Patient 0: A Real Life Zombie Slaying Experience
Training for the eventual apocalypse
by Daniel Geikowski
©2012 Daniel Geikowski
Zombies are one of gaming’s favourite enemies. More often than not, they just shuffle around, waiting for us players to kindly blow them away. Zombies are a safe choice of enemy when developing a game, as most people won’t think twice about mowing down a walking corpse.
Zombie games are really popular with players, and are seemingly everywhere nowadays. Players have many apocalypses to choose from, such as Resident Evil, Dead Rising, ZombiU, House of the Dead, Left 4 Dead, etc.
Titles usually pit players against hordes of undead (obviously), testing them to survive and escape the apocalypse.
Various other games have noticed the popularity in zombies over the years, incorporating them into their titles, in forms of expansions, modes, even mods. Call of Duty has there Zombies mode, which has become equally popular as both single and multiplayer components.
Countless players have no doubt thought about how well they could handle the sudden emergence of zombies.
Now there is a way.
To sum it up in a word, it’s fantastic.
*No plot information will be spoiled for anyone wishing to experience Patient 0 themselves. *
License to Kill
Much like any good FPS, there is a narrative in place to explain the current emergence of zombies, as well as the need for you to shoot them in the face.
IRL Shooter have spent a lot of time and effort in creating a backstory, in order to set the scene for the events about to unfold before you.
Players are cast as new recruits of Grey Area Protective Services (G.A.P.S), the largest private mercenary army in the world. Players are a part of Bravo Team, called to an incident at a Dee Baxter Drake research facility.
Alpha Team infiltrated the facility, tasked with regaining control and removing Guðmundsson from his position. Last communication from Alpha Team detailed Guðmundsson releasing infected subjects in an attempt to retain control.
All contact was then lost.
48 hours later, players, as members of Bravo Team, are sent in to sweep and clear the area, recon any useful information, and find Klaas Guðmundsson and Alpha Team.
For your eyes only
Players of Patient 0 therefore have other objectives than simply killing zombies. I won’t detail them in risks of spoiling anything for potential players, but it’s a great addition by IRL Shooter that makes it feel like a detailed FPS.
Players get together with 5 other friends, to create a team, cast as Bravo Team. The neat thing here is you can create custom nicknames and team names that will be utilised in communications throughout Patient 0.
After your team is all signed up and paid, you pick an event time, and are given access to various websites. These sites detail background information on various companies and organisations within the world of Patient 0, along with mission briefing and tactical information.
The wealth of information available here really makes Patient 0 feel like a realistic and believable event, and players who invest time in watching videos and reading narrative information will get so much more enjoyment out of the experience.
Players get sent G.A.P.S swipe cards that are used throughout the facility, and receive a mysterious email, tasking them with an addition mission objective, that they must complete without other team mates finding out.
Once all that pre-reading and excitement building stuff is out of the way, you and your buddies are ready to blow out some zombie brains.
Lock and Load
And they whip you into line quickly.
Upon heading into the sign-in room, the instructor lines you up and calls forward the squad leader. They are tasked with getting everyone’s belongings sorted for safe keeping until the end of the event.
The second-in-charge then is responsible for handing out waiver forms for each member to sign, and one member is nominated to carry the UHF radio mounted on their helmet, in order to communicate with Mission Control. It’s a smart way to incorporate all the admin mumbo jumbo into the narrative.
Once this step is completed, the team has a few minutes to prepare for action. Our team literally had 30 seconds before the Drill Sergeant came out screaming for Fireteam Fist to get inside.
If the initial instructor doesn’t sort you out, the Drill Sergeant will. He forms you into a line and hammers you with a verbal barrage that aims to pump you up as well as convincing you guys to work as a team.
The squad then moves to get equipped. Helmets are fitted, some which include cameras that record your experience for players to take home (for an additional charge that is).
Players are also given Tactical vests to wear. These not only provide safety, but look pretty badass as well.
After suiting up, we were then to receive our weapon, the M4 Carbine.
The M4 Carbine attaches to your vest, which is a good thing, because it gets pretty heavy to hold after a while. They look the the real deal, you can tell that IRL spent a large amount of time, effort and money into making them look authentic.
