Retro Review: Zombies Ate My Neighbours (Super Nintendo)

Zombies-SNES-ReviewIn the early nineties there was a huge Zombie outbreak. The dead overran streets and dwellings and they were all seeking one thing: me. Well this is what it felt like as I sat for hours on end playing Zombies on my Super Nintendo. Known as Zombies Ate My Neighbours in NTSC regions LucasArts published the game in September of 1993 in North America and January 1994 in PAL regions. Zombies is a 2D run and gun game that takes a top/down perspective over each level. The overall interface (map, weapon select and health bar) are neatly placed in the top left had corner of the screen with the added bonus of being able to turn the map on or off.

 Zombies is great fun to play in two player mode but is as equally as entertaining in single player mode. Zeke and Julie are the characters to choose from; neither of which have any perk differences. In fact I’d say Julie and Zeke have more in common aside from their clear gender differences. The common bond they share is mediated through the games wonderful story: rescue the neighbours at all costs. Each level contains residents that are scattered around the map and we must reach them before the flesh eating zombies get their dastardly mits on them.

It sounds simple but Zombies posed numerous challenges along the way. As the levels progressed I found more obstacles to rescuing my fellow neighbours. Thorn bushes, bins, walls and locked doors are additional obstacles to success. Fortunately, Zombies holds a great deal of opportunity to overcoming these. One of my personal favourites was finding a Bazooka and blowing huge gaps in walls to rescue survivors. Other weapons are not so appealing, for example, I never used the soda cans as they had a ridiculous arching loop once thrown. Either that or my aim was off! Ultimately dealing with a Zombie outbreak (and of course I mean in the gaming world) means we have to cautious about the weapons we choose.


Saving the world, pixel by pixel

There are 55 levels to blast your way through in Zombies. Earlier levels appealed to me a lot more than the later levels as I feel the game evolves repetitively. Even the survivors are the same survivors in every level. That means we have to save 550 identical survivors! That’s a lot of twins. I would have preferred a little more variety overall. The setting of the levels range from the streets, Egyptian settings, malls and swamps and more. The colour palette varies drastically depending on what level you were in. The malls looked very bright and aesthetic, as did the streets. I became very bored during the Egyptian levels as they were dark and it felt like you were trapped in a labyrinth.

The bizarre arsenal, satisfying soundtrack, wealth of enemies and popping colour palette make for an immersive experience

After level fifteen I started to lose interest but I’d always enjoy starting the whole game again. Speaking of starting the game from the beginning, Zombies adopted the password system so there is no ability to save the game. Now, I don’t know about you but I never had a pen handy in the mid-nineties so I never made use of the password system so it was a redundant feature in my opinion.

Whilst the game title is ‘Zombies’ many variations of undead exist. If you ever want to know what it feels like to be slaughtered by a giant baby, play Zombies. Yes a giant baby alongside werewolves, mummies, insects, slime patches and obviously Zombies provide a difficult challenge in our rescue plight.

Zombies was released on the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo. I’ve played both versions. The Super Nintendo release feels a lot more stable compared to the Sega Mega Drive. Audibly this was 100% true as the music and overall sound effects seem crackly compared to the SNES. I have since played Zombies on other Mega Drive’s and found the same issue, which is a shame as part of the greatness of Zombies. As a collector, I own both versions but as a player I prefer the SNES version.

Is it worth getting today?

The answer is simple: YES. Zombies (Ate my Neighbours) is unique game from the 16bit era and this was recognised as it got a Virtual Console release on the Nintendo Wii in 2009. The bizarre arsenal in Zombies, satisfying soundtrack, wealth of enemies and popping colour palette make for an immersive experience. Aside from the repetition this is a must own title in any 16bit library.

Zombies Ate My Neighbours (Super Nintendo) Gameplay

Link: Find Zombies Ate My Neighbours on eBay

Link: Zombies Ate My Neighbours (Super Nintendo) in the RetroCollect Game Database

Last Updated ( 27 May 2015 )  


Self confessed girly gamer since the age of 5 when I first took Horrace down the ski slopes on my ZX Spectrum. Collector and admirer of all things game related no matter how obscure. Come and say hi and let's talk about games

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+1 (Link to this comment) Senyaka 2015-05-27 16:42
Awesome first Article!! You done did good here. Bob totally approves. :D
(Link to this comment) TheGebs24 2015-05-27 19:47
Thanks Bob. I adore the game so it made sense for Zombies to be my first review. 55 levels, you can't go wrong.
Thanks again.

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