middle East. Where does that leave us? Perhaps that is a philosophical conundrum that only The Big Aristotle can know for sure.