By Jacqueline Monahan
Army of the Dead: Viva Las Vengeance at Area 15
Area 15 Entrance- Photo credit: John Hardin
You are chosen as part of an elite mercenary crew to infiltrate a burning, war-torn Las Vegas Strip. Armed with assault rifles and various weapons of destruction, you attempt to break through miles of zombie-infested, bombed-out streets full of burning, deserted hotels.
Map of Virtual Journey Down the Las Vegas Strip- Photo credit: John Hardin
Your mission: to recue survivors from hordes of zombies that swarm over the rubble, snarling and biting and creating more of their kind through infecting the dwindling, human population trapped in Sin City. Failure could cost the lives of hundreds of survivors. Call it a Last Resort fee.
Here’s the good part: you are armed and able to shoot as many of these creatures as you can…provided they don’t get to YOU first! Aim for the head for a final kill.
Compound Exterior Fence- Photo credit: John Hardin
You can find this adventure at ‘Army of the Dead: Viva Las Vengeance’, a virtual reality experience at a secret (sort of) compound on the outskirts of Area 15 (3215 S Rancho Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89102). There, nearly hidden on the grounds of its expansive parking lot, you’ll get to try out a groundbreaking VR experience -- based on the fan favorite Netflix film, Army of the Dead, produced by Zack Snyder and physically set in Las Vegas - where you will battle zombies in a multiplayer, multisensory rescue mission from inside a heavily modified taco truck.
Taco Trucks of Vengeance- Photo credit: John Hardin
That’s right, a taco truck; and those red splatters on the side aren’t from hot sauce.
Up to six players team up on this rescue mission, collectively undergoing electronic registration, weapon and nickname selection (your weapon choice affects scoring), VR gear application (wrists and headsets), mission video, roll call, and position assignment. Whew! And you haven’t killed even one of the undead yet!
Choose Your Weapon- Photo credit: John Hardin
Once outfitted and briefed, the truck begins its journey. Motion platforms simulate a rolling movement. You see the sights of a devastated Las Vegas pass before your eyes. There are no windows, just widely spaced bars on each side of the truck, offering unobstructed views of the desolate city, teeming with reanimated predators of all shapes and sizes, genders, races, and manner of dress. You feel the wind on your face as the battle begins.
These are fast zombies, paradoxically called “shamblers” except that they are as swift as sprinters and approach the truck and its occupants with ferocious speed. Showgirls and Chippendale’s dancers, they ain’t. The iconic, ad-libbed line from the cult classic, Night of the Living Dead, sums it up:
“Yeah they’re dead, they’re…all messed up.”
The truck is continually under siege from hundreds of these creatures, some hurtling through the air and climbing up the sides of the vehicle. Guns blaze from each side and at every angle as the crew begins to mow down the invaders. Blackish-blood spurts through the air like gruesome fireworks.
Armed Virtual Warriors- Photo credit: John Hardin
Your truck experiences periodic stops and one unnerving breakdown. You almost never stop shooting and soon you crave the action, welcome the swarm, and get the satisfying sensation of literally blowing zombies away with your impressive fire power. The end of the mission is especially gratifying.
Your humble correspondent (Scorcher) became a bloodthirsty mercenary, shooting at practically anything that approached. The team scoreboard at the end of the mission showed that Scorcher had the largest percentage of headshots at 40%.
Final Team Scoreboard- Photo credit: John Hardin
A gift shop offers t-shirts, hats, and hoodies. Photo ops include the white tiger zombie (from the Zack Snyder film), and a green screen with several different backgrounds to choose from. The pumped-in sound in the merchandise area is LOUD, the decimal level reaching that of a heavy metal performance. The roar of the white tiger zombie alone can rattle glass.
White Tiger Zombie- Photo credit: John Hardin
‘Army of the Dead: Viva Las Vengeance’ officially opened in Las Vegas at AREA15 on October 20th, the third US stop for the experience (following New York and LA). The VR experience will be open Wednesdays & Thursdays from 12pm–7pm, and Fridays & Saturdays from 11am–8pm. There is an admission fee.
Think of it as a license to kill.
Green Screen Photo- Photo credit: John Hardin
Right -Your Humble Correspondent (Scorcher) Plays Head Games!- Photo credit: John Hardin
Neon Skull - Photo credit: John Hardin