Today is the day I’ve been able to play a game I’ve lusted for since it’s release back in 1993. Zombies (‘Zombies ate my neighbors’ in the US) may just be a 2d top down run ‘n’ gun game at it’s heart, but like Toejam & Earl before it, there is a comic element that makes the 55 levels all the more pleasurable!
You of course can’t shoot everything that moves. For some insane reason all of your neighbours have become ignorant to the horrors around them and have started wandering round doing daily activities. So outside of killing the hoards of evil, you’ll be faced with saving these blind buddies before the undead find out there’s free food still roaming.
Yet the zombie cast seem to go from the straightforward to downright B-movie levels of design, from forty foot babies (yeah you heard right!) to flame demons to chainsaw wielding hockey players who in no way resemble any other well known hockey mask wearing bad guys from film.
The difficulty level for this game is a slow but comfortable climb as you learn your skills through 55 levels, each packed with zombies and monsters in all the places you don’t want them to be. Especially when there’s the element of your neighbours potentially walking into these baddies at any moment. Your only guide to tracking these people down is a small radar screen, which isn’t always the best to identify priorities. As a result of this expect many replays of later levels as you attempt to overcome the frustrations accidental neighbour death.
You can tell the developers did this purely to enable an obscene amount of weaponry to be included which while logically could be acquired by a pair of young kids in the 90s, becomes quickly into the realms of fantasy. From the initial squirt gun, to soda cans(grenades), to bazookas (hey it’s the 90s! we were obsessed!). Only issue with this, and one which highlights how games have changed over the decades is that it isn’t really clear is which item is the best one for each type of enemy. When you get it, you’ll know.. but until then it’s a lot of trial and error and potential skipping of items when cycling through which given some of the reaction times will frustrate and annoy later on.
In the graphics department, Zombies is one of the nicer looking games on the snes, which during 1993 really stood out, not just because of its art style, but due to its added detail. Sure there’s a little slowdown from the machine in rare places when the amount of activity on screen gets a bit too hectic, but nothing that holds the game up or ruins the gameplay.
There is also a two-player mode included which enables a co-operative play, but nothing substantial is made of this mode to ensure the difficulty level remains the same or additional challenges occur.
Overall a great little game that you can pick up and play a few levels at a time, and continue your progress over small sessions. sure the gimmick carries it above more generic titles, but still a fine game none the less.