A pair of mid-90s, 16-bit classics from LucasArts are headed to Switch on the 29th of June. Zombies Ate My Neighbors – published by Konami and known simply as ‘Zombies’ […]
A pair of mid-90s, 16-bit classics from LucasArts are headed to Switch on the 29th of June.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors – published by Konami and known simply as ‘Zombies’ (weird 90s censorship stripping out the dangerous ‘Ate My Neighbors’ part of the title to *checks notes* make the game more kid friendly), in PAL regions – is a top-down shooter/neighbour rescue simulator in which monster movie obsessed teens Zack and Julie are forced to tool themselves up with all kinds of crazy weaponry including holy water-filled Super Soakers and weed whackers, as well as explosive cans of fizzy drink and crucifixes. Levels and enemies were pastiches of famous horror movies and tropes, with the levels themselves – of which there were 48 – being given titles that were clever puns on well known B-movie names.
Players were tasked with saving the neighbours in each stage before the monsters got to them; lose one and the total number of neighbours to save in each stage is permanently reduced (unless a Bonus Neighbour is awarded). Either single player or co-operative, the game had a phenomenal soundtrack, wonderful 16-bit pixel art visuals and some really cleverly integrated mechanics that set it apart from other games in the same era. Though it did get somewhat repetitive over the game’s extended length, a password system meant that players could at least walk away from the monster bashing and come back to it when less worn down by the game’s relentless and increasingly tough levels (which included some seriously impressive bosses from a scale point of view). It was a lovingly created game that’s fondly remembered by owners of the consoles the game appeared on – those being the SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis.
The sequel – Ghoul Patrol, published by JVC, is less fondly remembered. With an odd development that saw the game start life as a title unintended to be a Zombies Ate My Neighbors sequel, as well as the fact that most of the development was not done by LucasArts, but rather outsourced to a Malaysian studio named Motion Pixel, perhaps it’s not a surprise that it had nowhere near the impact or critical praise that its predecessor had. It definitely lost a lot of the first game’s charm, as well as a big chunk of its witty film references. Nonetheless, it’s great to see the more rare, less widely-known sequel returning from the dead.
The Switch versions will feature the very welcome addition of save files, art galleries, developer interviews, achievements and even music players that will feature the soundtracks of both games for players to listen to. Each game will, like the originals, support two player simultaneous co-op play.
There’s no word on price yet, but – given the enduring appeal of the first game at least – the re-release should be a monster success as long as it isn’t priced too expensively (£29.99 Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance re-release, I’m looking at you!).
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