The opening of Chasing Dead sees you hurtling into the atmosphere of a newly discovered second Earth, Intel delivered to you via a short video sequence consisting of a live actress with a cheap looking OSD overlay; one could easily imagine a parallel universe where the Mega CD2 became a reality and FMV games continued to thrive. Your contact, a female named Luna, is quick to brief the situation; all contact has been lost with Alpha team and you must be prepared for anything. Suddenly an explosion; this landing isn't going to be plain sailing. Quickly opting to use the escape pod, your helpless hero initiates a loading screen. Shortly after you find yourself inside a commercial airliner, akin to a Boeing 747. "What happened?" asks your B-movie narrator. "I think I hit a plane." And magically appeared inside it.
The intro over, the view switches to first person and a view down the aisle of one of the cabins. It's dark; the seats are all empty and you'll barely be able to fathom out much more as you walk into the second cabin. Strange silhouettes begin moving towards you, but it's too dark to really make anything out other than the borders of your screen flashing blood red. Everything goes black. You're dead. Ok, let's try this again.
This time you realise there's a flash light in one of the other aisles and a pistol. Let's try and get through cabin number two again; you're told you need to get to the cockpit as the decaying plane is going down fast. It's obvious now you have a flashlight that the silhouettes are zombie crew members and passengers; but now you have a weapon to take them down. Great! Only the frame rate is stuttering so badly that it's hard to tell what's going on in-between the graphical effects of flashing lights, fire and various glitches; the game engine feels like it's still in Alpha stage. Luna is still conversing with you over your comm-link, but her voice keeps breaking up - which adds to the atmosphere. Only you realise when you re-play the level and she doesn't glitch out that the sound is also messed up. You die as you walk up to a tantalising shotgun; why can't you pick it up? Zombies surround you as you try in vain to take the flashing shotgun and death comes once more.
Let's try again; this time you get to the shotgun and you realise you need to be precisely lined-up in such a way for an icon to appear over it at which point you can press 'A' to pick-up. Frustrating isn't the word. Moving up to the second floor of the plane, you look back at the empty staircase behind you. All is clear; you've made sure not to leave any zombies behind. As you walk forward, a bunch of zombies have instantly appeared. BEHIND YOU. You die.
You sigh; but let's not give up. At least the graphics look reasonable in a ZombiU kind of way and it makes a change playing something a bit more 'grown-up' on Wii U, right?
This time you make it to the cockpit. The coast is clear. Surely this is the level complete? Nope, the door to the cockpit is locked and obvious twist is obvious. More magically appearing zombies pile onto you; you're running out of ammo and try to reload; the clicking sound of bullets being inserted fills the air as your weapon seemingly fills itself back up with no animation. You die. Again.
For sure now is the time to complete this first level - you know everything, where the weapons are, what the buttons do (through trial and error) and when the magic zombie waves appear. Some may say the lack of tutorial or pointers or indeed almost zero mission assistance makes the experience more realistic. Others would argue it's just terrible game design. This time around you reach the boss; it's a cloaked zombie pilot - think Predator but jerkier. You shoot into the cloaked shimmery body, clearly hitting full-on slap-bang in the right place. The bosses' energy bar glitches out and locks at the halfway empty point. There's nothing you can do. You die.
Finally you make it through the stage. The badly responding controls, utterly tragic framerate, jerky sound and dubious lighting choices haven't defeated you. There's something half-decent about the presentation and design that makes you think "Hey, maybe it will get better".
Landing on the planet, you look around Mission 2. You're on a building. There's fogging all around; the framerate still sucks. You're told to reach the ground, somehow. A few trial and error deaths later, you reach the deserted town below by randomly landing on and traversing across a beam that looked unreachable. You're delivered a modicum of information with a basic objective from your B-Movie companion Luna, but unfortunately no waypoint. So you set off, wandering aimlessly through a dreary, rainy and dark set of structures. Atmospheric or drab? You decide. A few magically appearing zombies pounce and you die.
It goes on, of course, but enough is enough. When a game isn't fun because of failings in design, control issues stemming from stuttering framerates and not delivering an experience that you'd expect from a modern product, it's time to give up. However for all you masochists out there you'll find five missions (each with sub-sections) to get your teeth into. You'll even be able to play just on the GamePad, but there won't be any touchscreen functionality. Finally, Chasing Dead will tickle your fancy if you enjoy watching loading screens and not being able to skip cut-scenes (you can fast forward them, VHS-style, which is kinda neat for the first few times).
If Chasing Dead was a more polished product with all its issues ironed out, you might find a decent sci-fi zombie romp underneath all the mess. Perhaps the developer will go back and patch out all the issues one day, but as it stands Chasing Dead is best left on the shelves of the Nintendo eShop. Not recommended.