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Playing the Other Side
I, Zombie is one of Plants Versus Zombie's more interesting mini-games. Categorized as a puzzle, this mode allows you to play as the zombies and eat some nice, tasty brains. The early I, Zombie levels are pretty easy, but they quickly become more difficult. The biggest challenge is the Endless mode, which keeps going until the player runs out of resources and there are still brains left uneaten.
The I, Zombie mode requires strategy rather different from what is normally used. This guide will help you get into the mind of the zombie for maximum brain-eating potential.
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By the Numbers
While labeled a puzzle by Plants Versus Zombies, the I, Zombie game mode is really all about resource management. The game starts with 150 energy and leaves the player to do their thing. Each zombie used costs a certain amount of energy to deploy, but energy is regained throughout each level by eating Sunflowers. Each Sunflower is worth 200 points of energy.
This means that to win and to continue winning (in endless mode) the player must be careful not to spend more resource then are being received. This matters on both a macro and a micro level. On most levels there will be eight sunflowers, so that means that on each level you can't spend more than 1600 energy. However, on endless mode this will gradually change - eventually you'll be seeing only 3 Sunflowers on a level. .
On endless, the resource management becomes very important because the resources from each level carry over. This means that if you spend more energy on a level then you took in you'll have less in the bank for the next. This is ultimately how the endless mode defeats the player, as the levels become subtly more difficult and the player eventually runs out of energy.
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Tip and Tactics
The variations of challenges that the player will encounter in the I, Zombie mode are many, and the game provides different zombies are different levels. There are, however, a few basic tactics that I will cover. These tactics focus on endless mode - they might also be possible in the previous levels, however, if the same zombies are available.
One of the most common tactical decisions that must be made is if it is worthwhile to assault a lane directly or from behind. Assaulting from behind using a Miner Zombie can seem like a good idea, but remember that the Miner Zombie won't eat the brain in the lane you're attacking. This means that you'll also need an Imp (at the least) to eat the brain, which puts the cost at 175 energy for using this tactic. You'll still be ahead overall, but it may be less expensive to use two Cone Zombies.
Using a Bungee Zombie is also expensive. Sometimes you'll have to do it to get rid of a plant which is causing havoc across multiple lanes, like a Magnet Shroom that will remove picks from Miner Zombies before they can get to the rear of the row, but don't use the Bungee Zombie just to take out a single Snow Pea.
Bucket Zombies are extremely good at taking out lanes which have lots of Peashooters but not much else. Cone Zombies can do the same job if there is only one or two Peashooters. If there are Chompers or Potato Mines in the way of your Bucket and Cone Zombies, use well-timed Imps to tie up the offending plant. You can also use Pole-Vault Zombies to reach a plant behind a Wall-nut or other obstacle.
Stay away from the more expensive zombies whenever possible. There are few situations, for example, where a Football Zombie is going to be much more useful than a Bucket Zombie.
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Prepare for Defeat
Eventually, endless mode will win. The goal, of course, it to ward off defeat for as long as possible. Just remember that it is game of resource management and try again. There are no take-backs - once you place a zombie, he's off - so be careful and be patient. Remember to consider the expense of each zombie you use and compare it to the energy income that is being gained. As long as the player does this, then getting far into endless mode should not be overly difficult.