Dawn of the Dead!

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Zombies Ate My Neighbours / Zombies

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Lucasarts
UK Release: January 1994
Format: Super Nintendo / Sega Mega Drive

The concept of a Zombie has become a cultural phenomenon over the years; this is mainly in part to popular media such as the Walking Dead series of comic books and TV shows, horror movies like Dawn of the Dead and the Resident Evil series of video games.

Back in 1993 (NTSC release) and in 1994 (PAL release) an addition was made to this topic of interest; namely Zombies (PAL) / Zombies Ate My Neighbours (NTSC) on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive.

Zombies is a top down 2D Shooter in the same vein as the Loaded series on the original Sony PlayStation; albeit with much more humour, colour and giant toddlers.

You play as one of two characters; or both using a friend with a second controller. Zeke and Julie are the characters in question; although in actuality they are identical apart from character noise and sprite display. The two protagonists also share a common goal; to rescue their neighbours from the zombie invasion!

I say Zombie invasion.. I should really be saying ‘an invasion of horror cliches’ as throughout the game you are sure to encounter a range of creatures including werewolves, axe wielding lumberjacks, mummies, mutated slime and as previously mentioned, yes; a titanic toddler.

Those that you are tasked with rescuing; or rather ‘collecting’ throughout a stage include characters such as jumping blonde cheerleaders, tumbling babies, fat tourists and BBQ’ing fathers. With this in mind its pretty clear that Zombies does not take itself at all seriously. This variation of bright colourful characters to fight and collect, combined with the tight responsive style of game play makes Zombies an absolute treat to spend time with.

The game uses a password save system popular at the time of its release so there is no ability to save the game. Although frustrating to be continuously looking for a pen and paper handy to jot down passwords; this method proved a good choice as there are an excessively large amount of levels to get through so password entry allows you to take a look at the latter sections of the game by looking up codes online!

Speaking of the latter levels I must admit after about halfway through the game you start to encounter repetitive re-skinned stages. This is somewhat disappointing; however it doesnt detract from the enjoyment of the game to a great degree; except when repeatedly playing the tiresome labyrinth-esque Egyptian stages.

The soundtrack throughout the adventure is absolutely compelling and will see the player humming and whistling various tunes long after you’ve switched off the cartridge.

As a unique game from the 16-bit era Zombies also saw a justifiable Virtual Console re-release on the Nintendo Wii in 2009.

The bizarre B-movie inspired weapons, enemies and characters in Zombies, the satisfying soundtrack, wealth of bad guys, game play mechanics and popping colour palette make for an immersive experience. Aside from the repetition in later levels this is a must own title in any gaming collection.

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