Infected is a classic don't-blink-or-you're-dead zombie shooter for the PSP brought to you by Planet Moon Studios and Majesco Entertainment. It is a high-energy game that feeds off of constant action from every angle as waves of zombies test the limit of your intestinal fortitude. The innovative online play allows you to 'infect' online opponents with your avatar who can, through more online play, infect more systems. You can check to see how many, as well as which, geographical areas your avatar has infected. With blood, guts, zombies, big ass guns, and a pumped up soundtrack Infected is nothing less than a neon green G-string of fun for your PSP.
Infected takes place during the Christmas season in New York City where a virus outbreak has occurred that turns normal New Yorkers into blood-seeking zombies (yes, there is a difference). You are Officer Stevens, part of the New York Biohazard Team, and it's up to you to save the innocents of New York and contain the outbreak. Officer Stevens' blood has the ability to eradicate the virus of an infected person by causing the infected zombies to splatter and die. The New York Biohazard Team sends you into assorted parts of the city on various missions with a gun in your right hand and a specialized weapon that shoots your blood called a "viral gun" in your left. The over 30 missions in the game centralize around either blasting every zombie to hell, defending innocent civilians, or collecting civilians and delivering them to a heli-pad. Each mission has a set of objectives and depending on how you do you can be awarded a Bronze, Silver, or Gold medal along with hazard pay. Depending on your medal count, various upgrades (including weapons, in-game bonuses, new avatars) become available to purchase with the hazard pay you've accumulated.
Gameplay generally consists of a constant bombardment of zombies. You have to shoot each zombie with your firearm to injure them (to the point they start glowing red) and then finish them off with a sample of your blood from your viral gun. You have to be careful not to get too carried away with the viral gun because each shot also affects your health. In order to conserve your blood and increase your in-game bonuses you'll need to get combinations. Combinations take shape once you have a group of injured red-glowing zombies in a relatively close proximity to each other. There will be red glowing lines that connect the various zombies and with one shot from your viral gun all the zombies will explode. As your skill and weapons improve you'll find even more points available when exploding zombies while they are airborne for a triumphant Aerial Combo. It's important to keep blasting the zombies to hell because if an infection is allowed to stagnate in a zone for too long the infected become 'Beserk'. A Beserk zombie is very powerful and dangerous; it's best not to allow a zone to become Beserk if you can help it.
Depending on what weapons you've unlocked, your firearm improves automatically based on how many zombies you've blown apart within a time range. If you've worked your way up to a high-powered gun it will continue to reduce to less powerful firearms as the rate of your killing decreases.
The graphics in Infected are effective and above average. The winterized environments are dark and creepy really setting the mood of the game. Zombies appear fuzzy at close range but look fairly good otherwise; and of course there's nothing like a chainsaw-wielding Santa to help ring in the festive season! The screen layout is clear and easy to use with the various firearm-related, map, and point information readily available. The mapping screen is extremely helpful when searching for civilians to save and to keep an eye on the areas that may go Beserk. I was really impressed that even with a screen full of zombies coming from every which way the game never once slowed down. There is a lot of action in Infected at points where you're turning around and just shooting into the fleshy mayhem hoping for the best and the game held its speed without any noticeable drop in frame rate. The loading times into each mission or movie clip are also very quick and painless.
The gameplay sound effects are standard but welcome since none of them are overly annoying. The music in Infected touts names such as: Slipknot, Trivium, Fear Factory, Pimp X, and Junkie XL... all names of bands you wouldn't find in my personal collection (I don't think Nat King Cole ever did a rendition "Pulse of the Maggots") but work well during the game to keep the energy level on par with what's happening on screen.
Infected offers standard multiplayer functionality with various types of mini-games to play against or with other people online. The interesting and innovative difference is that if you beat an online player their system becomes 'infected' with the avatar you've created. If that same player beats another player your infection is passed on and so on. When you log in you can check to see how many systems are infected with your avatar and where those systems are around the world; it's really neat to see your avatar pop up in various countries. If you're the unlucky chap who's been infected there's two ways to get rid of it: pass it on to three other people in multiplayer rounds, or beat the three single-player missions that show they have been infected. You can only be infected by one avatar at a time so if you feel a red itchy sensation of my avatar you should be able to clear it up quite quickly.
If you're looking for a pure brainless gory game to pass the time and have decided not to reinvest the money you'd normally spend on a subscription to Tiger Beat magazine, I'd highly suggest Infected to cure what ails you.