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Feature: Zombie Army 4 Scared the Life Out of Me… In the Pause Menu

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll say “yeah, Chris is a manly man, he eats steak flavoured crisps and drinks his whisky straight from the bottle. A man’s man.” And they would be right. I even have facial hair and a tendency to shout at referees who are obviously not doing their jobs right. In an age where dudes are becoming more sensitive, I’m flying the flag for old fashioned geezers.

But I’m hiding a secret. A hidden shame. I’m a big bloody wimp when it comes to scary games and horror movies. And the dark. And heights. I’ll spend half an hour poking the gutters with a stick rather than climbing a ladder to clear the leaves away, and I keep my hall light on when I go to bed. Judge me all you want, I don’t care. Scary is scary, and I’m man enough to own up to my fears.

So, there I was having a lovely evening at home. I’d had my dinner, I’d had a little glass of whiskey as a treat, and I was ready to play some games. I booted up Zombie Army 4: Dead Army and set about learning the controls. Easy enough. I played for about half an hour before my old man bladder gave up on me and sent me to the pisser. I paused the game and nipped to the loo. I was halfway back to my living room when I heard the scariest thing in the world: a little girl. I’m not scared of kids, mostly, but hearing one in your house when you know you don’t have any is fucking terrifying.

I froze in the hallway, not knowing what I should do. In my mind, I definitely heard a little girl, and I knew I was alone at home. I was stuck in place, my bladder quickly filling up again. I mooched slowly forward into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Not a big one. A butter knife. I didn’t want to kill the child, I just wanted it to know who was in charge and who pays the rent. Me!

I made my way slowly back towards the living room and heard another voice asking “where are you?” and I froze again. What the actual poo?!? I finally manned up and burst through the living room door with all the pazazz of Sylvester Stallone busting his way into an 80s action set-piece. As you can guess, there was nobody there. I stood in the doorway and observed the room. My man corner on the sofa was still intact, and I was sure there wasn’t a child hiding under the blanket that was half hanging off the couch. My office chair was empty and after a quick duck under the dining room table, I concluded there wasn’t a soul in the room. And then the shrill laughter erupted from my man corner. It was the damn DualShock 4.

Up close and personal, it’s easy to tell the noise is coming from a DualShock 4, but I defy anybody who says they can tell that from the other side of the house. I laughed in relief and jumped back to the sofa and held the controller in my hand, waiting for another ghostly cackle. I didn’t have to wait long until I was given goose pimples.

Zombie Army 4: Dead Army is a great game in its own right, but this small touch has given me something more to say than “yeah, I shot a bunch of zombies last night,” and that’s what I really appreciate about Rebellion’s efforts. It’s not something that can be done on other consoles or on PC, at least not in the same way, so I appreciate the extra effort the developer expended to give us old geezers a little fright and something else to talk about other than our bad backs, bad knees, and sagging sacks. Top marks, Rebellion.

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