Nerdy Monday 9: Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

This game is truly a classic.  Well, for me it is.. I don’t know how many people had it back in the early ’90s, but it should be more well known than it is, it’s very underrated.  You get to save all of your neighbors in 50+ levels of different martians, werewolves, Frankenstein monsters, snakeoids, clones, giant babies, and of course zombies.  The original retail price for this game I think was $39.99, at the very most.  Now the very good specimens go for $69.99.  It’s one of the games that, like the Mario, Zelda, and Sonic franchises, have actually appreciated with age.  It’s also made it on the Dorkly.com Top 10 Zombie Game list, and rang in at Number 8.  Not bad for a Non-Star-Wars game created by Lucasarts, created by George Lucas.  Weird how those things work out, right?

This is a Snakeoid... and a HUGE pain in the butt to kill.

Remember the commercial for it?  Sure you do…

How cool was that?  I remember the stigma that went with the game back then.  Through Nintendo Power, or something I heard about how Zombies Ate My Neighbors was going to be a really gory game with lots of blood and guts, and all kinds of other things.  Somebody up in the chain of command had them change it last minute to please younger kids, expanding the number of people that would possibly buy the game.  All they did was render the “blood” from a red liquid to a purple gassy cloud kind of thing, and took all the guts out.  For instance, when you kill one of the Fish Men, they turn into a bunch of fish and flop around for a second until you go off screen.

It’s things like that, that turn this supposedly “horror-genre” game into a goofball style, lighthearted, comedy that gives off a sit-com like, Halloween episode  feeling.  Which makes it all the more fantastic to play.  It was pretty much exactly the same on both systems of the day (SNES & Genesis).  I preferred the SNES version back when the game was new.  That was only because I didn’t have an SNES or Genesis until Christmas of that year, so I had to go to my cousin’s house to play Zombies Ate My Neighbors with him, on HIS SNES.  It was awesome, I went over there every other day, we always had to start on level one and work our way through, and no matter how many times we played it, it never got boring, tired, or old!  Even to this day I play through all of the levels (I have it on Sega Genesis now), and sometimes I even use the Game Genie on it, just so that I can start on the level I left off at.  It’s so great to be able to go through a game about 20 years later and still find it just as — if not more entertaining now.  When my brother comes home on leave, we get a couple of levels in, when the students I tutor at my home are done with learning, we unwind with some ZAMN.  It’s a great overall game that is hard to match.

4 friggin Zombies? Call of Duty's got NOTHIN!!

The soundtrack is a tough act to follow, and would be great to have a CD of and play in the background of a Halloween party.  The levels are all very simple when you first try and go through, but there are all kinds of secrets, hidden weapons, ways to get points (the points don’t really matter anyways), or you hang around after every level and just kill zombies.

I love the weapon choices you get in this game.  Along with rendering the blood a different color, they had to change the weapons.  So instead of real guns and knives, you get squirt guns (that shoot one drop of water at a time), soda cans, popsicles (for killing the blobs!), fire extinguishers, silverware (for throwing at werewolves!) and many, many other weapons that make the game entertaining multiplied by entertaining.  It’s entertaining squared!

Along with the weapons, you also find items that you can use to get rid of mummies, the little axe-wielding Chuckie-dolls, or whatever those things are.  There are Pandora’s boxes, decoy blow-up clowns, health packs, sacred relics, running shoes for going faster, invincibility potions, and my favorite.. Monster Potions.  I don’t remember if it was Official (out of the instruction manual) or anything, but my cousin and I would call the Monster “Big George”.  And from there, we called the potion “The Big George Potion.  It was great.

The purple thing is an artists rendition of Big George.

This is a great game that should be cherished.  I’m still on the fence about whether or not it should be remade.  I have mixed feelings about it.  When some of the classics that are near and dear to most of us get rebooted, the charm they originally had doesn’t get translated into the new version.  What I like most about ZAMN is how simple it is.  You’re a dude named Zeke (Or a chick named Julie) running around with a squirt gun, keeping your neighbors in line.  I love the fact that the creators decided to make it more kid friendly… even back then when I considered myself an “older kid” I loved it.  Now I’m an-even-older-than-that kid, and I still love it.  If you’re running around at the flea markets, or yard sales, trying to buy back all the games you grew up with, whether you’ve played this game or not, you need to check it out.  eBay has them for around $20.. but trust me, it’s well worth the money.

Can't go wrong.

**All images are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Obtained through simple Google Image Search.**

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23 Responses to “Nerdy Monday 9: Zombies Ate My Neighbors!”

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