Zombies

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FEATURE REVIEW



Zombies

by Konami


for

Super Nintendo


Review by

Gemma



In 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 SNES. Known as Zombies Ate My Neighbors 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 Iíd 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.

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! Thatís 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. After level fifteen I started to lose interest but Iíd 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 donít 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. What do you think about this?

Whilst the game title is ĎZombiesí 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 MegaDrive/Genesis and Super Nintendo. Iíve played both versions. The Super Nintendo release feels a lot more stable compared to the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis. 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 MegaDriveís 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?
The answer is simple: YES. Zombies (Ate my Neighbors) is unique game from the 16-bit era and this was recignised 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 16-bit library.

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