Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
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Zombies Ate My Neighbors Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 64%
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
Okay, I know what you must be thinking right now. "Adam, why didn't you review Zombies Ate My Neighbors BEFORE reviewing its sequel Ghoul Patrol? ESPECIALLY if you were going to be comparing them?" Well, I reviewed Ghoul Patrol last year because fewer people knew about it. When I decided to cover 31 games for Halloween this year, I decided to give the original game another run as I hadn't played it in twenty years. After playing Zombies Ate My Neighbors again, I can say that it has held up well in some ways.

Like the sequel, Zombies Ate My Neighbors has next to no plot. The premise is that a mad scientist named Dr. Tongue created a bunch of monsters and unleashed them on suburbia. You and a friend take the roles of local teens Zeke and Julie and set about blasting the monsters and saving the neighbors. While the plot is even flimsier than the one in Ghoul Patrol, the game is saved by the 50s B-movie atmosphere that the game relishes. The sequel downplayed the B-movie vibe. The original embraced it, giving the game a bucket-load of pure charm.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Super NES)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay can best be described as "Goofy Gauntlet." Zeke and Julie share the screen, roaming the large levels looking for the various cliched survivors. The variety of weapons is decent, but they overall lack power. There is a radar that can be toggled on or off with the R button, but its range is limited. I found myself running in circles several times looking for the last survivor to complete each stage. While the stages were rather generic in Ghoul Patrol, there were much more creative ideas in the original like a stage filled with chainsaw-wielding maniacs and one filled with clones of players. While it's great to see the creative ideas, some of them didn't work too well. The chainsaw-wielding maniac level I mentioned required letting them cut holes in the hedge maze to reach a few of the survivors which was rather irritating. In general, while Ghoul Patrol plays better, Zombies Ate My Neighbors still plays well enough.

The aesthetics in the original aren't as polished as in the sequel, but they pop with lots of color and have more goofy charm. The survivors have plenty of personality that befits the levels they're found in like the guy relaxing in the pool or the tourist couple taking the time to check their map while the undead are bearing down on them. (Hey, I never said the survivors were smart.) The music perfectly balances sounding creepy and goofy at the same time. It sounds almost like Danny Elfman composed it for one of Tim Burton's movies.

It's almost a dead heat as to which is better, Zombies Ate My Neighbors or Ghoul Patrol. While the sequel does play better (hence its slightly higher score), the original just has more charm and feels more unique. In the end, both games are fun co-op blast-a-thons that are great to pull out for Halloween. These games are the true Monster Mash.
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