Game: "Zombies Ate My Neighbors"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Konami
Review: You'll have to trust me when I say that there is no game that holds as much nostalgic value and replay-ability for me as Zombies Ate my Neighbors. If you're rating it solely on its gameplay, it's great, but it might not stand the test of time so well. What really stood out about the game back in the early 90's, and still does today, is the wholly unique and clever atmosphere.
The basic goal of each level (of which there are over 50) is to rescue every neighbour. Each level has a different bird's-eye-view layout, and while there's only a handful of unique settings, they're each different enough that you don't groan when you find that you're on another level that looks similar to one that came earlier. Your neighbours must really get around, because you end up going everywhere from your average looking neighbourhood to pyramids full of mummies and hedge-mazes full of chainsaw-wielding Jason Voorhees lookalikes... which brings me to one of the best parts of the game: the enemies. Obviously, there are zombies - and lots of 'em - but you also have to contend with a host of other baddies reminiscent of old-school horror movies; there's the aforementioned chainsaw guys, creatures from the Black Lagoon, killer dolls, blobs, and giant ants, to name a few.
How does one defeat the forces of evil in order to rescue cheerleaders, angry teachers, and other assorted neighbours, you ask? Like the monsters, there is a variety of weapons and special items - some of which are best suited for taking down specifics monsters. For instance, water guns will take down your basic zombies and do alright against the killer dolls, but they're useless against blobs and chainsaw maniacs. The rest of the weapons are all as quirky and varied, from the six-pack grenade to the Martian ray guy. You'll find yourself scrambling to find the best possible weapon for each scenario, but sometimes, when you're surrounded, the only thing you can do is break out the weed whacker and go to town until things cool down a bit. The special items range from shoes that let you zip around at double-speed to potions that turn you into a big blue monster capable of smashing through walls and enemies - all without taking any damage. Basically, these are the things you'll want to use sparingly, because you never know when you'll have to Hulk out to take out a Frankenstein's monster.
The music is the perfect finishing touch to an already stellar game. It'll quickly bring to mind old horror movies, and there's actually a pretty decent variety of songs. Every aforementioned element of the game comes together to create such a fun, different kind of game that it's over 15 years since I first played it, and I still NEED to play it every Halloween season. I promise, aside from some classic horror movies, nothing will get you into the Halloween spirit quite like this game.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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