Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am


posted 1/24/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PS2
You see, even though this is a golf game it's clear from the get-go that Midway is going to do everything in its power to keep you from actually playing a round of golf. In theory this could work, I'm certainly not opposed to a parody golf game that tries to keep you from actually playing golf. But if you're going to do that you have to do it well, and Zombie Ninja Pro-Am does not do it well. The various mini-games you get yourself involved in are not very exciting and will only make you want to get back to the regular golf simulation ... which isn't that fun to begin with.

Sadly it's not just these lame combat stages that get in the way of the golf, you also have to deal with a number of excruciatingly lame racing games that involve golf carts. While I appreciate that the cart racing is a welcome alternative to the brawler portions of the game, they just aren't exciting enough to be fun. One problem is that the whole thing feels extremely slow and sluggish. Maybe it's because you're racing golf carts or because this was clearly an afterthought that came late in the development cycle, but whatever the case is the races are the very definition of boring.

By now the problem with this game should be obvious, you're combining three different types of games that not only don't go well together, but also need to be well executed to be fun. But none of these modes are any fun, and it seems like the worst aspects of the game are often the things you'll be doing the most. Every time I went to hit the ball I tensed up a little because I knew exactly what was in store for me, a lot of boring fighting levels where you can't tell when you've hit something and you're always an easy target. It didn't take too many levels of this before I started to get real tired of Zombie Ninja Pro-Am.

As I played through this game I started to wonder if maybe the problem wasn't the game at all, but rather I was the one to blame. Perhaps I'm just not hip to all of the Aqua Team Hunger Force references. Maybe if I was addicted to the TV show I would suddenly come around and include this on my list of the best games of 2007. Perhaps all that's true ... but somehow I kind of doubt it. I don't think the fact that I wasn't very familiar with the characters has any bearing on the clunky play mechanics and annoying mini-games. I probably would have laughed at more jokes, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have found the game to be any more exciting.

That's not to say that I didn't find the game somewhat amusing. I'll admit, there are a few funny lines snuck in from time to time, including a number of on-running jokes that I laughed at every single time. The game also features what has to be one of the strangest celebrity cameos of all time; it involves ESPN's Scott Van Pelt arguing it out with a foul-mouthed robot. It's very weird, but extremely awesome stuff. But for every comedy bit that works, there are at least five jokes that just aren't funny. I definitely like the direction this game was going, but the crummy controls and below average mini-games just get in the way of the humor.

After playing through this entire game I'm left trying to determine whether this game just got away from the developers, or if it was meant to be bad on purpose. Believe it or not there is actually a lot of evidence to back up the theory that this is meant to be a bad game, including interviews with the "creative" team behind the game and show. The extras also suggest that Midway knew that they couldn't get away with selling this game based on its own merits, so they decided to include four different animated episodes (one of which is exclusive to this disc). The whole game feels slapped together, which is frustrating for somebody who is trying to review the various components of the gameplay. If all you want are a few episodes, some interviews and a game you can enjoy for only a few minutes then Zombie Ninja Pro-Am may be worth your $30, but anybody who actually wants to enjoy their time playing games should do everything they can to avoid this game.

After hours of banging my head against the lame single-player story mode, I did manage to find one mode that brought a smile to my face. It was the moment that I introduced a second player and went on a tour of the course trying to outdo each other. The reason this mode worked is because it cut out everything I didn't like about the story mode, such as the lame racing sequences and all of that fighting. Instead the game was just the two of us playing a regular game of golf in New Jersey's worst golf course. It was here that I had a good time, but true to form it was all over far too quickly. This isn't one of those games with dozens of courses, in Zombie Ninja Pro-Am you're lucky to even be able to play a full round of golf.

Aqua Team Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am is the kind of game that could have been a lot of fun with slightly better gameplay, a deeper golf game and by cutting out those mini-games altogether. I can appreciate what Midway is trying to do here, but this wacky golf game fails on practically every level. Regardless of whether you're a die-hard fan of the show or have never seen it, Aqua Team Hunger Force is one game you should avoid at all costs.

I'll make this easy for you: The controls are crummy, the graphics are terrible, the humor mostly falls flat, there aren't very many levels, the mini-games get in the way of the outdated golf mechanics and it's absolutely no fun to play. Outside of that Aqua Team Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am is a blast to play!

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