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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a shooter-style video game for the Super Nintendo and Genesis gaming systems. The game was produced by LucasArts as a comical tribute to both classic and schlocky horror films of the 1950s and 1960s. In some English-speaking countries the name was considered unsuitable, and so it was renamed, simply, "Zombies". The crazed guys with chainsaws and hockey masks were replaced with lumberjacks with axes, and levels such as "Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem" were renamed to suit.


Zombies Ate My Neighbors title screenThe player chooses between two teenage characters, Zeke and his sister Julie, both of whom can be controlled in multiplayer mode. They navigate suburban neighborhoods, shopping malls, pyramids, and other areas, destroying all variety of horror-movie monsters, including vampires, werewolves, huge demonic babies, and the game's flagship, zombies. In each of the 45 stages the goal is to rescue all surviving neighbors, at which point a magical door takes the player to the next stage. If all of the neighbors survived the player also gains an extra life.

The weapons are wild and wonderful. The most normal weapon is a bazooka, which can break through cracked walls and shoddy hedges but the firing recoil throws the user several paces backwards, but most weapons are footballs, cutlery, plates, Martian bubble guns, popsicles (originally bananas in the "Monsters" beta version), tomatoes, soda cans, and so forth.

The player also has a variety of secondary items available; these include inflatable clowns, Pandora's Boxes, health kits. Most interesting are the monster potions; there are a variety of transformations available depending on the potion's colour. The player can become intangible (able to walk on water and straight through enemies to save the neighbors), or turn into a big purple Hulk-like monster (indestructible and immensely strong, but cannot swim or use trampolines). The potion with a question mark is the most dangerous. It can give the effects of the other potions, or heal them, or hurt them, or even make them turn into a zombie, no longer controlled by the player but instead wandering aimlessly. If they come near a neighbor in this state they rush over and kill them!

The game makes several references to horror movies, including An American Werewolf in London, Child's Play, Dracula, Night of the Living Dead, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Tremors.

There was a sequel, Ghoul Patrol, but it lacked the heart of the original and opted for more realistic graphics and monsters, and is considered by many to have killed the series off.

12:31 PM


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