Thursday, 4 April 2019

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Sega Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1993

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is an action game that was simply released as Zombies in Europe.


It supports 1-2 players (co-op) and your mission is to stop evil creatures from capturing civilians. There's 48 levels (with 7 bonus levels) and the objective in each is to rescue a certain number of victims before heading to the exit. Weapons include a squirt gun and tomatoes, and items can be picked up that grant you special powers (such as first aid kits or clown decoys). The game gets off to a terrific start and isn't afraid to throw in a few curve balls, such as when a giant, evil baby runs havoc, or when multiple enemies appear that are dressed exactly like you! It also switches up locations from level to level to keep things interesting, and whereas one minute you'll be battling in a mall, the next you're in a suburban neighbourhood. They're cleverly designed too, and although some of them feature intricate layouts it's never aggravating due to the handy map on the right-hand-side. The difficulty starts off gently and you're eased into the action with just a few slow zombies in tow. However, Level 4 ups-the-ante ten-fold due to the aggressive Chainsaw Maniacs that stalk you around the playfield! It's a real spike in challenge, but the upside is that it forces you to learn about item management and how each one can help you. After doing this the action becomes more strategic and manageable for the first half of the game. However, unless you're willing to beat all 48 levels in one go you'll likely be forced into using a password; doing so resets all of your weapons, ammo and items which often leads you ill-equipped to enter battle in later levels. Also, the game loses steam halfway through and recycles the same ideas.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is definitely worthy of a play-through thanks to its frantic and varied gameplay, unique premise and stellar presentation. Unfortunately, it does run out of inspiration later in the game and using the much-needed password system can leave you without the adequate tools for the job.



Random trivia: The developers originally planned to include a battery backup to save your progress, but unfortunately it ended up being too expensive.

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