Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Every Tuesday join Cyril as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week.
This week we get the unexpected pseudo-sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors, one of my all time favorite Super NES action games. Ghoul Patrol may not be the revelation that Zombies was, but it still remains an entertaining arcade-style action game that is well worth eight dollars. The good news is that you already know what I'm going to say about Ghoul Patrol, the bad news is that you're still going to have to read today's episode of This Week in Defunct Games!
Ghoul Patrol (JVC)
[ Virtual Console - 800 Points/$8 - Super NES - 1994 ]
What Is It?
Last year I was surprised and delighted when Nintendo finally uploaded Zombies Ate My Neighbors, one of my all time favorite 16-bit action games. Although it's been months since I reviewed it, I have found myself going back to it several times a week, if only to collect everything and finally get around to beating this gem. Sadly it looks like my goal of finding everything will have to wait, because this week we get Ghoul Patrol, the spiritually successor to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. There may be fewer actual zombies and some of the action feels a little recycled this time around, but don't take that as a reason not to pick up this phenomenal follow-up to one of the best games of all time.
Ghoul Patrol stars a couple of witless characters who accidentally unleash a torrent of ghosts, giant insects, robot monsters, zombies and other ghoulies on the world. I hate it when that happens. Together they must rescue all of the civilians, beat back the bosses and find the exit to all of the increasingly difficult levels. The graphics and gameplay haven't changed much since Zombies Ate My Neighbors, but that shouldn't get in the way of navigating your way through the Gauntlet-style mazes that give each level personality. I'm still a little fuzzy on how a squirt gun can kill everything from a giant bug to a ghost, but I'm willing to go with it. Hopefully all of these recent Virtual Console uploads have prompted the license holder to consider making a Zombies Ate My Neighbors 3. If we can get another Rocket Knight Adventures, then why not this old school classic?
Does It Still Hold Up?
Ghoul Patrol is played from an overhead point of view, which works well for exploring the crazy levels and making your way through the mazes. Unfortunately, the perspective can make targeting and intense action sections a little tricky. The gameplay is fast and the controls are responsive, but there are a lot of times where I accidentally got hung up on a door or a table and sustained massive amounts of damage. Thankfully that isn't a deal breaker; it's just a minor complaint about an otherwise superb action game.
Is It Worth The Money?
There's a part of me that's a little disappointed that Ghoul Patrol isn't a more ambitious sequel. Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but in a lot of ways this just feels like an expansion pack. Still, at eight dollars it's hard to complain about more levels for an amazing game ... even if it's nothing more than an expansion. The challenge is still there and, like the first game, this makes for an incredible two-player experience. I doubt this game will rank as high on my list, but Ghoul Patrol is a worthwhile sequel to one of the greatest games currently available on the Virtual Console.