The M4 comes with a Holographic sight, in which players can switch from red to green, depending on their preference.
The M4 also has a custom screen mounted on the side, which details the amount of ammunition the player has, as well as their current Health percentage.
The carbine also features a button to reload, as well as a switch to change from Burst Fire to Full Auto. The stock of the M4 also features a speaker, which details gunfire as the player fires the weapon, reloading, as well as sounds when players are receiving damage.
Once Fireteam Fist had been fully equipped, we were given once last pump-up speech, before using our swipe cards to enter the DBD facility.
Hell on Earth
Players are given the opportunity to fire their weapons at some targets before making their way through the facility.
It’s full-on from the outset.
Before undertaking the event, our team thought that it wouldn’t be scary at all.
Boy were we wrong.
There are some genuinely creepy moments. You can hear the moans and wails of zombies from behind objects. The atmosphere is fantastic. Everything is dimly lit, with random DBD and G.A.P.S objects strewn across every room.
It actually feels like a real environment.
We all opened up on zombies, yelling at each other to take down the infected.
The experience really motivates you and your buddies to work as a team.
You need to.
You can’t go off ahead.
We quickly started covering each other, slowly moving through areas, clearing blind spots and corners.
The Quick and the Dead
Some lay on the ground and pop up, some hide behind objects and pop out, some even use objects. Our team entered one large empty room, only to see a lone trolley roll across the room before you-know-what hit the fan.
Once you’ve cleared an area, don’t think that’s it. Some zombies will come at you from behind, in an area that you think is safe as the squad previously cleared it. The tension is constantly at an all-time high.
The environment is used to add tension as well. The team may have to wait at a certain area for Mission Control to unlock a door, or activate certain things simultaneously to advance. Of course, you have to do this while zombies come to attempt to feast on your brains.
Some areas are toxic as well, forcing the team to hurry through as their health depletes. Add in some zombies as well, and you’re always set for a good time.
The environment withing the DBD facility differs too. Rooms aren’t solely massive open areas. There are also confined admin areas that make you feel boxed-in, as well as dark areas, where players only have their M4-mounted torches for light.
As you progress through each area, you’re just waiting to spy the next zombie, and more often than not, the tension of waiting is worse than engaging the infected.
Patient 0 even has NPCs to interact with. Not to spoil anything, all I’m going to say is that there is no set way to deal with these NPCs, how you interact with them is entirely up to your team.
Like the vast majority of games, there is an End Boss. Patient 0 is no different.
It takes more thought to overcome than just shooting it, which makes it feel like a traditional boss, chipping away at it until it’s defeated.
After dealing with it, our team makes our way out of the facility.
Players are then greeted by a G.A.S.S officer, who evaluates your performance based on what occurred during your playthrough.
We’ll need a lot of Body Bags
Depending on your team, the event can last from anywhere between 1-2 hours, and it’s a thrill ride the entire way.
IRL have done a fantastic job, everyone involved play their part whole-heartedly. Sergeants acts and sound like their genuine counterparts. Most importantly, the actors playing zombies are convincing. They never broke character, genuinely creeping me out with their moans and movements.
I cannot recommend Patient 0 any higher to people who enjoy shooters, or fans of the zombie culture as well. I feel the success of Patient 0 will only lead to more events such as these popping up everywhere.
But I can’t stress enough, commit to the narrative, and your experience will be all the more enjoyable.
Sure you can just rock up, shoot zombies, and have fun, but you’ll be missing out on so much more.
Roleplaying is encouraged. If you and your buddies have special uniforms and codenames, feel free to use them in Patient 0, as the characters will constantly refer to them during the experience.
If you think zombie-slaying is your thing, you can register your interest in IRL Shooter bringing Patient 0, and other events to your city/country here. Spread the word and who knows, the zombie apocalypse might break out near you.
©2012 Daniel Geikowski
Filed under: Opinion article, Oxcgn Special feature Tagged: | ArmA, Arma 2, Call Of Duty, DayZ, dead rising, FPS, House of the Dead, IRL Shooter, Left 4 Dead, M4 Carbine, Patient 0, Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare, Red Dead: Redemption, Resident Evil, Zombies, ZombiU