Tecmo began work on Undead Knights before they merged with Koei and yet its an epitome of Tecmo Koei title. Undead Knights takes Dynasty Warriors’ formula and adds zombies to make it, like most Tecmo action games, over-the-top.
At one time the Blood family were loyal… and human. Now as legions of the undead they only thirst for revenge and HP restoring souls. Romulus Blood, the head of the Blood household, looks like a stereotypical black knight with evil red veins. Sylvia carries a Grim Reaper-like scythe larger than her and Fatima, the mysterious queen at the center of the story, flaunts her cleavage. This is, after all, a Tecmo developed title.
With Sylvia as my character of choice I hacked through knight after knight, but instead of sending them to the grave I transformed them into zombies. Making zombies is the core of Undead Knights and every character has a zombie impact move which turns enemies into your minions. Zombies instinctively attack their former comrades and also act as projectiles. You can throw zombies to knock down weak knights or aim at ogre-like enemies to make them latch on like rotting lampreys. Toss enough of them on and you can stun a foe, leaving them open for “infernal wrath” (read: a zombifying Musou attack). Similar to Darius you can turn the tables and strong foes into your servants. It’s silly, but seeing a tough enemy prey on its past-life allies is somewhat satisfying.
Believe it or not, the zombies make Undead Knights more of a tactical action game than Dynasty Warriors. You can sit back and command them from afar by holding R and pointing at what you want your brain hungry legion to destroy. Ordering your undead units is the main way to crush obstacles like walls and take down guard towers.
Usually, you need a set number of zombies to do this so the game continuously spawns grunts. Since zombies decay quickly you have to fight even more fodder just to transform them into a zombie bridge you walk on. Really, a zombie bridge. And that’s not even the most ridiculous thing. Some doors use zombies like keys and require you to throw a set number of them into holes. When the door finally opens all of the zombies explode in a pool of blood.
Conceptually, Undead Knights is amusing, but it falls into the same pitfalls as Dynasty Warriors without weapon collecting to drive the game. Undead Knights is repetitive. You even revisit the same bosses which attack the same way. It feels like Undead Knights was made as an alternative to Dynasty Warriors, but since Tecmo and Koei are one happy family they should have just renamed it Undead Warriors or something of the sort since it’s really a game for the Warriors fanbase.