Posted on November 20th, 2009 in Flashback, GEN, Kenzan, SNES, Video Games, Wii VC by Sasha Kenzan

Sometimes I wish zombies actually would eat my neighbors, what with their loud radios and their rollicking hootenannies all hours of the night… what, you mean I have to save them?!

System: Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console
Year: 1993 (SNES/Genesis), 2009 (Wii VC)
Company: Konami (publisher) and LucasArts (developer)
Genre: Top-down shoot-’em-up/puzzle game

Has anyone considered maybe grilling some brains for the zombie?  This cookout sucks.

Axel Night and I would go into the video store in our youth in exotic Parts Unknown, Virginia, wondering just what we should pick up and play after a weekend of hard studying in school.  I would always browse over the Super Nintendo section, wondering just what to pick up, and at the end of the case would be a game that would always stand out to me.

"Zombies Ate My Neighbors?" I would say with confusion scattered through my voice.  "What the hell is that?"  I never did pick it up and rent it for two reasons.  First, there was no way my mom would let me play this game.  I mean, come on, the title featured zombies.  Second, even if she would let me play it, the premise at the time seemed ridiculous.  Zombies eating neighbors?  It sounded kind of lame to me.  I was young and dumb, what can I say?

So for years, the game sat, neglected and unloved.  There were three copies, all of which sat unrented for months.  I was convinced that since the game just sat there, that must be a mark of it’s quality.  After all, the people in my community have clearly decided that zombies eating their neighbors simply wouldn’t fly on their video game console of choice.  That was the only thing I really knew.  Game magazines were too expensive and the Internet was in it’s infancy, so the mark of a game’s quality was how often it was rented out at the video store.

As I grew older, I found that quite a few people loved this game, but for some reason, I was never willing to give it a shot.  The one thing that made me consider it was when it reached the Virtual Console last month, and there was an outpouring of joy and rapture.  Finally, people shrieked with their Cheeto-stained fists thrust to the sky, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was available in a more convenient form than a dusty cartridge!  So I decided to check it out and, for the first time in my Flashback writing history, I would be trying a game for the first time as I reviewed it.

The game puts you in the role of either Zeke or Julie, with no real difference between the two except for that one has boobs and the other doesn’t.  Your goal is to save your neighbors from not just zombies, but also chainsaw-wielding psychos, axe-carrying Shin-Chan-lookalikes, and other assorted horror movie cliches.  You are armed with what appears to be a water gun, exploding soda cans, a bazooka, silverware, and so forth.  To clear each level, you must rescue as many neighbors as you can, and you are assigned a different set of points for each one you save (the cheerleader is worth 1000 points, but a crotchety old lady is only worth 10).  You must save at least one neighbor, and your enemies can actually kill your neighbors to prevent you from advancing.

The game is simplistic, as are the controls.  This is not a bad thing, though, as the controls are very easy to learn, thus making the experience much more enjoyable.  You can also choose if you want to blast your way through the level or avoid each enemy to save your weapons, as you have a limited supply of ammo.  Each level has a ton of powerups, but, as expected, things get much more difficult as you progress.

The game is also chock full of classic LucasArts weirdness and humor, which is always welcome.  This was an easily forgotten game in it’s time, but I can see why it has maintained a steady fanbase; it’s fun, simple to pick up and play, the controls are wonderful, and it is so much fun to have a choice as to how you want to play.  I would recommend it if you passed it over for the same reasons I did as a youth, if only because Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a game that deserves to be played at least once.

What are people saying about "Zombies Ate My Neighbors"?

Axel Night
Re: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Haha!  I do so remember ignoring this one.  It was only a few years ago I gave it any serious attention, which is sad.  It's really best played with a friend, which is a trait that could, no matter how bad a game actually was, make me fall in love with it back in those days.  You can only imagine how tightly the actual good co-op games had me by the balls.  I wish I'd played it back when it really would've been more than a well done and entertaining distraction.
Sasha Kenzan
Re: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Yeah, it definitely has a solid co-op feel to it.  Maybe someday!

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