There has been quite a bit of controversy around the event, primarily as it changed hands very late in the piece and there was quite a disparity between what the original promoters/organisers (IRL Shooter, who ran Patient 0 in 2013) and the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Experience: LAZARUS event being put on by OzApocalypse and Horror Corp Entertainment. This mostly stems from OzApocalypse "buying up" the Pozible Campaign that for whatever reason IRL Shooter found itself unable to present.
This was NOT the sequel that IRL Shooter had promised, this was an event put on by OzApocalypse that drew on that event, its fanbase, and premise. I think that in several aspects it was not as impressive as IRL Shooter's Patient 0 (it wasn't nearly as large or sprawling, and didn't have the embedded story).
However, it was also superior in several ways. The technology for one, I felt was significantly better.
The irM4's from iCombat sync wirelessly to the smart bandoleer we all wore, which recorded shot data, accuracy, and more. The irM4's were fitted with a 150 round SmartMag and additional magazine kits can be purchased. If a player is eliminated, their gun shuts off for a period of time preventing cheating! The best thing about the new weapons were that they had CO2 powered sound and recoil. you could feel every shot, hear every rapport.
I knew if my teammates were firing, even over the din of the event space, and that was a crucial improvement in the experience.
The bandoleers were tied to our irM4's wirelessly, and reported back to a central computer, and more importantly, they tied into the headbands worn by the Zombies, these were similar to the bandoleers we wore, and acted as emitters to make proximity to the zombies damaging. Get too close, and they "bite".
Shoot the sensors and they flash and go solid with a kill, and the actors dropped. All this data was fed back through to the behind-the scenes control and scored were generated, and passed against the membership cards we were given at registration, giving you reciprocal rights at other iCombat sites, and the ability to accrue rank in the network.
The OzApocalypse website made mention that there was the ability to customise your irM4, but this is a bit of a misnomer, in that there were a second set of weapons, the short barreled, and Picatinny rail mounted short barreled "Commando" irM4's in their armory, fitted with vertical grips, there wasn't really the facility during the Zombie Apocalypse event to do any customization other than adjusting the buttstock and in my case, fitting my own sling, the trusty 215Gear sling.
Other than this it replicates one of the most known assault rifles in the world, the M16/M4, and is used by law enforcement and militaries all over the world.
It has the same form, fit, and function as the real thing and brings the word realism up to a whole new level. I really enjoyed the "Tap, Rack, Bang" functionality. Removable clips, internal sensors and fully functional parts, from mag-release to selector switches . The weapons and sensors made the event for me. No more reload button or hard to hear electronic sounds. You hear and feel every round, in a longer engagement, if you were kitted out with spare mags you could drop your mag and slam a new one home. They bypassed this by assigning everyone a cylume glowstick, and had a reloading station where we were restocked by a technician, but you can see how it could be easily enough facilitated in a more longterm event.
And that's all before we even get to set dressing, gameplay and the actors! I was really happy with what we faced when we passed through the containment doorways.
I had the good fortune to get to go backstage and saw the interconnected passageways the actors could take to move from area to area, where they would emerge and lay in wait for the passing players, in and around the sets. The hospital area bugged me the most, as I work in them, and have done the graveyard shift...
The maze was a CQB nightmare, with blind corners, concealed alcoves and all manner of cover for the zombies to lurch from and come at us. Importantly though, for all its twists and turns, it was a "safe" environment, from an OH&S perspective and you could easily cope with the 6-8 person teams recommended. We ran it in a team of three, and were like a well oiled machine. I didn't have to worry about anyone actually getting hurt for real during even an intense simulated combat.
Back in the registration area, the stark lighting, clean floors and all too living other players was a more jarring experience. I wanted back in to my comforting darkness, screaming and sirens. The one upside of the "real-world" was that I got to fool around with both the Glock training weapons. The Glocks had the same "real features" as the irM4's, removable clips, wireless targeting and scoring, and ammo-counts. Unfortunately due to limited battery capacity, and high accuracy, they weren't really suited to the spray-and-pray zombie hoard threats the game presented with.
A regrettable technical difficulty, but one the organisers preferred to keep it out of the game, but available for range use! I also got to use the notorious pain-belt! It was a really, really unpleasant experience and I heartily recommend it for all gamers. Again, it apparently was not suited to use in the zombie game, but us perfect for PvP shooting. I tried it on the low setting, which was startling and also all the way up at high, which was curse-making, but didn't hamper me as soon as it stopped. Incentive not to get shot, for sure.
The Zombie Apocalypse Experience is running for two more weekends, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while weekdays and weeknights give those who love games like Call of Duty the chance to combat team vs team combat in the BATTLE APOCALYPSE arena, which is the same area as the Zombie Apocalypse event, but with the connecting areas opened up, some walls opened up, and more personal threats, with pain belts available on request, I believe. I'd really recommend you get along and enjoy it, in either its Zombie Apocalypse, Battle Apocalypse or even the kid-friendly FAMILY versions, before it finishes.
AND, thanks to the organisers, I can offer all my readers a whopping 35% discount with the code "COYOTE0415" (thats charlie-oscar-yankee-oscar-tango-echo-zero-four-one-five).
TICKETS: Lazarus www.flavorus.com/ozapocalypse
Battle Apocalypse www.flavorus.com/battleapocalypse
Group Bookings (minimum of eight players) email firstname.lastname@example.org
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