I want you to take a second and think about what comes to mind when you hear (or read in this case) flash-based browser game. Now I want you to take that and completely throw it out of the window. Everything that you knew, or thought you knew about flash-based browser games is about to change. Bitejacker is the first in the Secret Base Horror Series that combines zombie action with the comedy and antics of Bytejacker. When I first heard of Bitejacker and saw the first screenshots, I really thought it was going to be a quick, easy fun, flash game that I would wind up playing between Starcraft 2 matches. After playing it for about 10 minutes you quickly realize this is not the case.
You will find yourself playing as either Anthony Carboni or Jonathan Reviera of Bytejacker. Your objective is to make it to the exit of each level alive while collecting money and survivors. Sounds easy right? Not so much… There are several dynamics to game play that turns this from a simple flash zombie shoot’em up to a fun, challenging game worthy of being put on both XLBA and PSN. The first thing is health. Both you and survivors have health. Naturally, you die if you run out of health; but whatever health you leave the level with is what you start the next one with. With each level getting increasingly difficult, you can see how this can be a problem. If you do manage to die (which you will at probably at least once), you can fork over $10,000 to continue or start from the last checkpoint with only 30% of your money. Let me tell you, 10k is not easy to come by; especially when you’re first starting off. Alternatively, you can choose to quit before you die, which leaves you with 70% of your cash.
Getting more health isn’t really that easy either. You can buy health from the shop, but it isn’t cheap and you really don’t get that much; especially in the beginning. Alternatively you can search chests, boxes, trash cans, or bodies for health; but there is no guarantee of health when you search and you usually don’t know what you’re going to get until half way through the search. While finding health and other items like money or weapons is great since it’s free money-wise. However, you will find that you’re actually sacrificing time and quite possibly find yourself surrounded by zombies with no way out. Did I mention that zombies are endless? Just when you think you’re done… here comes a new batch!
To increase the tension, most of your guns don’t have unlimited ammo. Your base gun does, but even with that, the clip is not infinite. After you fire so many rounds on any weapon you will need to reload your weapon, which is time consuming and can also lead to death. Guns include pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and armor piercing rounds. Once a weapon is out of ammo, it’s gone until you find another one by searching or purchase one from the shop. Moral of the story here is that you need to place your shots well and make sure they land in a zombie.
You have two options if zombies get close to you; your action or special attack. Your action depends on who you’re playing as. Jonathan will dodge out of the way while Anthony uses a melee attack. Your special also depends on which character you are. Anthony turns into Bit Trip and can destroy enemies by touching them while Jonathan has an attack that destroys nearby zombies. Both action and special depend on your Awesome-O-Meter. Actions can be used as long as there is something in the meter while special requires for a certain amount of the meter to be filled.
As mentioned earlier, you need to collect survivors as go through each level. You don’t need a certain amount of survivors to complete each level, but you get money per survivor you save as well get assistance in breaking the Ground Hog Day curse (more on this later). Most survivors just stand there, waiting to be rescued. Some, however, are packing heat and will help you in your travels. These guys have saved me a few times from impending doom.
The Ground Hog Day curse is a system put in place that pretty much makes sure you don’t fly through the game. There are 30 levels to Bitejacker; levels work on a 10 day loop until certain conditions are met. Basically the way it works is that you will be suck playing levels 1-10 until you unlock the first three monster types, which unlocks the boss and then you need to defeat him. You will then be able to pass through to level 11, which will have another 10 day loop until you meet the next set of conditions. The conditions are based on how much money you collect, how many survivors you save, and how many zombies you kill. For each condition met you will unlock a new monster type, which also makes the game a bit harder each time.
So far I know it sounds like the chips are stacked against you. You’ll be happy to know that there are achievements in this game and they actually do something besides make you feel good about yourself. Each achievement you unlock will do something to benefit you. Some may decrease the price of certain goods at the shop, decrease the amount of time it takes to search, or even give you more health. Those are just a few examples, but there are plenty of achievements to go for; so depending on the type of player you are you may want to go for some before others. I would recommend going for the search achievement first. Two words. Life. Saver.
I really liked the way the levels were designed. Objects such as barricades, cars, boxes, and exploding barrels are strategically placed around the level. On several occasions I had to make some tough decisions on whether to shoot this group of zombies or shoot down this series of barricades so we can pass through and hopefully escape. Sometimes you will find these objects covering your exit to the next level as well. Exploding barrels can save your bacon if used properly; trust me, you will have more than one opportunity to use them. Exploding barrels are not only a great way to get rid of zombies, but they can clear barricaded areas fast and allow you a quick way out of a sticky situation.
If you’re worried about losing your progress if you need to go or if your browser crashes, Bitejacker saves your progress so you can always come back and start from your last checkpoint. See, now you have no excuses. You can expect to see some additional features added to the game at a later time. As of right now it looks like survival mode is available through the Mochi store and comes complete with leaderboards.
Overall, I think Bitejacker is very well done and I would definitely recommend it to anyone to play. Not only do you get a great game, but you get a nice dose of comedy as well. Bitejacker will definitely provide a few hours of entertainment. Over the past few years we have seen more than our fair share of zombie games. I’m happy to say that this one is actually worth playing.